The Grand Budapest Hotel's Sublime Apology
By Bryan Caplan
Here’s a great scene from Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel. Gustave, manager of the Grand Budapest Hotel, has just escaped from prison after being framed for murder. Zero, an immigrant who works as the hotel’s lobby boy, helped Gustave escape, but forgot to bring his employer’s favorite cologne.
Gustave: I suppose this is to be expected back in… Where do you come from again?
Zero: Aq Salim al-Jabat.
Gustave: Precisely. I suppose this is to be expected back in Aq Salim al-Jabat where one’s prized possessions are a stack of filthy carpets and a starving goat, and one sleeps behind a tent flap and survives on wild dates and scarabs. But it’s not how I trained you. What on God’s earth possessed you to leave the homeland where you obviously belong and travel unspeakable distances to become a penniless immigrant in a refined, highly-cultivated society that, quite frankly, could’ve gotten along very well without you?
Zero: The war.
Gustave: Say again?
Zero: Well, you see, my father was murdered and the rest of my family were executed by firing squad. Our village was burned to the ground and those who managed to survive were forced to flee. I left because of the war.
Gustave: I see. So you’re, actually, really more of a refugee, in that sense? Truly. Well, I suppose I’d better take back everything I just said. What a bloody idiot I am. Pathetic fool. Goddamn, selfish bastard. This is disgraceful, and it’s beneath the standards of the Grand Budapest. I apologize on behalf of the hotel.
Zero: It’s not your fault. You were just upset I forgot the perfume.
Gustave: Don’t make excuses for me. I owe you my life. You are my dear friend and protege and I’m very proud of you. You must know that. I’m so sorry, Zero.
Zero: We’re brothers.
In my dreams, this is the apology the current proponents of immigration restrictions will one day make. But I’ll settle for open borders sans apology.