When Johanus finally sleeps he mutters to himself. He’s done it for years. Very rarely Pedah will wake with a cold start in the night and catch odd phrases mumbled through Johanus’ heavy breath. Sometimes Isabel would hear them as she came back to bed from feeding the baby, Johnus deeply asleep already. Occasionally there are short arguments, refusals to comply, but always, eventually, the name Anya. He says it as though he is searching for her. He keeps calling for her even though she is lost. Isabel doesn’t know who this Anya is. Johanus has never spoken of her. She assumes it may be his sister or cousin, part of the family she has never met. When Pedah hears the name he can tell that there is a want in Johanus’ voice, a plea not directed at a sibling or family. There is a lust, a desperation to reach this Anya.
Nobody recognises that the film Johanus made is for Anya. Once the censors had approved the final cut the film seemed to be about the city. Nevertheless all those shots over a man’s shoulder, walking, running down corridors and stairways are looking for something, or someone, always heading towards a tense inevitability. As the protagonist bursts through the last door at the top of an endless staircase onto the building’s roof the camera pans out and the entire labyrinth of a city is revealed. It is a breathtaking shot, as the later-edited score soars, and the audience marvel at the city they are a part of, a fraction within.
What they don’t see lies in the editing room, carefully sealed up and stored away, the final shots of Johnaus’ film: The man glimpses one last look of Anya, the girl he kissed and has been dreaming of. She returns his stare and then steps off the concrete edge into the abyss. As she falls the film flickers backwards. We see the man running back through corridors, and fleeting shots of a cornfield hover between the doorways and lift-shafts, corridors and windows. There are another man’s legs in the field moving through the corn. And from the opposite direction a woman’s: Anya’s. They come close to each other and stop still. The pair breathes. The man in the film stops running and opens a door to see the edge of this same cornfield. Two figures hold each other, their top halves visible above the corn. A close-up from their waists tracks downwards towards the soil, and then deeper until consumed by the darkness.