|http://www.sina.com.cn 2004/02/27 10:30 《英语学习》|
Viktor Taransky, a two-time Oscar winner, used to be a famous director. But the last 3 pictures he directed were unsuccessful, and no movie stars were willing to be cast<注1> in his movies. As the head of the studio, his ex-wife Elaine tries to help him for old time's sake and employs him for a new romantic movie with a superstar called Nicola Anders. However, Nicola, the proud superstar, is fussy all the time no matter how hard Viktor tries to accommodate her. Now she is complaining that the trailer<注2> is too tall and she does not have enough appearances on the screen. She even further angers Viktor saying she just called a press briefing<注3>. Viktor cannot bear her any longer, and in his fury, he asks Nicola's chauffeur<注4> to drive her to "hell".
Back in the studio, Elaine and the producers of the movie are watching Nicola's last performance on the screen and all of them think highly of her except Viktor. Nevertheless, Viktor says he still wants to continue the movie and shall finish the last part without Nicola. Elaine tells him that it is impossible to release the movie without Nicola's permission as she is going to sue the studio for doing so. Thus the movie has to be shelved<注5>. Viktor offers to find a new actress but they don't think it will sell without a star.
Viktor is downhearted as he loses his opportunity to shoot again. He recalls those good old days when a director could really use his own artistic style to direct a movie without intervention from the producers and without accommodating "stars". Elaine feels sorry for him but also criticizes him for focusing only on the art while neglecting the views of the investors who pay for the movies.
Lainey, Viktor and Elaine's daughter, is playing with her computer while waiting for Viktor at the gate. Viktor tells her that he is determined to finish the picture despite everybody's disapproval. Lainey encourages him.
In the evening, Viktor is taking out the picture copies back home when a mysterious guy suddenly appears in front of him. He says he is Hank Aleno, a computer genius who delivered a speech "Who needs Humans?" at an international conference at which he meets Viktor. He is an all-time admirer of Viktor's artistic integrity. Hank tells him he has invented "Vactors" ?computer actors, which might be of some use to Viktor's filmmaking.
One morning a few days later, Viktor is trying desperately to look for a new actress for the picture when a lawyer delivers the last will of Hank, who died of eye tumor<注6>. To Viktor's astonishment, it is a computer software called simulation<注7>.
Nine months later, "Sunrise, Sunset" is an instant hit<注8> and the new actress Simone in the picture becomes famous overnight. Everyone is talking about her and also wondering who this Simone is. At a press conference, Viktor refuses to answer any questions about Simone, whom he describes as an actress devoted totally to art and prefers to let her work speak about herself. Meanwhile, Viktor announces a new picture "Eternity Forever" to be made with Simone starring in it.
One day, Viktor sends his daughter back to Elaine's home, \where\ Elaine warns Viktor to be careful with Simone as new stars quite often destroy their first discoverers. She doesn't want to see Viktor ruined by Simone. But Viktor reassures her that he controls Simone who does everything he tells her to do.
While recruiting the cast for the new picture "Eternity Forever", everyone is pleased to "speak" with Simone online. In the new picture, as in the previous one, Simone will not be shooting with them, as she explains that she acts better alone without relating actually with them.
In fact, Simone is the virtual<注9> figure created by Viktor using the simulation software left to him by Hank and Simone actually stands for Simulation One. However, what Viktor did not expect is that Simone ushers in<注10> instant success for his film and is worshipped by the fans as a perfect beauty. Now he has to do something to show the public her "real" existence while keeping the secret all to himself. Viktor rents a presidential suite<注11> for Simone in a five-star hotel, checks in, and puts on a performance. No sooner is the mysterious Simone checked in than the news spreads out and the hotel is flooded by the press. Viktor hires a beautiful model who checks out with a mask on her face to avoid reporters and photographers waiting at the gate. They get \into\ a limo<注12> and escape immediately from the crowd leaving behind in the suite Simone's underwear, perfume and toothbrush.
A detective is also fascinated by Simone and is determined to find out why she is so mysterious. He bribes the receptionist of the hotel and gets \into\ the suite to have the fingerprints examined, but he fails to discover anything except the fingerprints of Viktor and his own. He speculates that Simone must have had some unhappy experiences that she wouldn't like others to know.
As people are crazy about Simone and long to see her, the producers are eager to ask Simone to appear in public and promote her new picture. Since Viktor would not give in to the pressure from the public, the producers including Elaine suddenly come to the stage \where\ Viktor is shooting the film with Simone and force open the gate in spite of Viktor's protest. There, they see nothing but a huge TV screen and a computer. Viktor tells them that Simone is very shy and even agoraphobic<注13>. Her only hobby is playing with the computer and surfing and chatting on the Internet. Urged by the producers, Viktor has to agree to let Simone appear on a dialogue program, but only through televised remote transmission to be arranged by himself.
The talk show proves a huge success and there is a new wave of Simone fever. As one of her fans, Elaine feels somewhat bitter at the fact that more and more reports and pictures focus on Simone's intimate relationship with Viktor. Meanwhile, the detective finds a clue<注14> of \where\ Simone was talking to the audience because the background on the TV screen is a place \where\ he had a holiday in the previous year. Excited, he drives to the place all the way with his assistant but is surprised to see an obvious difference. Apparently, Simone's picture background is technically modified<注15> from the original scene.
Coming back from a cruise on his yacht and tying it to the dock<注16>, Viktor is met with the detective who shows the evidence that Simone has never left the studio and Viktor has never even paid her a cent from his account ?which means that Viktor has been using and even abusing her for his own interest. The detective threatens to hand in all the evidence to the authorities if Viktor still forbids Simone to meet the public. Viktor agrees to his request, but again under strict conditions that the stage of the 100,000-seat stadium should be smoked<注17> and no one should take any pictures of her while she performs on the stage. Again the simulated performance remote controlled by Viktor proves a sensation.
As Viktor and Simone have become inseparable, Elaine is becoming more and more upset since she still loves Viktor. Their daughter Lainey also feels uneasy about the relationship between Viktor and Simone as she wants her parents to reunite. As the Academy Award ceremony is drawing near, Elaine gets a phone call from Simone asking her to accompany Viktor for the occasion because she will not be able to attend it. It is no surprise that Simone gets the best actress award for both "Sunrise, Sunset" and "Eternity Forever."<注18> But Elaine and Lainey are not happy about Simone's televised speech upon receiving the honor. She thanks everyone except Viktor simply because Viktor forgot to let Simone thank himself when he did the simulated video recording.
As the most admired director, Viktor now enjoys a huge number of candidates applying for the roles in his new movie. Even Nicola comes for the casting session. She asks Viktor for forgiveness and begs for a minor role to play Simone's sister in the new picture. Meanwhile Viktor does want Elaine back in his life. But when he tells Elaine that he loves her and wants her back, Elaine cannot believe that it will work since she can never hope to compete with Simone. Viktor says that Simone is not a real person and is created by him. Elaine takes it as some drunken remark and tells him that it is Simone who created him empowering<注19> him an unprecedented career.
Now Viktor begins to feel the impact of Simone on his career and personal life. He decides to spoil Simone's image in a new film called "I Am Pig" in which a filthy<注20> Simone competes with pigs for food. He also lists Simone as the director at the end of the movie. Contrary to his expectation, the audience is deeply moved by the film and Simone is even more popular. Desperate Viktor decides to destroy her by plaguing<注21> the simulation software with deadly virus. Before he inserts the disc \into\ the computer, tears stream down his cheeks. After all, Simone has saved his career. Then he puts all the drives and discs \into\ a wooden box and drops it \into\ the sea from his yacht.
The next day, he sadly and solemnly announces the death of Simone on her Good Will Tour of the Third World at a press briefing. People all over the country are very sad on the day of the funeral. Just as the casket<注22> is to be buried in the graveyard, some FBI agents come and demand the coffin be opened. To everyone's shock, there's nothing but Simone's picture in it. Viktor is arrested for suspected murder of Simone. During the interrogation, the FBI agents won't believe him no matter how hard he tries to convince them that Simone is a virtual figure that existed only in pixels<注23>. They show Viktor the video from the surveillance<注24> camera of him moving a big wooden box to his yacht on the night of Simone's death, which means he might have dumped Simone's body \into\ the sea so that no one can find the evidence. Telling them that there are only drives and discs in the box, Viktor is taken to the spot \where\ he dropped the box. The box is found by the divers but there is nothing except some seaweeds in it. It is feared that Simone's body was eaten by sharks. Viktor is to be tried for murder and this almost drives him mad. He might well get a death sentence for murdering such a beloved icon<注25> if he does not plead insanity<注26>.
On the stage \where\ Viktor made Simone's pictures, Elaine is still engrossed in the shock of what Viktor did while Lainey is playing with the computer keyboard. Suddenly she finds the plague disc in the drive and tells her mother that maybe Simone had contracted a virus and that some viruses can be cured. Hardly does she finish the sentence when Simone's image on the screen begins to appear bit by bit upon her tapping on the keyboard.
Simone is back! Viktor is set free. Elaine and Lainey come to the court to pick him up. In the limo, the family decides to create a whole cast of simulated characters in their movies. Their limo drives away from the throng of press, to the future.
Dialogue Between Viktor and Elaine
Elaine: When is she coming over?
Viktor: Oh, about now.
Elaine: Oh. Okay. I'll just stay until she gets here.
Viktor: Well, she's... already here.
Viktor: Elaine... Simone is not coming over tonight... or any other night. I want you back, Elaine.
Elaine: I want you back, too. Viktor. (Embracing and kissing each other) Oh, Viktor! Wait! Viktor! This is crazy, Viktor. Who are we kidding? I can't compete with Simone.
Elaine: What woman can, Viktor?
Viktor: I'd rather have you than Simone.
Viktor: Believe me. (Kissing each other again)
Elaine: That's so sweet. (Pushing Viktor away again) No, but I can't let you do that, make that kind of sacrifice, Viktor.
Viktor: No. No.
Elaine: God, this is strange. You know, I have stabbed people in the back1 and clawed and slept my way to \where\ I am, Viktor. But...
Viktor: You have?
Elaine: Well, it goes with the territory. But, I... for some reason, I can't betray Simone. I can't. There's a goodness to her, Viktor.
Viktor: Oh, no. there's nothing to her.
Elaine: Oh, Viktor. (Kissing Viktor again, pushing him away again) You say that now, but in the morning you would go back to her.
Viktor: No. No.
Elaine: You would, Viktor.
Viktor: She's gonna retire. She'll never work again.
Elaine: Of course she will. Her public will demand it.
Viktor: Not if I don't let her.
Elaine: How can you stop her?
Viktor: I'm gonna tell you a secret now, Elaine. Simone isn't a real person. I invented her.
Elaine: Every actor is an invention, Viktor.
Elaine: Please. You're lucky she's loyal enough to stay with you. Maybe she's staying out of pity2. Who knows? I mean, she certainly doesn't need you, Viktor.
Viktor: Listen, she's thin air3. She's pixels.
Viktor: Computer code molded by me from a mathematical equation I inherited from a madman.
Elaine: How much have you had to drink, Viktor?
Viktor: There's no Simone. I'm Simone.
Elaine: You're Simone?!
Viktor: I've done the impossible. I have recreated the infinite nuances4 of a human being... a human soul. I have taken nothing, and made it something. I have breathed life \into\ a machine. I've made a miracle.
Elaine: (Not believing) Viktor, please stop. Please.
Viktor: I swear, Elaine. As God is my judge, I swear. I made Simone. I made her.
Elaine: You made Simone?
Elaine: Viktor... she made you. (Leaving)
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