by Attila J. Keszei
The film is about an unemployed philosophy professor who relates past events in his life through encounters with various people. In the middle of the film, the protagonist has an epileptic seizure, a “revelation”, whereby he becomes “the long-awaited prophet” instructed to kill a TV evangelist, who makes mockery out of faith.
The opening is a dream sequence that depicts the protagonist as a small child living with his soldier father and beautiful mother in a bible-belt small town in the U.S.A.. At the end of this sequence, he finds his mother and the small town parish priest making love in a bedroom of the house. The priest notices the boy and the door suddenly slams into the boy’s face.
The protagonist then wakes from this dream in a cold sweat into the present.
The story of his life unfolds during discussions with an alcoholic, (previously a blue-collar worker), one of his old students and his landlord.
After his father’s death, his mother sold everything and joined a TV evangelical church and left his son un-cared-for and without money. However, he managed to put himself through University and earned a doctorate in philosophy. Two decades later his mother recognized the corruptness of the TV evangelist who used to be the small-town priest, her ex-lover. She tried to leave the church at that point, but before she could do so, she died suddenly. During her last conversation with her son, which was spied at by the evangelist, she revealed to him that the TV evangelist was his natural father.
At the funeral home the protagonist was told that his mother’s death was the result of suicide and therefore she could not be buried by the church. He then tried to enlist the help of the TV evangelist to arrange a proper funeral for his mother, but he was not able to talk to him as he found the evangelist in a compromising situation. After the realization that he could not give a proper funeral to his mother, he stole the body from the “cold house” of the funeral home and built a funeral pyre and cremated the body himself. This action led to his having been committed to a mental institution and ended his career as a university professor.
Intoxicated, he returns to his apartment, and sees the TV evangelist in a live broadcast. In this overwrought emotional state brought on by having re-lived the sad events of his life through his discussions with the three men earlier that day, and aided by the effect of alcohol, he tries to commit suicide. During this attempt, he falls into an epileptic seizure and has a revelation.
In this epileptic sequence he goes to a prayer meeting and guns the TV evangelist down and gets arrested immediately.
During an examination by the prison psychiatrist, he draws parallels between religion and current social issues and explains why he killed the evangelist, declaring it his mission. During the subsequent trial, he exhibits uncanny knowledge of the jury members, and accuses them of various sins. Then he astonishes everybody by breaking his chains and leaving the heavily guarded courtroom without being stopped by anybody. It is as if he had cast a spell on everyone around him. He promises to return the next day if the judge can present a jury free of sin. The TV news, the newspapers all ask the question: “Who is this man?” The next day, he returns to the packed courtroom, but there is no one in the jury box. There is a spell on everyone again. This time he accuses the judge of past wrongdoings then takes a gun from one of the policeman, and facing the whole media, tells them that none of them is free of sins therefore no one can pass judgment on him but himself.
He states that his guilt stems from not having stopped the evangelist, whom he calls ”a blemish on the face of God”, earlier. He says that with his judgement on himself, he will take away mankind’s sins and from then on each man is responsible for what happens on earth, this “planet of God”. Then he shoots himself.
The graphic expression on the faces of the people present underscores the message that it was the long-awaited prophet who had stood in front of them seconds before.
The last sequence of the film brings the protagonist back from his epileptic dream – the REVELATION – to the present, and as he gains consciousness, the viewer will realize that the shot he fired in his desperation was only into the TV set. Then with his strength regained he takes the gun and walks out of the room, leaving the viewer to decide what will happen next.
Note: All actions in the present are filmed in black and white and all past actions and the revelation – epileptic seizure – will be shot in colour. Throughout the film, close-ups, facial expressions and gestures are dominant. The artistic strength of the black and white against the vividness of the colour film will enhance a dramatic tension of the dialogue.