The Professional

Institute History

  • 1995 January Screenwriters Lab


A man is assigned the task of destroying another man, but instead, he chooses to save his life. The Professional , a tragi-comedy set in a once powerful publishing house in Eastern Europe, explores the issues of self-deception and self-discovery through an impassioned relationship between an intellectual upstart and a representative of the former establishment.

Belgrade, 1989: the Communist era is over and Teya has been appointed head of a ramshackle publishing company. Hardened to the "paranoid scriptomaniacs" all desperate, as he once was, to be published, Teya assumes that the stranger who finagles his way into his office is yet another despicable writer. But "Comrade Luke" has far more to offer then just another manuscript.

Luke reveals that the bound volumes he presents the editor are actually books that Teya has unwittingly written. As an agent in President Tito's paranoia-driven police force, Luke has followed Teya since his dissident student days, faithfully recording his juvenile speeches, barroom rants, and drunken misadventures. An enemy Teya never knew he had proves to be his redemption, delivering up the books that Teya could never write himself.

With the collective titles "Speaking Of' and "Short City Life Storie," these make valuable additions to his oeuvre, but nothing can match the fascination of the tale that Luke himself has to tell: one which is all the more effective for its lack of literary frills.


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