The Interpreter

Synopsis: Escalating events begin when U.N. interpreter Silvia Broome alleges that she has overheard a death threat against an African head of state, spoken in a rare dialect few people other than Silvia can understand. With the words "The Teacher will never leave this room alive," in an instant, Silvia's life is turned upside down as she becomes a hunted target of the killers. Placed under the protection of federal agent Tobin Keller, Silvia's world only grows more nightmarish. As Keller digs deeper into his eyewitnesses' past and her secretive world of global connections, the more suspicious he becomes that she herself might be involved in the conspiracy. With every step of the way, he finds more reasons to mistrust her. Is Sylvia a victim? A suspect? Or something else entirely? And can Tobin, coping with his own personal heartache, keep her safe? Though they must depend on one another, Silvia and Tobin couldn't be more different. Silvia's strengths are words, diplomacy and the subtleties of m
Director(s): Sydney Pollack
Production: Universal Pictures
  3 wins & 2 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
128 min

She wouldn't tell me her husband's name.

She wouldn't even write it.

She knows not to speak

the names of the dead.

Zuwanie's murdered half the town.

How could it get any worse?

With Zuwanie, he could murder the other half.

No. Just us, they said.

Xola's right, Philippe.

You've done well, my friend, but just us.

I'll do the talking.

[Native African dialect - Ku]

They're Ku.

[Boy calls in Ku]


It's OK. It's OK.

The Teacher says good day to you.


[Hubbub of voices in various languages]

The United Nations was born in a hope

that survived world war...

[speaking Spanish]

[Continues in Spanish]

[Translator] We must not allow the peace

of the world to be jeopardized.

[Various languages in translation]

[Translator] Not only is this a negation

of democracy and its principles,

it constitutes interference

in the internal affairs of sovereign states.

We are presently in the throes

of a great transition

in humankind's affairs.

Modern technology is altering our world

in ways that would have been

impossible to fathom

when the United Nations Charter was signed.

- Could you take your jacket off?

- Go ahead.

- Next.

- Ma'am?


- Put it in the drawer, please.

- Step forward, please.

- Step through.

- Oh, man.

[Female translator]

Peace, security and freedom

are not finite commodities

like land, oil or gold,

which one state can acquire

at another's expense.

Get the GA President into the safe room.

Inform him.

Clear out the tourists,

get the Prime Minister on his way out.

[Continues in Spanish]

While globalization has benefited

portions of the world...

While there are now 191 nations represented,

you'll only have to learn to say "peace"

in the six languages of the General Assembly.

- Do we get a pin?

- Folks, you need to follow me.

Ladies and gentlemen,

we need to take a 15-minute recess now.

We will advise you further

at the end of that time.

We can't use the stairs.

- I know a short-cut.

- What, did you design the building?

- I still get lost every other day.

- Silvia?

I'll be right back.

- What is that?

- Come on, Roland, it's my flutes.

I have a lesson.

Don't make me drag it around.

I let you do this,

I'll get coats and hats and yogi mats...

I had a beauty. "Pie in the sky".

- Isn't it like "castles in Spain"?

- Exactly. Les chateaux en Espagne.

Stay away from both doors.

We'll unlock when it's all clear, sir.

Delegates' entrance clear.

Delegates' lounge clear.

Visitors' lobby clear.

Protectee is back in America.

Want to wait this out at Oz?

We can grab a sandwich.

- I've got to get back in to get my stuff.

- Merde, how long is this going to take?

[Indistinct whispered conversation in Ku]

[Conversation in Ku continues]

[Conversation in Ku becomes agitated]

[# Moby Grape:
Hey Grandma]

[Background chatter]

[Jukebox stops - conversations halt]

[# Lyle Lovett:
If I Had a Boat]

[Conversations resume]

[Woman] Hey, you got the Kellers. We're out

having a good time, so leave a message.

Hey, you got the Kellers. We're out

having a good time, so leave a message.


[Machine] Silvia? Rudy thought he had

a flute lesson tonight.

Will you call me when you get in?

- You know, they make new ones now.

- Yeah, I know.

[Car horn]

[Car horn]

[She shrieks, he apologizes in Portuguese]


[Hum of conversations in variety of languages]


Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen,

the situation in Matobo

has now become critical.

With Ajene Xola in hiding

and Kuman-Kuman in exile,

Edmond Zuwanie has few domestic obstacles

to his policy of ethnic cleansing.

The Security Council therefore

must press for his immediate referral

to the International Criminal Court

in The Hague.

Miss Broome.

I'm Jonathan Williams, Ambassador Harris's

adviser. We need you for a few minutes.

- Which language?

- The Matoban ambassador. He'll speak Ku.

- Ku?

- You speak the language, don't you?

- Let's be clear, Mr. Ambassador.

- [Silvia translates into Ku]

The United States may not recognize the ICC

as a legitimate court,

but we do not condone the methods

President Zuwanie uses against his people.

[Speaks Ku]

Dr Zuwanie is an educator.

He is... our teacher.

But his opponents

engage in ever more ferocious acts.

The partisans of both Kuman-Kuman

and Ajene Xola have become...


The French proposal

is a diplomatic headache for both of us.

- What a predicament.

- It doesn't have to be.

Dr Zuwanie wouldn't have to appear

before the International Criminal Court.

Not if he were somewhere else.

- Do you want him to resign?

- Tell him this.

If he goes voluntarily, we're confident

the French proposal will be vetoed.

[Speaks English] You can tell him yourself.

He will be here next Friday,

exercising his right

to speak before the General Assembly,

where he will announce

a new programme of democratic reform.

Perhaps then there will be no vote

and your predicament will disappear.

[Silvia] It will end here.

The Teacher will never leave this room alive.

That's it.

"The Teacher will never leave this room alive. "

Word for word.

- And what language did you say?

- Ku.

It's a tribal dialect of Matoban, spoken

throughout the south central African belt.

- Did you see anyone?

- No, but I think that they saw me.

Why didn't you report this last night?

It didn't mean anything to me at the time.

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Charles Randolph

Charles Randolph is an American screenwriter and producer for film and television. Randolph was born in Nashville, Tennessee. He was a cultural studies and philosophy professor. At age 33, Randolph spent a weekend in Los Angeles giving lectures at the University of Southern California. From a chance meeting with someone who worked for the Farrelly brothers, Randolph was inspired to attempt screenwriting.Randolph is married to Israeli actress Mili Avital, with whom he has two children. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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