The Princess and the Warrior (2000)
Young nurse Sissi lives a secluded life, seemingly entirely devoted to her patients at Birkenhof asylum. Her first encounter with ex-soldier and drifter Bodo has a lasting impact. He causes an accident that results in her lying under a truck, unable to breathe. While he provides life-saving first aid, mesmerized Sissi begins to wonder whether he may be the man of her dreams. But when she tracks him down weeks later her affection is rejected, as Bodo is stuck somewhere between a traumatic past and a criminal future.
- The first shot shows a lonely house by the ocean. Inside the house, a woman sits at a desk facing the ocean and writes a letter to Sissi Schmidt, Klinikum Birkenhof, Psych. Abt. Station 5. She goes outside and walks to the mailbox. The movie title appears. During the opening credits, you can see how the letter is sorted at the post office. Finally, the postman brings the letter to the Klinikum Birkenhof.
Next scene: two people, a man and a woman, sit next to each other, holding hands. The woman puts an ice cube on her neck and asks if the man can feel it. She explains that these are goose bumps. Then she puts the ice cube on his neck. A woman in a nurses uniform looks trough the glass door before she enters, calling the woman Sissi (Franka Potente). She has mail and gives a letter to Sissi, who is very surprised about it, and to the man next to her. The man opens the letter immediately. The letter is written in Braille, which reveals that he is blind. Sissi doesnt open the letter immediately.
In a big hall, a group of people gather together and sit in a big circle. Some of them are doctors and nurses, among them Sissi. The people are behaving strangely. They are patients of the psychiatric clinic. Two male patients agree to go for a walk with Sissi.
Next scene: The camera focuses on a young man's (Bodo) face upside down. Then it circles around his head and shows that he is standing on the balustrade of the bridge over the freeway. He opens his arms. A boy approaching on a bicycle asks him what he is doing. He answers that he is engaged in sport, mainly flying, but the boy objects and the man answers that he is doing warm-up exercises. Bodo takes his bike and rides away.
Bodo arrives at a funeral home, where he is applying for a job. The director hires him and asks him to start the same day. He walks away, leaving the young man alone in the chapel. There is an open coffin. An old lady is peacefully lying in the coffin. He goes to her and touches her cheeks. The ceremony takes place. Bodo is helping to put the coffin in the grave. He cries silently while the priest prays by the open grave. A little girl sees his tears, as well as his boss, who is outraged and fires him right after the ceremony. Bodo is angry and chokes him.
Next scene: Bodo pushes his bike to the top of a large hill in the countryside, at the top of which is a lonely house. The house is old. Another man, older than he (his brother Walter), is hanging clothes on a line. He asks how everything is going. The young man answers that he didnt get the job, though he would have liked to do it. His brother reassures him that they wont have to worry for long anymore. The two men go inside the house. The house is dark and poorly furnished. Walter shows Bodo two different sets of blueprints of the same building. According to him, these plans show that the building must have another floor underneath it, unknown to other people. He also mentions that he is sitting right next to the safe, pointing to a spot on the blueprints. The two men look at a street sign hanging in their house showing a kangaroo. Walter asks if they really want it or not.
Next scene, in the asylum: One of the patients, a young man (Steini), puts a disc on a old record player. A slow song starts. Sissi, still holding the letter, and her colleague (Maria) walk slowly along the corridor. Maria asks if the letter is from Maike. Sissi answers affirmatively. When Maria asks her if shes going to open it, she says that she will open it later. The two women arrive in the hall, where the music, which is a love song, is playing. Steini is waiting for Sissi. He flirts with her and begins to dance with her. Other patients also start dancing, as well as some of the nurses. One of the patients, however, leaves the room in madness.
It is nighttime, and Sissi helps Steini prepare for bed. He asks her for a favor. At first, she doesnt want to, but finally, she agrees to masturbate him. Another patient (Werner) sees her doing this.
Sissi goes back to the nurses room, where she picks up her jacket. Her colleague then accompanies her to her room in the nurses apartment building. Sissi walks into her room, the letter in her hand. She sits down on her bed and opens the letter. There is a picture of her friend by the house near the ocean.
Off-screen, the voice of the friend explains that her mom died. She is not sad about this because her mom was very old, and she didnt have close contact with her. However, her mom has bequeathed her something. She asks Sissi to go to the bank with the documents enclosed within the letter. She also writes that the ocean is roaring like it does in Sissis big sea shell. Her friend reminds her that they always wanted to go to the ocean, and that she finally made it. Sissi holds the sea shell to her ear. In a CGI shot, the camera zooms into the mussel.
The screen is black, aside from a wide, shiny spot. Sissi speaks. She say that she wanted to go to the bank immediately, but The voice cuts off. The shiny spot becomes larger and focuses on Bodo. He is running, holding a grocery basket, and he is being followed by two men. He appears to have stolen the food. The music is loud and fast. Bodo is running trough the streets of a big city. He tries to escape by hopping onto a passing big rig truck. Meanwhile, Sissi is standing at an intersection with the blind patient, waiting for the light to turn green. The surprised truck driver turns back to yell to the Bodo, preventing him from paying attention to where he is driving. He runs the red light at the moment Sissi and the blind patient are crossing the street. She has time to push the patient back so he wont be hurt, but she is then hit by the truck and run over. The screen turns black. Silent.
Close-up view of Sissis face. She is lying down and explains through an off-screen voice what happened. First, she feels no fear but then she notices the deep silence that surrounds her. Something is missing: her own breathing.
Next scene: Bodo is still running. He runs into a small shop through the rear door. The salesman, knowing him, calls him by name, asking where he has come from. Bodo doesnt have time to answer. He runs through the shop and exits through the main door. Little bells ring as the door closes. He then sees the truck standing in the middle of the street. Many people are standing around it. Bodo thinks that he can hide under the truck. After crawling under the truck, he sees Sissi lying there.
In an off-screen voice Sissi says that the air wasnt coming back, but that the man was coming. Bodo realizes that she cant breath. He examines his mouth. He then asks her to wait for him and leaves, promising that he will come back. After coming out from underneath the truck, Bodo sees that the two men who followed him are leaving. He also sees the blind young man holding a cup with a straw. Bodo runs away.
Meanwhile Sissi is still lying under the truck. She is afraid that the man wont be coming back. In her thoughts she sees her mother sitting on a bathtub and saying that men never come back. But she also says that she wont play this game and that Sissi shouldnt be playing it either. The scene is black and white.
Bodo runs to the blind man and steals the straw. He goes back to Sissi. He lies on top of her, takes a knife from his pocket, and explains that he will make an incision in her throat so that she is able to breathe. Bodo puts the knife into her throat. He puts the straw into the wound and sucks the blood out of it. Sissi starts breathing again. Bodo begins to cry again. Sissi thinks that it may be possible to be happy outside if you are not alone but with a guy like him.
Sissi is brought to the hospital. She remembers being in a tunnel (the hall in the hospital), with Bodo still on her holding the straw and sucking the blood. A doctor counts until three, and Bodo jumps off the bed and the doctors put the intubation into Sissi. Bodo walks for a while alongside the bed, Sissi holding his hand. Then, their hands are separated, and Sissi has only a button of his jacket in her hand.
The next scene follows Bodo as he enters a large business building. He goes to the basement where his brother sits at an enormous desk. Bodo asks him if he is about to have lunch. Walter, who says he will come in five minutes, gives him the keys to an elevator. Walter then meets Bodo on the roof of the building. He brings sandwiches and beverages. Bodo tells him that he saved someones life. Walter explains that Schmatt, the salesman from the little shop, called him. He advises Bodo to stop stealing at the gas station. He also tells Bodo that he has all the plans ready. Bodo seems uncertain, and from the roof, Walter shows him a certain location and explains that they will enter there and then walk along the sewers. Then they have to dig for another 10 or 20 meters. When Bodo asks him what they will do afterwards, Walter answers that they will be gone. Bodo asks if he means Sydney. Angry, Walter leaves. Standing alone at the roofs edge, Bodo points to the ground and says that Sydney is on exactly the opposite side of the Earth.
Next scene: Bodo and his brother ride a bike and stop at a gully. Bodo removes the manhole. They walk along the sewers wearing helmets and lamps.
Sissi is in the hospital. She has a broken leg. The doctor removes her neck support (Halskrause zur Unterstützung bei Halswirbelbrüchen). He then cuts the cast on her leg. The whole scene is tinted green.
Sissi sits in a car with her colleague Maria. She says that she was able to leave the hospital after 53 days. The doctor said it was a miracle. Sissi still holds the button from Bodos jacket in her hand. She says that the man was gone. They arrive at the asylum.
Inside the asylum, the patients and doctors have prepared a small party for Sissis return. Everybody sits at a long table. One patient leaves the room in an inexplicable rage. Sissi and her colleague enter the asylum. There is a big round of applause from the patients and doctors. Sissi sits down on the end of the table. When one patient asks her why she isnt dead, she explains that she has been saved. She also appeases one of the patient by saying that she wont die. Suddenly, the conversation still on the topic of death, Sissi leaves the room.
She goes to her room and writes a letter to Maike. She explains that she doesnt know what is going on with her. She also promises her friend that she will go to the bank the next morning. She says that she always thinks of the man.
The next scene: Bodo and Walter lie in bed, the weather is stormy. Bodo is very nervous. Suddenly he sits up, his eyes closed. He goes to a stove and embraces it. His brother wakes up and sees him. He screams his name and goes to remove Bodo from the stove. Bodo is afraid and starts fighting. Finally, he opens his eyes and wakes up, surprised.
Sissi is in her bed and wakes up suddenly. In her nightwear, she goes to see the blind patient, who is sitting in the first room as in the beginning. She sits next to him. The blind man says that Sissi is afraid of something. She answers that she is afraid that nothing will be the same anymore, but he says that she is afraid everything will remain the same. Sissi agrees and says that she should try to find him. She asks the patient for help.
The next scene: Sissi stands in the middle of the street where she was hit by the truck. The blind man is with her. She makes the sound of her bodys impact with the truck and sits down. Then she asks the patient what happened next. He tries to remember. Suddenly, he points at something with his finger and says, There it is. A man is coming out of the little shop with the ringing bells. Sissi realizes that Bodo came out of that shop. She goes into the shop followed by the blind patient. The shop sells weapons. The salesman (Schmatt), who is cleaning a rifle, doesnt pay attention to Sissi and the blind patient. Sissi finally asks him if he was working on May 30th, and remembers the accident. She describes Bodo and asks the salesperson if he knows the man. The salesman is reluctant to give information and denies knowing the man, but Sissi sees a picture with Bodo on it. Bodo wears an army uniform where the name B. Riemer can be read. Because the salesperson is still reluctant, the blind patient feigns a seizure in front of his door. Sissi says that she will call the police if the man doesnt speak and will tell them that he hit a blind person.
Sissi and the patient are going back to the asylum. Sissi has a piece of paper in her hand. In the next scene Sissi is sitting alone in an aerial railway car. She walks down a lonely street and finally climbs the hill to Bodos house. Bodo is with his brother behind the house, doing martial arts exercises. Sissi smiles because she recognizes Bodo as the man who saved her life. When she touches Bodo from behind, he is so afraid that he grabs her by the throat and pushes her over. His brother helps Sissi to stand up.
Sissi asks Bodo if he remembers and he nods. She says that it hurt. Because Bodo is crying again, she asks him if he is sad. He asks her what she wants. Walter also asks her what she wants. She answers that she just wanted to see him again, but Bodo says he didnt want to see her. Walter tells her goodbye. Sissi leaves, sad. She is alone in the train. It is night. She goes back to the asylum.
When she opens the door to the dormitory, one of the patients, Werner, comes from behind and hits her in the face when she turns around. She falls down. When she asks him why he did this, he looks to the ceiling and says that he had heard an order from above. Sissi suggests that he let her restrain him, and he agrees. She ties him down on an examination table. Werner suddenly asks her to loose the restraints again, and he says it is important. He has to knock out all her teeth. She doesnt open the strips and explains that he knows that he doesnt have to do this.
Sissi sits on her bed watching a romantic movie. The weather is stormy again. Sissi stands up.
Next scene: She goes back to Bodos house. It is raining hard, and she has a yellow raincoat on. Walter opens the door. She says that it isnt right. He closes the door, but she knocks again. When Walter says that Bodo isnt at home, she tells him she wont leave. He lets her in. He sits down on a table where a bottle of whisky is standing and offers her a chair next to him. He gives her a glass of whisky. She drinks it. He asks her what her name is. She introduces herself: Simone. He holds her hand and says his name: Walter. Then she tells him to call her Sissi. When she asks him where Bodo is, he tells her that he will be coming back soon. She wants to know if they are friends, and he tells her that they are brothers. She says that they dont resemble each other. Walter is smoking. When Sissi asks him what the matter is with his brother, Walter just answers that he isnt the right guy for her. She wants to know why. Walter explains that Bodo already has a lot of problems, and that she is one of them. Again she asks why. He answers that it is because she is a woman. She wants to know if Bodo has something against women. First Walter answers no, but then he says yes. Sissi asks him why, and he explains that Bodos wife is dead. She is surprised to hear that he was married. But then she asks why his wife is dead. Walter explains that she died in an accident at a gas station. Bodo was in the restroom, and she was putting gas in the car. Suddenly, a fire broke out and the gas station exploded. When Bodo came back from the restroom, everything was gone, burned, including his wife. Walter also says that Bodo is still sitting on the toilet at the gas station, waiting for all this not to be real, so that he can come back from the restroom and have everything okay like it was before. Thats why he must go away from here. Out of the restroom. Just as Walter is asking her why she is after Bodo, Bodo comes home. He isnt happy to see Sissi. Sissi stands up. Bodo asks her what she wants. She tells him that she dreams about him. She wants to know if they only met by chance or if she needs to change her life because of him. He grabs her and brings her outside the house. It is still raining. Bodo closes the door, but Sissi knocks on it. He comes out and steps forward, screaming for her to leave him alone. Finally, he punches her, and she falls into the mud. She starts crying and throws mud at him. His brother comes out and takes Bodo back inside the house. He also asks Sissi to leave. She goes leaves in the rain. Finally she lies down in the wet grass, looking at the stars. Inside the house, Walter gives Bodo a towel and asks him why he acted this way. He doesnt answer.
Next scene: Bodo takes a shower. Suddenly he hears something knocking. He thinks that it is his brother. But it is a young woman, his dead wife, who is sitting there. He asks her where Walter is, and she shakes her head. He kneels in front of her, crying. Suddenly the scene changes: Bodo is sleeping and crying, holding the stove. His brother sees him and wakes him up. The two brothers sit at the table, drinking whiskey. Bodo holds ice cubes to cool his burned hands.
The next morning, Sissi, still in her raincoat, goes to the bank to deal with her friends papers. There she sees Walter. Once an armored car arrives, Walter goes to his office downstairs. Under his desk, he opens one tile in the floor. Beneath is a small tunnel where Bodo is waiting. The security men from the armored car head downstairs. Meanwhile, upstairs, Sissi is told that the papers allow her to open one of the deposit boxes. The security guys open the safe. Walter is with them. When they enter the safe, the masked Bodo comes out of the tunnel and threatens them with a gun. He asks his brother to press a cloth with what is presumably ether onto the mens faces. The security guys fall asleep. Bodo and Walter take the mens weapons and the suitcase with the money. They throw everything into the hole in the floor.
Meanwhile Sissi gets the key to the deposit box. She finds a small box in it.
One of the security men wakes up. He still has a gun hidden in his pants. First he wants to shoot the alarm button, but when Walter comes in again, he points the weapon at him. Quickly, the man shoots the alarm button and points the weapon again at Walter. The alarm system goes off, and everybody has to evacuate the building. Downstairs, Bodo is coming out of the tunnel. He enters the safe with a gun, but when he sees the situation, he lays his weapon down and starts speaking to the guy. He tries to convince him not to shoot. He successfully takes the gun out of the hand of the security man. Meanwhile, the bank manager comes downstairs. Sissi sees him and follows him. At the moment Bodo and Walter want to escape through the tunnel, the bank manager arrives. He shoots Walter. At this moment, Sissi is coming down the stairs. She sees the manager pointing the gun at Bodo. She walks in front of the gun and asks the manager to not shoot because its not the plan. After a while, the bank manager gives her the weapon, and Bodo runs to Walter First, he is holding his own gun against the manager, but Sissi asks him not to shoot, so he punches the man in the face.
Meanwhile, Walter is feeling weaker and weaker. With Sissis help, Bodo is able to bring Walter down the tunnel. The three escape through the sewers. On the other side, Schmatt is waiting for them in his truck. They bring Walter to a hospital. At first, the hospital seems to be empty, but then a doctor is found. Before Walter is taken to the emergency room, he asks Bodo to come out of the restroom.
On their way back, the truck gets stuck in traffic. The police are looking for the bank robbers. Bodo and Sissi get out of the truck and run away. Once they are far enough away to stop for a while, Sissi asks him what he wants to do now. He doesnt really know, but he has to hide. Sissi takes him to her room in the nurses apartment building. They sit down, Bodo on the bed and Sissi on a chair. Suddenly Sissi remembers the little box she picked up in the bank deposit box. Inside is an locket with the picture of an old woman. She shows it to Bodo, who recognizes the person. It is the woman who was being buried when he was working at the cemetery.
Next scene: the teapot is whistling, but Sissi doesnt react immediately. She seems to be lost in thoughts. After a while, she enters her room and wants to bring Bodo the tea, but he is asleep in her bed. She quietly puts the tray on the ground.
Next scene: In the asylum, the patients, the nurses, and the doctor gather together in the hall and start talking. The doctor tells them that it is important to go outside, to walk a little bit and to breathe the fresh air. Sissi is also sitting with them. Suddenly Bodo walks through the corridors of the asylum. He tries to find out where he is. When he enters the main hall, he sees the news on the TV. The reporter is reporting on the bank robbery, saying that Walter had been brought to an hospital but died soon thereafter from his wounds. Bodo starts screaming and destroys the TV. The patients are shocked, and the nurses try to calm Bodo down. Sissi is horrified. Bodo is restrained on a doctors couch and given medicine to calm him.
The nurses and the doctor meet in the nurses room and discuss the situation. They dont know who Bodo is and suggest that he may be suicidal and want to get help. The doctor announces that he will ask him once he feels better. Maria suddenly asks Sissi if she knows this guy, but Sissi says she doesnt. The young patient Steini is shown looking at her.
Sissi and a colleague go release Bodo from the couch. He is calm and weak. They bring him to the doctors office. All the patients are looking at them but the doctor asks them to go away. While the doctor is looking for papers in the next room, Sissi explains to Bodo that he shouldnt tell anything to the doctor, but rather should pretend to have lost his memory. The doctor comes back and gives Bodo a glass of water. Sissi remains with them in the office. He starts asking questions about Bodos name and how he found his way to the asylum, but Bodo doesnt answer. He closes his eyes and starts crying. When the doctor asks him why he is crying, Bodo explains that he has problem with his tear ducts, but the doctor doesnt believe him. He asks him if he had drunk alcohol, but Bodo shakes his head. He also asks Bodo why he destroyed the TV, and whether someone had commanded him to do so, if he had heard voices. The doctor also explains that he cant let Bodo out of the hospital without papers, and that he has to stay there until the patients care office takes care of him. He again asks him if he really wants to stay in the asylum.
When the doctor and Sissi come out of the office with Bodo, everybody is staring at them. They bring him to a bedroom. Sissi stays in the room with Bodo and makes the bed. Once the doctor exits the room, the two are alone. Bodo lies down, and Sissi lies next to him. She comes really close to him, saying that he smells good. Bodo asks her what planet she is from, and she answers from here. Because he doesnt understand, she explains that she was born in the asylum. Her mom died when a hair dryer fell into the bathtub, and her dad is one of the patients. Suddenly, a patient knocks on the door, and Steini enters the room. He wants to speak to Sissi, but she is angry that she can never be alone. All the patients are standing in front of the door, starring at her. She tells them that she wants to be alone for a while. She also rejects the blind patient by pushing him away from her. When she closes the door, she puts her hands in front of her face in despair. Bodo watches her, still lying on the bed.
Next scene: the blind patient is in his room and blocks the door with an armchair. He then stays on another chair and removes the bulb from a light.
Meanwhile, still in the bedroom, Bodo says to Sissi that the patients rely on her. Then he also says that Walter is dead.
The blind patient is shown eating the glass shards from the lightbulb. He is bleeding from his mouth. The nurses break into the room and call the ambulance. When Sissi sees what has happened, she is shocked and cries.
Next scene: Off screen, the voice of the doctor says that all the dangerous patients have to be isolated during the night, including the new patient. Bodo is in a padded cell. He lies on the ground, sleeping. Sissi walks through the dark hall. The TV is on, and Sissi sees on the news that she and Bodo are wanted by the police for bank robbery. When she leaves, Steini is looking at her. She goes to the room where Bodo is lying. He sits up, and she kneels in front of him. She explains that she is going to go away, and that he has to decide whether he wants to come with her or not. When Bodo asks her why the two of them, she tells him that she dreamed they were brother and sister, wife and husband, mother and father. He answers that she is crazy, and she admits that maybe everything is wrong, but she thinks that it is luck. He answers that he doesnt believe in luck. When she says that he has just had too much bad luck, he asks what she knows about his bad luck. She tells him that she knows about his wife, the gas station, and the accident. Bodo answers that it wasnt an accident, but rather a fight, one of many.
Next scene: Bodo and his wife are driving. Even though there is no sound, one can see that they are arguing. They stop at the gas station, and Bodo goes to the restroom while his wife stays by the car. She fills the tank and lights a cigarette. The gas overflows out of the tank and onto the ground. The gas station attendant tries to warn her but she just drops her cigarette, and everything explodes. Bodo, still in the restroom, hears the explosion. When he comes out of the restroom, nothing is left.
Next scene: Steini is calling someone on the phone, telling them that the bank robber is in the asylum. He also says that Bodo is dead. Steini sees Sissi and Bodo walking through the corridors.
Sissi tells her colleague Maria that she needs her car immediately. The colleague gives her the keys to her car. She also asks Sissi where they want to go, and Sissi answers that they want to go somewhere very far away. Maria asks her if she is really sure about what she is doing. Sissi says yes, and that she wont be back.
Steini steals some keys from the nurses room. He goes to the bathroom, where Bodo is taking a bath. When Steini first looks through the door, he sees Sissis mom sitting in the bathtub. He gets a toaster and turns it on.
While Bodo is still sitting in the bath, Steini suddenly comes into the bathroom with the toaster in his hands. He tries to throw the toaster into the water, but Bodo catches it. The scene switches repeatedly back and forth between the mother sitting in the bathtub and dying because of the hair dryer that Steini throws into the water and the actual, current situation. Suddenly, Bodo stands up and starts chasing Steini throughout the whole building. Sissi, who is still standing in the hall with her colleague, sees them and follow them. Steini climbs a ladder to the attic. Just as Bodo tries to enter the attic, Sissi catches up to him and asks him what happened. He explains that Steini tried to throw a plugged-in toaster into the water in the bathtub. She suddenly understands.
Meanwhile, her colleague worries. She sees the police cars coming and goes outside. Another nurse is already talking to the police officer. She says Steinis name. Suddenly, one of the police officers says that there is a person on the roof of the building. It is Steini. He goes to the edge of the roof and sits down. He is talking to himself, saying that things have to be put in order.
Sissi and Bodo arrive on the roof. She goes directly to Steini and asks him why he did it. He gives a confusing answer and says that he can jump. The police also arrive on the roof and move slowly toward the three people at the edge of the roof. Steini tries to explain that he just has to jump and then everything would be okay, but Sissi answers that he wont jump. She goes back to Bodo, takes his hand, and walks a few steps away. Suddenly, they jump from the roof. Everybody is shocked. Sissi and Bodo land in a little lake that had been covered up with leaves. They escape and go back to the asylum where her colleague Maria gives her the car and some clothes. They drive away. The patient Werner sees them going.
Sissi and Bodo are driving on a country road when the gas tank starts running low. They stop at a gas station. It is the same station where the accident with Bodos wife occurred. Bodo goes to the restroom. When he comes out, there is a doppelganger of him following him into the car. They drive away. His doppelganger watches him during the drive. Bodo is crying again. Sissi wants to wipe away his tears, but he doesnt want her to touch him. His doppelganger suddenly closes Bodos eyes and forces him to stop the car. The doppelganger then asks him to leave the car and sits down next to Sissi. He starts the car and drives away, leaving Bodo behind. The new Bodo in the car takes Sissis hand. He is smiling.
The camera then focuses on the picture of Sissis friend Maike, which is hanging in the car. Suddenly, the picture comes alive, and Maike is shown walking toward Sissi and Bodo, who have arrived at her house by the ocean in their old car. Maike and Sissi are happy to see each other again.
The camera zooms slowly away from the scene. Again you can see the lonely house by the sea, remembering the first scene.