Magnus Aronson-Aminoff



Shorter Synopsis (V1)

Jesper, a young Swedish man with nationalist tendencies, meets a travelling girl of vague European heritage in a bar. The young woman is very secretive, and refuses to answer questions about herself. During the night of drinking, she gives Jesper her map of Europe, which is scribbled full of clues about her trip. Jesper is extremely single (read: lonely) and unemployed. These two factors in combination with the wonderful random meeting, give him the incentive to travel out on a quest for Eurogirl (which is the name he gives her).

En route by train through Europe, Jesper gets a feeling that someone (something?) is controlling him. He sees signs, and they take him certain directions. In Copenhagen, he meets a bunch of back-packers. They encourage him to continue his journey, even though he doesn’t find Eurogirl at first. Naïvely, Jesper hopes that the signs that lead his way will take him to her. In glimpses, it does appear as though the signs point in her direction, but mostly they take Jesper to places of historical and political significance, often war-related.

In other words, Jesper encounters a Europe that has been full of conflict, persecution and mass murder, all in the name of nationalism. These unexpected experiences, this inner journey with echoes of Dante, opens his eyes and makes him reevaluate himself.

At the same time Jesper's quest to find Eurogirl continues. This is a more fluid, dreamlike antithesis to Jesper's "ethical" awakening. Eventually he meets her again, in Sarajevo. And she turns out to be very different from what he imagined or remembered. She’s not the lighthearted, dreamlike, perfect girl that Jesper was fantasizing about. Instead Eurogirl nurtures fascist ideas: war is good, ethnicities should not mix, the Holocaust probably didn’t happen, etc. Jesper, who has seen Auschwitz and come face to face with the terrible horrors that nationalism leads to becomes disillusioned. He leaves her.

Jesper has travelled to Sarajevo because that’s where Europe’s modern history of conflict began on June 28, 1914. On the very spot where the famous shots were fired, he meets Eurogirl. Later, after he's left her, he walks back to the place in question. This time he sees a flashing light in a building across the river, which seems to communicate with him (yet another sign). He goes there and meets the back-packers from the film's beginning. They invite him to eat with them.

Longer Synopsis (V2)

Jesper is a broken man in Stockholm, seeing the world through gloomy glasses. His life’s a meaningless mess of failure. With no hope of creating a career for himself, he’s got only a void to look forward to. And in the darkness that is his poor existence, he’s enormously lonely. At nights, alone in his bed, torturous thoughts return to him, and every night is sleepless agony. He escapes into the world of classic European cinema, and dreams of another kind of world than the one he’s unfortunately living in. A world of wordless poetry and romance.

Jesper ends up in conflict with everyone he meets. The only person that he can ventilate his problems to is his younger brother, Adam, a successful music video director. But the joyous Adam doesn’t understand Jesper’s torment. One day, in the company of the brother’s hipster friends (all of them much younger than Jesper), the constant drumming of hopeless pain becomes too much, and he freaks out. With every move, he’s turning himself into a pariah.

But, at his lowest, walking through the Old Town, his thoughts do materialize. The mysterious woman that will save him from everything’s meaninglessness is suddenly standing there, surrounded by, and standing out from, a crowd of tourists. This happens just as Jesper had wished for her to exist. With flaming red hair, and wearing headphones, she’s rolling a suitcase behind her. He follows her into a museum. Their eyes meet, and a long flirtatious play of wordless interaction ensues. It’s just like a scene from a old French film, Jesper thinks.

The girl takes off her headphones, and reveals that she’s listening to Národski, a forgotten but recently rediscovered classical composer from several hundred years ago, who will soon — finally — get the fame that he deserves, when his magnum opus, ’Quaeretis Me Et Invenietis’, will be premiered. The girl tells Jesper that she’s part of a society whose mission is to “save what’s left of Old Europe”. The mysterious girl is full of magic and the kind of adventure that Jesper fantasizes about. But she avoids revealing her name or, in fact, anything about herself.

They listen to Národski, and, in highbrow dramatic terms, the girl says that when Jesper understands this music, he will understand her. He’s impressed, but somewhat ashamed about being so uncultivated in comparison. But this just makes him hungry for more. The girl is the only person he’s connected with for many years. She’s literally his dream come true. She’s going to Warsaw for an ’important event’. ”Come with me”, she jokes. But when Jesper tries to take a picture of her, she becomes upset. A few moments later, she’s gone. Jesper’s left with the sheet music. The girl has written on it: ’Was immer du tun kannst oder erträumst zu können, beginne es. Kühnheit besitzt Genie, Macht und magische Kraft. Beginne es jetzt!’

The girl had jokingly suggested meeting on Národski’s grave, and this meeting place appeals to Jesper’s romantic sensibilities. So, naturally, he sets off to Warsaw, without actually having the money to do so. On the ferryboat, he listens to a recording of Národski’s music, trying to ’understand’ it, as he’s watching the coastline of the continent coming closer. Jesper’s impulsive voyage to Poland might appear whimsical, but he feels that it could be of life-changing importance. He reads online that Národski is buried inside the cellar of a church.

In Warsaw, as he approaches the place by tram, it becomes clear to Jesper that something unusual is going on. A group of protesters walk through the streets with samba drums, banners and rainbow flags, flanked by tough-looking Polish police. Barriers block off the roads, and Jesper sees that he’s not going to reach the church. Hundreds of people surround a huge building with a façade of tinted windows. Demonstrators scream at this building, from a distance because of the barriers. Right behind the temporary fences lay a few bodies draped in white sheets, playing dead. Jesper assumes that this is a political statement of some kind.

He walks around in the demonstration, keeping his eyes open for the girl’s characteristic hair. This demonstration might be the ”important event” that she mentioned. After all, she said that she was an activist of sorts. Walking through this strange chaos, Jesper forgets about his miserable life, and takes photographs of the crowd. But the black-clad anarchist-looking people tell him to stop. Jesper protests against this: ”Don’t I have the right to take photos? Aren’t you fighting for people’s rights?” He’s forced to leave the crowd, accused of being a secret police officer. A number of black BMWs drive up to the building. Important people in suits step out of the cars, and line up in front of the journalists and photographers.

That’s when the bodies under the white sheets suddenly get up and run towards the line-up of politicians to crash this photo opportunity. They’re all young women. The police are caught off guard by this unexpected move, and don’t manage to grab these girls quickly. In the tumult that follows, Jesper manages to sneak in behind a barrier, and gets to the church.

As he’s trying to find his way inside, he has a feeling of being watched by some people who he assumes are the secret police. A woman in a skirt suit comes up to Jesper and asks to see his invitation. Knowing that the only hope of finding the girl is to somehow stay inside the area, Jesper spins a story about being from the Swedish Embassy. This information gets the woman going, and she starts talking about how the immigration policies of Sweden create trouble for all of Europe, as immigrants (with their sights set on this promised land) must cross the entire continent to get there. Jesper, surprised about the turn of the conversation, nods and agrees, as long as he can avoid being thrown out. He adds that he’s just going to the church. The woman has lightened up, and greenlights this. As he walks away, she adds: ”But immigration per se is not the problem. Islam is! Luckily, here in Poland, we’re untouched by this disease.” Jesper shakes this off, and enters the church to see is he can at least find the famous tomb.

And inside the church, there she is! The girl that he’s been looking for. She’s just sitting there, with her pre-raphaelite hair, in silence, as though in prayer. There’s no one else around. She stands up slowly, turns around, and smiles at him. ”I knew that you were coming.” The girl guides Jesper to Národski’s grave, and tells him the story of how, on each death-day of the composer, his blood is said to seep up through the floor. This is a reminder of Poland’s never-ending struggle for freedom. ”Every nation has the right to independence.” Gently, the red-haired young woman takes him through the empty streets of the city, and tells him the old myths emanating from this ancient town: the Jewish bookbinder and the Warsaw mermaid.

But, as they’re standing in the street, in the yellow street light, like in a slow dream, the girl mentions that she’s not actually there. ”Yes, I know”, Jesper sighs sadly. ”Listen!” she tells him. ”Do you recognise the music?” And she’s gone. She was never there, it all took place in his mind. He’s alone on the street. But the music can still be heard. A duo of violins. They’re playing Národski! He walks there, and finds two young women busking. They’re part of a touring symphony orchestra on its way to Budapest, where there will be the first ever performance of an old orchestral work. This must be the concert that the girl mentioned!

It’s clear to Jesper that he must go to Budapest. He counts his money, but realizes that he can’t afford a ticket. He decides to take the train, and try to avoid the conductors. As he walks back to his hostel, he has a strong sense of being shadowed. From the window of his hostel room, he sees a person arriving shortly after him. The woman stands in the street outside for a moment, and leaves. To some extent, Jesper is excited and hopeful about the continuation of the journey. But he still cries himself to sleep, filled with doubt about the uncertainty of this desperate chase. The lengths he must go, only to get that one thing that everyone has!

The story continues through Budapest and ends in Sarajevo. Jesper simply wants to meet the girl again. That’s all he wants! Being a dreamer and a loser, he nurtures the idea that this enigmatic woman will change his life, and save him from a worthless life. On the train to Budapest, fortuitously, he shares compartment with a girl whose sister works at the concert hall where the Národski performance will take place. She promises to arrange a ticket for him.

More girls enter the compartment, and it dawns on Jesper that these people are in fact the activists from the protest in Warsaw — the ones who crashed the photo opportunity with the politicians. They explain the protest: an operation to oust illegal immigrants is taking place across the continent. The centre of this operation is Poland. ”Every day hundreds of migrants die, and the world don’t know that these people are guilty.” The name of this operation is PARADOSIS.

Jesper learns that this group of international activists is guided by the blog of the media-shy social justice warrior Amelia Franzoni. They’re on their way to Hungary to turn the world’s attention to another little-known barbarity: that migrants in Europe are locked up in prison-like institutions, far away from the public’s eyes, and then flown to their countries to face certain death or persecution. The activists will use non-violent means to stop a truck, supposed to take migrants to the airport, in the night, from such a place outside Budapest.

As mentioned, Jesper usually ends up in conflict with people, and now is not an exception. When the girls talk about these issues, they get more and more worked up, and starts blaming the ’white man’s capitalist system’ and, in particular, ’the patriarchy’ for the ‘institutionalized racism’. When Jesper has the audacity to bring these statements up for discussion, the activist who originally promised to help him, turns into a bitter enemy. She even accuses Jesper himself to be exponent of the ’rape culture’ that creates all injustices in society. As an attempt to rekindle the ephemeral concord, Jesper suggests that he can help the activists with their action at the refugee detention camp. He does possess useful skills.

They arrive in Budapest. And right there, in that town, the next day, there’s an atrocity in the name of islam. This event changes everything, and Jesper must navigate through the archipelago of political drama unfolding around him in Eastern Europe. On the way, he meets the activist leader Franzoni who plays a central role in the story. And lastly, in Sarajevo, he meets the red-haired object of his odyssey again. She wants him to do her a favour…

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