I. - WEDNESDAY MORNING IN SKOPJE
EXT. CITY - DAY
High-rises piggyback one other in dense smog, and an angelic children's choir sings over the packed city.
EXT. ROOFTOPS - DAY
New additions blend with old terraces, and the choir sound gradually transforms into children shouting and screaming.
INT. PASTRY SHOP - DAY
PASKO, a handsome young man with thick black hair, wears a white suit and tie and a beige raincoat. He eats ice cream and drinks boza.
Seated by the window, he watches children playing in the school yard across the street.
Pasko's cell rings, and he picks up.
EXT. SCHOOL PLAYGROUND - DAY
At recess, young boys play basketball, and older boys smoke in a corner. A group of seventh-graders huddle together, watching pornography on a cell phone.
A dozen third-grade girls, including 9-yr-old BEA, KJARA, BELLA MAGDALENA, and LORETA, play and chat nearby.
FIBI and SALINA approach them running. Excited, something's happened.
The girls stop playing and surround Fibi and Salina.
(out of breath)
We saw a flasher!
It was disgusting.
What did he do?
He ... he flashed us.
You saw it?
You already said that.
Did you touch it?
Loreta stares at them blankly.
We should report it.
Behind the newsstand! He was old, bald. He had on a blue raincoat!
Right away, to the police!
To the police?
They'll get him.
I ain't goin' to the police.
I ain't goin' either!
You must go.
I ain't goin' to the police. My mom told me not to get involved in anything.
You're a chicken!
(to Kjara, arguing)
You're a chicken! Chicken! Chicken!
I am not!
You go to the police!
Silence descends on the group. Loreta and Bella Magdalena gape at Bea.
They stare at her.
But you didn't even see him!
(to Fibi, ordering her)
You coming with me?
Everyone stares at Fibi in silence.
But, no, me ...
(ready to cry)
My mom won't let me.
Fibi nudges Bella Magdalena.
She ain't comin'. Her mom won't let her! You hear?
Bea stares Fibi down.
(to Kjara, proudly)
Kjara is taken aback and looks around. Everyone stares at her. Then, she follows Bea.
(shouting after them)
You don't know what he looks like!
Walking away from the playground, Bea and Kjara stop and turn around.
Their friends stare at them intensely as the school bell rings.
Tell the teacher Kjara had a tummy-ache and that I took her home.
(waiting for an answer)
EXT. STREET - DAY
The two girls walk in the busy street with other adults. There's no room for pedestrians on the sidewalk; it's filled with parked cars.
A fat priest gathers his cassock, crosses himself, and climbs into an expensive SUV.
EXT. CROSSWALK - DAY
The two girls wait at a crosswalk. No cars stop for them so they wait.
An SUV eventually stops with three filmmakers inside: ANA, KOLE and SIMON. Simon puts a cigarette in his mouth, and the girls cross the street.
EXT. SHOPPING MALL - DAY
Kjara and Bea walk through the shopping mall. A mangy dog limps among the passers-by, and the girls stop and stare through store windows.
Eventually, they find a pink pair of sneakers they like.
Do you want them?
INT. SHOPPING MALL - STORE - DAY
Kjara and Bea walk into the store.
The SALESWOMAN looks up. Behind her, on a monitor, a basketball sneakers ad plays.
I want these shoes.
The saleswoman looks the girls over.
Bea hands over a credit card.
EXT. STREET - DAY
The two girls walk down the same street with a big shoe box in hand. Cars remain parked on the sidewalk and zip by in the pedestrian-crowded street.
Let's take a cab. My mom told me never to walk.
(hailing a cab)
Bea tries to hail a cab, but none stop.
INT. TAXI - DAY
The two girls climb into the cab, position themselves on the back seat.
THE CAB-DRIVER smokes and listens to loud MUSIC.
I don't wanna go to the police.
Kjara! We have to report him. He's a flasher!
My mom will be pissed off.
Bea sighs unhappily.
If you don't come with me, I ain't invitin' you to my birthday party.
They stare at each other in silence.
The cab driver glances at them in the rear-view mirror, flicks his cigarette out the window, and lights a new one.
My tummy hurts.
C'mon! We saw him. Where?
We didn't see him.
Where did we see him?
We didn't see him.
Where did we see him?
Down in the alley.
Behind the newsstand.
Behind the newsstand.
He had a raincoat.
A yellow raincoat.
(rehearsing the story)
Bea, what did he look like?
Oh ... He was old and ugly ... Bald.
EXT. POLICE STATION - DAY
Bea and Kjara step out of a cab and enter.
INT. POLICE STATION - DAY
Seated at the reception desk behind a glass partition, OFFICER ILJOV is writing in a notebook.
Iljov continues writing.
BEA (O.S.) (CONT'D)
Iljov glances at the two girls.
What is it girls? You lost?
No, sir, we're not. We ... we ...
We'd like to report a flasher, sir.
As Iljov's face changes, Bea smiles primly, like an angel.
INT. POLICE STATION - DAY - LATER
Seated at one end of a large office, the girls watch a few policemen -- including SERGEANT JANESKI -- confer on the other. The police offers seem to be taking the girls' story very seriously.
Janeski turns to the girls.
Where are your parents?
May I have one of their cell numbers?
(pulling out her cell phone)
I'll call my mother right now.
INSERT - CELL PHONE SCREEN
Bea dials a number on her cell phone but hangs up before it can connect.
BACK TO SCENE
Bea holds the phone to her ear and pretends she's listening.
(to the others in the room)
She's not picking up.
A skeptical Sergeant Janeski watches silently.
Bea ... I want you to come with me now. Is that OK?
INT. POLICE STATION - DAY
Sergeant Janeski speaks with Bea in a different, smaller office. He hands her an ice cream cone.
And where did you see him, sweetie?
In the alley behind the store.
What did he look like?
He was ... He was old.
He was so ugly! And bald, too. He was bald.
Bea, you know it's really bad to make something like this up.
I'm not making this up. Ask Kjara.
Bea is getting scared. She smiles apprehensively. Then, she grabs the moral high ground.
Are you going to get him? He's gonna flash other girls!
Sergeant Janeski is taken aback by her insistence.
He may even attack them. He will attack them, for sure.
They look at each other.
What did he wear?
A raincoat. A yellow, I mean, blue raincoat.
Blue or yellow?
And he opened it like this!
She leaps up and opens an imaginary raincoat.
INT. POLICE STATION - HALLWAY - DAY
The two girls are eating ice cream, texting each other, and taking pictures of one another on their cell phones.
Bea lies on the chair with her head hanging down and her feet in the air.
What did you tell him?
That he flashed us down in the alley behind the newsstand and that he had a blue raincoat. And that he was
old and ugly. And bald. Just like it happened.
Kjara's cell phone beeps, and she opens a message from Bea.
I got it.
He looked like my grandfather? Cute!
Kjara writes an answer, and Bea's cell phone receives it. Bea opens the message and reads it.
"He looked like your boyfriend."
(glancing at Kjara)
Like my boyfriend? You can talk boyfriends when you have one.
Bea points at a drip down the side of Kjara's ice cream cone, and Kjara catches it with her tongue before it slides down to her hand.
The door opens.
Sergeant Janeski walks in with ILJOV and two COPS holding Pasko, the suspect. He holds his beige raincoat in his hands.
Is this him?
Kjara and Bea are surprised. They look at each other, taken aback.
Pasko looks nothing like the man they imagined and described.
Pasko is confused and frightened.
This the man you saw?
The girls stare silently at the grown-ups, and Sergeant Janeski begins to frown.
Kjara, tell me, sweetheart ...
Kjara opens her mouth to say something, but Bea is faster.
Yes, it was. It was, sir.
Kjara glances at Bea, then back at Pasko.
He's got the raincoat.
I've ... I've never seen these girls before in my life.
Sergeant Janeski signals with his head for the cops to take Pasko into the hallway.
There, Iljov punches Pasko in the stomach and bangs his head against the wall, leaving a bloody smear on the wall and bloodstains on his shirt.
The cop and Iljov stop, embarrassed.
A bit disturbed, Kjara glances over at Bea, but Bea looks ahead, unflinching.
EXT. POLICE STATION - DAY
The two girls play with a cat in the doorway. Eventually, Bea's mother, MRS. MATILDA, walks by wearing high heels and jeans, carrying groceries, and pushing a toddler in a stroller.
She does a double-take and, stunned, freezes in her tracks.
What are you doing here?
We saw a flasher.
Sergeant Janeski exits, eating a sandwich.
Mrs. Matilda? We've been trying to reach you, but your cell was switched off.
EXT. STREET - DAY
Mrs. Matilda leads Bea and Kjara by the hand, angrily marching ahead. The baby is crying.
I can't believe you did that!
Can't believe you let that creep see your faces. It's dangerous. You never know what he
can do to you. You're so stupid! Find you where you live; find you in the street -- he's a maniac!
He can hurt you!
Just can't believe it! You're so fucking reckless.
Expressionless, Bea shrugs, trying to keep pace. Kjara is embarrassed.
MRS. MATILDA (CONT'D)
And you: what's your mother gonna say?
I ... I had a tummy-ache.
(ignoring her, curiously)
How much did you see?
As the three walk down the sidewalk, a car behind them honks.
Eventually, they pass a bench where a large woman in a blue raincoat and her ten-year-old son sit. The boy eats an oversized sandwich.
Kjara spots them from the corner of her eye and turns to face them. She and the boy lock eyes. As they stare at one another, Mrs. Matilda yanks Kjara forward by the arm, and Bea hurries to keep pace.
II. - WEDNESDAY MORNING IN MARIOVO
EXT. SKOPJE - NEWSSTAND - DAY
Ana buys mineral water, cigarettes, newspapers, chewing gum, and tissues. After paying, she runs to an SUV parked in the street.
INT. SUV - DAY
Ana opens the door and sits in the passenger seat next to KOLE, the driver.
Ana blows him a kiss, feeling no need to defend herself against his impatience.
Finally your mama; finally your daddy.
Ana buckles up, and hands a pack of cigarettes and a lighter to SIMON in the back seat.
EXT. SKOPJE - STREET - DAY
The SUV drives under tall buildings and down wide streets as it makes its way toward Mariovo.
. . .
INT. MARIOVO - GRANDMA'S HOUSE - DAY
Grandma removes clothes from a trunk and shows them proudly to Kole. Ana runs a video camera, and Simon records the sound.
The old woman handles the clothes tenderly and with love. They're folded with little bars of soap between them.
Scarves, aprons, wool socks, a metal headdress, a string of coins to hang on the forehead -- every article is a unit of traditional Macedonian dress.
This is from my bridal outfit. Only the shirt is left, and I want to be buried in it. If there's anyone around to bury me.
It's beautiful, grandma.
That's all that's left.
Kole gazes at the rare clothing items.
Grandma, would you lend it to us?
Ana gives Kole a dirty look.
For the museum. We'll bring it back to you.
Grandma is not amused.
Do you have the rest of your bridal outfit?
Some foreigners came, from Vrance. They asked me if I wanted to sell it, but I said to myself, "What do I need it for? Moths will eat it. My daughter doesn't want it. She has no use for it in Bitola. I have no room for it. Sot he foreigners paid me, and I bought myself a bed. The old one, over there in the corner, is useless.
How old were you when you got married, ma'am? Do you remember?
Of course I remember! I had just turned seventeen.
In those days, was it important for the girl to be a virgin?
The old woman stops for a second, as if she wants to smile.
Oh, children ... There have always been lose women. And there always will be.
There's no end to dick.
Everyone laughs including grandma.
EXT. VILLAGE - GRANDMA'S HOUSE - DAY
Simon and Ana step out onto the large balcony. The old woman and Kole are still inside. Both Simon and Ana smile until they see GRANDPA down in the front yard.
The old man is furious about something.
You finally arrived, grandpa?
Grandpa walks away without a word.
EXT. OLD MAN'S HOUSE - DAY
The old man walks up a hill toward his house.
EXT. MARIOVO - SUNSET
The moon looms over a wide landscape, and the night sounds of crickets and other animals fill the air.
INT. GRANDMA'S HOUSE - NIGHT
Grandma sleeps in her room on her new bed. It's tacky and modern with a mirror in the headboard.
In the kitchen, under the window, in the moonlight, Ana and Kole sit talking softly.
A branch keeps hitting the window from outside as the wind shakes it.
Ana smokes at the window.
INT. BEDROOM - NIGHT
Kole lies in bed, snoring lightly. Ana takes a sip of mineral and then leaves it by the bed.
Ana climbs into bed and touches Kole. He opens his eyes but pretends he's sleeping. Ana kisses his ear, smiles, and slides away from her.
Ignoring him, Ana spoons Kole. She nibbles his ear and tickles him. He smiles, and they giggle softly.
He pretends to snore, and she laughs.
Kole turns over to face her, and they kiss. They undress and roll on the bed in the moonlight.
The bed creaks, and the old bedsprings almost touch the ground.
Kole kisses Ana's stomach, and she moans quietly.
EXT. GRANDMA'S HOUSE - BALCONY - NIGHT
Simon lies outside in his sleeping bag. He listens to Ana and Kole making love. Attempting to ignore them, he puts his headphones on, but he can't sleep. Instead, he rises, takes his microphone, and climbs down the wooden stairs.
EXT. MARIOVO - VILLAGE - NIGHT
Simon walks through the village with his headphones on.
EXT. MARIOVO - CEMETERY - NIGHT
Simon walks through the tall grass. After wandering for a few moments, he stops and extends the microphone into the night air, recording night sounds.
The symphony of sound he hears in his headphones overwhelm him.
Eventually, he lies on the ground and looks up at the stars. He points his microphone skyward and smiles.
INT. GRANDMA'S HOUSE - NIGHT
The old woman sits in her room, listening to Ana and Kole with her eyes wide open.
EXT. GRANDPA'S HOUSE - MORNING
The old man milks his goat. After a few moments, he turns and sees Simon observing him silently.
Grandpa snorts and continues milking.
Simon approaches grandpa and silently offers him a cigarette. The old man refuses and turns around angrily.
Simon lights it anyway and gently puts it between the old man's lips. Grandpa stops milking and smokes in silence. Simon joins him.
Let's say there was someone else living in this village. Would you two be related?
For example, if there were an old woman living in the village, would she be related to you?
Who knows? She might be my sister.
So this woman that would be your sister, she's no good?
Oh, she's good. She's very good -- good at giving me a bad year.
All my cattle died.
Grandpa turns around and pours the goat milk into a smaller bucket.
She cast a spell on my goat.
No, damn it!
Simon considers for a moment.
I was still a bachelor.
Simon looks at him silently.
You haven't spoken to her since?
The old man throws away the cigarette, grabs the bucket, and walks away leaving the goat standing alone.
. . .
EXT. VILLAGE - CEMETERY - DAY
Ana and Simon film yellow grass and old stone crosses; small stone burial mounds without names; old, broken jars; and a turtle struggling on its back among the graves.
Ana runs the camera and Simon quietly records sound with his microphone. As Ana records a crooked pear tree above the graves and the road to the village below them, a gust of wind blows, tangling their hair and blowing dust in their eyes. Ana rubs her eyes as she continues filming.
Simon lowers his microphone and approaches Ana from behind. He puts his hands on her body and begins caressing it.
She stops filming but doesn't turn around. After a few moments of silence, Simon pulls back his hand.
EXT. DITCH BEHIND GRANDPA'S HOUSE - MORNING
Grandpa tosses old rags onto a pile under a dead tree, sets them on fire, and watches them burn.
Burn in hell.
He tosses more rags onto the fire and eventually adds photographs too. The flame runs across them and sucks them in.
Kole approaches him from behind.
How's the work going?
The old man doesn't turn around or respond.
Kole offers him half a loaf of bread.
Here, grandpa, take it. We brought a watermelon too.
Grandpa ignores him and tosses more rags onto the fire.
We'll be hitting the road soon.
Kole considers for a moment.
But we'll be back.
Grandpa doesn't answer.
Do you need anything from Skopje?
I'm out of razors.
Grandpa tosses more pictures onto the fire and grumbles. The faces in the photos burn and disappear.
. . .
III. - WEDNESDAY MORNING IN KIČEVO
PART I - "MITRA"
- Kanarinka, a worn-out woman in her forties, addresses a camera. She sits in an armchair, in front of a wall unit, smoking. Ornaments fill a glass case behind her.
- She says that on November 16, 2004, at 11:45am, her mother left the house and never came back.
- Kanarinka lives in Kičevo, a small town in Macedonia. It used to be an industrial town, but the factories have closed down, and many people are unemployed. Kanarinka's mother, Mitra Siljanoska, was one of the workers laid off. At the age of 60, she had a miserable pension and sometimes cleaned houses to make extra money.
- INSERT - Photos of Mitra Siljanoska: a thin, poor older woman smiling with her grandchildren.
- INSERT - Pictures of an engagement party, a family feast, and Siljanoska's photo ID.
- It was cold the day Mitra disappeared, and she spent time selling potatoes and beans on the street, in front of her neighbor Vlado Taneski's house.
- STILL LIFE - Vegetables lie on top of a cardboard box next to a scale in an improvised produce stand on a Kičevo sidewalk. No one mans the stand today.
- Kanarinka describes how she and her family were confused when her mother disappeared. Mitra stepped out to go to the store and never returned. She rarely left the house for longer than an hour. Kanarinka wonders how something like this could have happened in such an intimate town.
- An hour and-a-half after Mitra left the house, her family began looking for her, but they couldn't find her anywhere.
- Kanarinka and her family reported Mitra missing to the police, but the police told them to look for her themselves. Kanarinka is still angry with the police, but she's a soft, kindhearted woman who accepts life as it comes to her.
- Kanarinka then went to her neighbor Vlado, a Utrinski Vesnik journalist, to help her write a missing person's announcement in the newspaper.
- INSERT - A clipping of the missing person announcement signed by Vlado.
- INSERT - A photo of Vlado with his colleagues. He's a good-looking man in his fifties.
- INSERT - Footage of people wandering the streets of grey Kičevo.
- INSERT - Footage of trucks in a factory yard.
- Kanarinka lights the stove in her house. It's snowing outside.
- STILL LIFE - Bottles of nail polish sit on a little table covered in needlepoint and political party symbols.
- Kanarinka continues her story. She's upset but masks it with shyness and reticence. On January 12, 2005, the police asked her to come to the station before taking her to the morgue.
- A man stands under the metal construction of an unfinished sports arena. The vast empty space underneath the metal skeleton makes the structure look absurd.
- In a rickety suburb behind the unfinished arena, horses graze in a field. A factory sits in the distance.
- The man standing in front of the arena is Abdulkadar Osmanoski-Duljo, a chunky man in his fifties. He describes how he found Mitra's body in January 2005. He was gathering stones when his shovel hit something soft. He found the body in a ditch besides a metal pillar. The old woman's head and arms were tied, and she was covered with a rug, naked from the waist down, and stuffed into a black garbage bag. Duljo immediately called the police.
- Duljo was so upset by his discovery that he woke up that night in a cold sweat. He says the stress caused him to lose all of his hair but that it later grew back.
- INSERT - Police crime scene photos.
- A few police officers open the black garbage bag holding her body. Duljo looks on.
- INSERT - Autopsy photos suggesting Mitra was raped and strangled.
- Kanarinka says that seeing her mother's tortured body in the morgue caused her to faint. She says she remembers being sad but also relieved: the police had finally found her mother, and the family could lay Mitra to rest.
- INSERT - Footage from Day of the Dead in Kičevo. It's cold, and people at the cemetery hand out food and light candles in memory of the dead.
- Behind the cemetery, a man rides a bicycle.
- People stream into the cemetery. Relatives, young and old; children -- the cemetery is filled with people. A woman wails loudly. A hungry child eats near Mitra's grave.
- Kanarinka remembers her mother was found naked from the waist down except for a pair of Puma sneakers. The autopsy results suggested she had been held captive before being killed.
- Kanarinka feeds her cat in the garden. It's cold, and she watches as a neighborhood tomcat mounts her cat.
- She says her mother's ribs and neck were broken, that she was raped, that her mother's stomach was full of sperm. Mitra was also tortured, and Kanarinka wonders how someone could do something like this to another human being.
- INSERT - Autopsy photo close up of the Mitra's hands. Her misshapen skin wrinkles under binding rope.
- Kanarinka cleans her mother's grave, kisses the picture on the tombstone, sits, and lights a cigarette.
- Duljo says he thinks Allah wanted him to find Mitra because she fed him when he was a child. At least he found her, Duljo says. At least dogs didn't tear her apart.
- Duljo remembers Kanarinka came to thank him for finding her mother. She brought him a towel and a box of chocolates.
- Kanarinka also remembers this encounter.
- She says she dream of her mother. In the dream, Mitra is fat and tells Kanarinka she's fine where she is now. Kanarinka still thinks she would have been better off with her daughter and grandchildren and begins crying for the first time.
- Kanarinka remembers the times her mother took her to school and taught her to embroider.
- Kanarinka learned the police caught her mother's killers from television. Neither the police nor the court mentioned anything about the arrest to her personally.
- INSERT - TV footage of police arresting the four men accused of Mitra's murder and their subsequent court case. The four also killed an old man from Malkoec.
- INSERT - Newspaper clippings about the arrest.
- The judge, Bozin Avramoski, remembers the case. He says it's one of the most disturbing cases he's ever handled. He remembers people crying in the courtroom.
- INSERT - Police crime scene photos showing the old man from Malkoec's body.
- During the investigation, two of the four accused, Ante Risteski and Igor Mircevski, admitted to killing Mitra and the old man. But later, during the trial, they recanted, claiming they'd only killed the old man. For the murder of the old man, the four killers are sentenced to life in prison. For Mitra, they are sentenced to 15 years.
- During the trial, Kanarinka says she wanted to snatch a gun from a police officer and kill the people who raped and killed her mother.
- The judge remembers the journalists who followed the case, including Vlado Taneski.
- INSERT - A newspaper clipping of Taneski's report.
- INSERT - TV footage from the trial of the four accused.
- INSERT - Newspaper clippings about the case.
- INSERT - Footage from Idrizovo prison: walls, a watchtower, guards.
- INSERT - Footage of a prison cell. Laundry hangs between the beds. A dirty hotplate and grimy pots sit on the floor.
- INSERT - Footage of Idrizovo hallways. They're crowded with prisoners who are filthy and high on drugs.
- Kanarinka says that she met one of the killers' mothers in a hospital and started a fight with the woman. Now, she says, she regrets doing so, but it's too late to make amends.
- Overwhelmed by misfortune, Kanarinka remains modest and kind.
The preceding excerpt includes Mothers' entire first act and a selection of scenes from the second. As Andrew Horton notes in his response to the film, Manchevski presents the film's third act as a documentary. The excerpt presents the first segment of this third, documentary-style act as a montage formatted in the style of early 20th century scenarios. See, for example, Georges Méliès' scenario Le voyage dans la Lune (A Trip to the Moon).
Versions of this scenario can be found in various places, for example, online: Tim Dirks, "Le Voyage Dans La Lune (A Trip To The Moon) (1902)" (filmsite, n.d. http://www.filmsite.org/voya.html [1 January 2010]), and, in print: Lewis Jacobs, The Rise of the American Film (Harcourt Brace, 1939), 27-28 and Kevin Alexander Boon, Script Culture and the American Screenplay (Wayne State UP, 2008), 5.
The original French version of Méliès' scenario can be found reprinted in the November 1984 issue of Avant-Scène du Cinéma (Paris).
~ Q.M. for SCRIPTjr.nl