Monday, September 15, 2014

# 2 ANGKOR - "The Organization". TV series in development




...following from from # 1 ANGKOR

31 EXT. PHNOM PENH STREET. NIGHT

VANNY, a tiny, thin, 10 year old girl, weaves her way through traffic, a tray hanging from her neck filled with books. 

She makes her way down a busy footpath that runs alongside restaurants and cafes in which tourists eat and drink. She passes other kids, her age and younger - also with trays of books around their necks, bracelets, scarves and other nic nacs to sell to tourists.

VANNY walks straight up to a middle aged MAN and WOMAN eating at a table of the street, beams a smile at them.

VANNY
You want to buy my book?

The WOMAN smiles, shakes her head. 

WOMAN
No thanks, sweetheart. We already have a book.

VANNY
You need two books. This one very good. Very funny.

VANNY holds up a book. The WOMAN shakes her head.

WOMAN
I’m sorry, darling, but we don’t need any more books.

VANNY (LAUGHS)
Your mouth says ‘no’ but your eyes say ‘yes’.

The WOMAN laughs, looks at the MAN. He smiles, shakes his head. VANNY pulls out another book.

VANNY 
This one called...

32 INT. NICK’S APARTMENT. LIVING ROOM. NIGHT

CLOSE ON a photo of a group of Asian men posing in front of a banner that reads: International Development Commission of South East Asia. The head of one of the men has been circled.

PATRICE (VOICE OFF)
No older than 13.

EXTREME CLOSE UP Wing Chou, circled, smiling for the camera.

PATRICE 
Maybe younger.

PATRICE looks at photos on a laptop computer screen of Kek getting out the car, walking inside the palatial mansion.

PATRICE 
I’d like to put a gun to Mr Wing Chou’s head and...

PATRICE forms her hand into a gun, pulls the trigger.

NICK walks up, places a glass of wine in PATRICE’S hands. 

NICK
Patience, mon cherie!

PATRICE
Fuck patience. Fuck this country. Fuck Wing Chou.

NICK (SMILES)
Did I ever tell you how sexy you are when you are angry?

PATRICE
Fuck you.

NICK (GRINS)
If you insist, I won’t resist.

PATRICE (LAUGHS)
Before or after dinner?

NICK flips an imaginary coin, catches it, flips it upside down, checks it.

NICK
Before.

PATRICE
I think after.

NICK 
Both?

PATRICE laughs.

33 EXT. STREET IN DOWNTOWN PHNOM PENH. NIGHT

Girlie bars line a street bustling with YOUNG KHMER WOMEN in short skirts, high heels and too much make-up calling out to FOREIGN MEN on the prowl - most on the wrong side of 50.  

In a bar that fronts onto the street, VANNY is trying to charm SANDY and IAN, early 20s, into buying a book. 

IAN’S stills camera rests on the table in front of him, alongside his beer. VANNY, a great little saleswoman, holds up a book for their inspection.

VANNY
This one very funny. All about Phnom Penh at night. Very popular.
SANDY waves the book away.

SANDY
Vanny, do you know what the word ‘no’ means?

VANNY shakes her head, smiles, replaces the book in her tray, holds up another.

VANNY
You not buy book, I cannot eat.

34 INT. TUK TUK. NIGHT

NICK and PATRICE sit alongside each other in a tuk tuk as it makes its way into the street with the girlie bars in it. NICK has an unfurled umbrella resting on his lap.

PATRICE
That thug back at Wing Chou’s, when you...?

She touches her stomach. NICK smiles. His red mobile rings. 

PATRICE 
What did you say to him? 

NICK shakes his head, makes a ‘doesn’t matter’ gesture, glances at his mobile. PATRICE asks him again with her eyes.

NICK
Nothing, really...

NICK laughs, instruct the tuk tuk driver in Khmer.

NICK (SUBTITLED) 
Here, thanks.

35 EXT. STREET IN DOWNTOWN PHNOM PENH. NIGHT

NICK and PATRICE get out of the tuk tuk close to where VANNY is trying to sell books to SANDY and IAN.

PATRICE
Then there’s no reason not to tell me! 

NICK
That you were the most beautiful woman in the world.

PATRICE
Liar.

CLOSEBY

VANNY leans close to SANDY; holds up another book.

VANNY
This one, history of Khmer Rouge. Very good. Very popular with tourists.

IAN
We’re not tourists; we’re travellers.

PATRICE ruffles VANNY’S hair as she walks past. To SANDY:

PATRICE
Don’t believe a word Vanny tells you. She has a big car parked around the corner and lives in a big house on the river and...

VANNY (LAUGHS)
Patrice one big liar.

PATRICE
Bigger than you?

VANNY
You buy me Coca Cola?

PATRICE
No, I’ll buy you water.

VANNY
You mean.

SANDY
How do you say ‘no’ in Khmer? 

PATRICE
‘Kmean’. And if you want to say, “I have no money,” say “Ach mien loy.”

As NICK and PATRICE walk to a table closeby, NICK holds up two fingers to WAITRESS he clearly knows. SANDY to VANNY:

SANDY
Ach mien loy?

VANNY
You one big liar. Like her.

VANNY points at PATRICE, picks up IAN’S camera, as NICK, in the background, places his umbrella on the table.

VANNY 
How much you pay for this?

IAN and SANDY laugh. 

VANNY 
You rich. (A BEAT)I take your photo?

IAN
OK

VANNY
You pay me? One dollar, OK?

SANDY and IAN laugh. VANNY frowns, takes a photo, replaces the camera, sulks for a moment, tries a different tack. She reaches out and strokes SANDY’s long blonde hair.  

VANNY 
You have beautiful hair.

CLOSEBY

NICK’S phone rings. 

NICK
I said that my wife was pregnant and I was excited that I was going to be a father.

NICK looks at the LCD screen of his phone:
Gunther

NICK 
Just popped into my head.

PATRICE
Wife! 

NICK reaches for his phone.

PATRICE 
Don’t answer it. Pregnant!?

NICK gestures his ‘sorry’, picks up phone.

NICK
Nanda! Speak to me.

NICK listens for a moment; his face lighting up with a smile.

NICK 
Great.

He stands, moves out into the street carrying his umbrella, engages in an animated conversation. 

PATRICE’S attention shifts to IAN, SANDY and VANNY at the next table - holding up yet another book. PATRICE tunes in to the interchange.

VANNY
If you not buy book, I not eat.

SANDY
Kmean.

VANNY beams a huge smile.

VANNY

Your mouth says ‘no’ but your eyes say yes.

IAN and SANDY laugh. PATRICE smiles, her eyes on NICK, pacing up and down in the street, talking animatedly on his red mobile phone. 

Twenty meters up the street, largely concealed in shadow, an immaculately well-dressed and groomed Vietnamese man, whom we will get to know as QUONG TRAN, takes in the scenario he sees in front of him. His attention focuses on:

NICK talking on his red mobile, hanging up; rejoining PATRICE at the table adjacent to where VANNY is still trying to hustle SANDY and IAN.

NICK sits down next to PATRICE as the WAITRESS arrives with their margaritas.

PATRICE mimics NICK:

PATRICE
Speak to me.

NICK
Gunther’s found a slave who’s prepared to talk. I still can’t get used to calling him Nanda.

PATRICE
That’s great but I want to hear the end of the ‘wife pregnant’ story first.

NICK
Working on a fishing boat in Thailand. That’s the good news. The bad news is I’ve got to be in Trat tomorrow morning.

NICK looks at his watch, punches a number into the mobile, holds it to his ear. He gestures to PATRICE:

NICK 
Thirty seconds, OK!

PATRICE raises her eyebrows, shakes her head; makes a playful ‘whatever’ gesture.  

QUONG TRAN watches as:

NICK  walks back into the street, talks on the phone.

A LITTLE LATER

NICK hangs up, returns to sit by PATRICE.

NICK 
If I leave in the next hour or so...

PATRICE
Who was that?

NICK
Someone who speaks Khmer and fluent Thai.

PATRICE
Does this ‘someone’ have a name?

NICK smiles, says nothing. PATRICE shakes her head.

PATRICE 
The ghost who walks! (A BEAT) You don’t trust me?

NICK
With my life, but there are some things its best you don’t know. (A BEAT) About my work, that is.

PATRICE
And about you?

NICK (SMILES)
An open book. 

He kisses her on the mouth.

36 EXT. TROPICAL GARDEN. DAY

PATRICE, in the tropical garden, sits in front of a camera on a tripod. Behind the camera, filming, is KATIE, early 20s.

PATRICE
A book more open than any other man I have known, but still with his secrets, his evasions, his holding something close to his chest. 

KATIE
Did that bother you?

PATRICE
No. Not too much. (SMILES) I had my secrets too. 

PATRICE registers KATIE’S keeness to ask “What secrets?”

PATRICE 
Don’t even try! (A BEAT) We are all entitled to our secrets. Don’t you think?

KATIE
Todd and I have no secrets from each other.

PATRICE smiles, resists the temptation to say something.

KATIE 
You didn’t go with him?

PATRICE
You know I didn’t!

KATIE
Yes, but...

PATRICE
It’s OK, I’m just teasing you...No, I had my own work...and...we never wanted to live in each others pockets. Absence makes the heart grow fonder etc...

KATIE
But he told you about his trip...?

PATRICE
Yes. In forensic detail. Except... except...

KATIE
Except?

PATRICE
He was very cagey about one small detail. It didn’t seem important at the time. It was only later... after...(A BEAT) Anyhow, within an hour he was on the road to Thailand...

37 EXT. RICE PADDIES. NIGHT

Nick’s yellow 4WD speeds along a pot-holed road. Rice paddies gleam silver in the moonlight. A man’s voice, with Khmer accent is heard over:

SENY (VOICE OFF)
My wife’s brother was a slave. Is a slave. We are not sure. 

38 INT. 4WD. NIGHT

SENY, a Khmer man in his mid 40s, drives.

SENY
Phirun. An agency in Phnom Penh offered him a job in Thailand working on a pineapple plantation...

NICK listens as he flicks through photos on his smart phone:
Badly framed, grainy photos of Munny on a fishing boat - removing fish from a net, lying in his cramped bunk; a ‘selfie’ of Munny with a 16 year old boy on the boat.

SENY 
...but when he arrived he learnt that the captain of a fishing boat had paid the agency $350 and that Phirun would have to pay the money back before the captain would let him go.

NICK turns to SENY

NICK
And?

SENY shrugs, shakes his head.

SENY
We haven’t heard from him for two years, now. I think, maybe, he is dead, but my wife...

NICK
And your wife? She is well?

SENY (GRIMACES)
Sivourn and I have separated.

NICK
I’m sorry.

SENY
I am not so sorry.

NICK smiles, shakes his head.

NICK
You are incorrigible, Seny. You know what ‘incorrigible’ means?

SENY (LAUGHS)
There are so many beautiful women in the world. It is unfair.

NICK 
Grossly.

He smiles, looks out the window. Munny’s voice is heard off. He speaks in Khmer.

MUNNY (SUBTITLED)
The rain came. Too much rain. The rice died. We had no food. 
Munny’s Khmer is blended with SENY’S English translation.

MUNNY (SUBTITLED) AND SENY 
A man came to our village. Davuth.

39 EXT. RURAL VILLAGE. DAY

An impoverished rural village. A group of villagers and their children listen to DAVUTH, mid 20s, who talks fast, with enthusiasm. SENY’S translation of Munny continues over:

SENY (VOICE OVER)
Davuth offered us a job - me and Vibrol, my son - working in a factory in Thailand. Two hundred dollars a month. Good money.

MUNNY, mid 30s, stands alongside his 16 year old son, VIBROL.

SENY 
Vibol was 16, but strong. And healthy. He wanted to work hard, send money back to his mother.

VIBROL hugs his MOTHER. She is careful to hide her distress at saying goodbye.

As MUNNY says goodbye to his wife, VIBROL instructs them to pose so that he can take a photo with his cheap mobile phone.

MUNNY says goodbye to his FOUR OTHER CHILDREN, as does VIBROL. A close loving family.

40 EXT. JUNGLE. NIGHT

VIBROL holds firmly onto MUNNY’S hand as they stumble through the jungle in the darkness with DAVUTH and OTHERS.

SENY (VOICE OVER)
They smuggled us across the border into Thailand, through the jungle. 

41 EXT. WHARF. FISHING PORT. DAY

MUNNY, VIBROL and TWO OTHER MEN argue with DAVUTH and the CAPTAIN of a fishing boat at the berth closely.

SENY (VOICE OVER)
When we arrived at the port we found that the captain of the boat had bought us both from Davuth. $200 for me, $100 for Vibrol. I said ‘no’...

MUNNY takes VIBROL’S arm, walks off. The CAPTAIN follows, taking out a pistol and hitting MUNNY hard on the back of his head. MUNNY falls to the ground. 

VIBROL runs to his aid. MUNNY’S  head bleeds.

42 EXT. FISHING BOAT. DAY

MUNNY and VIBROL, both glistening with sweat, separate fish for the market from the ‘trash fish’.

SENY (VOICE OVER)
We worked for 20 hour each day, separating the good fish - to be sold in the markets - from the ‘trash fish’ that they crush to make food for prawns and pigs and chickens. 

Seny’s voice continues over a montage of covert photos taken aboard the fishing boat with Vibrol’s mobile phone - of both Munny and Vibrol at work.

SENY (VOICE OVER) 
The captain beat us if we worked too slow, if we made a mistake...if he had drunk too much the night before and was in a bad mood.

The ‘selfie’ of Munny and Vibrol that Nick saw earlier.

43 EXT. WHARF. DAY

A busy wharf. There are lots of fishing boats. MUNNY and OTHER FISHERMEN unload fish and make their way to the large fish market closeby.

MUNNY makes eye contact with GUNTHER, in his saffron robes.  

44 EXT. BACK ALLEY. DAY

MUNNY stands in a back alley, obscured from view of the fish market seen in the background, by bins of rubbish. 

GUNTHER stands guard at the entrance to the alley. SENY stands alongside MUNNY, translating. NICK stands opposite, filming with his small video camera. MUNNY speaks in Khmer.

MUNNY (SUBTITLED)
Vibrol became sick. Too sick to work. The captain beat him with an iron bar. I tried to stop him but he bashed me in the face with a gun. 

MUNNY opens his mouth to reveal his broken teeth. SENY holds up his hand to stop MUNNY; translates for NICK.

SENY
Vibrol became sick...

GUNTHER rushes up.

GUNTHER
Trouble.

The CAPTAIN, holding a pistol, and another BIG MAN have spotted them. As they run into to alley NICK tips the garbage bins behind him as he, along with MUNNY, SENY and GUNTHER, run in the other direction.

The CAPTAIN and the BIG MAN give chase. As NICK, SENY and MUNNY turn a corner, GUNTHER stops, shout to the others.

GUNTHER 
Keep going.

He then turns and waits. A moment later the CAPTAIN runs around the corner, gun at the ready. GUNTHER, expert in karate, disarms and disables the CAPTAIN quickly. He does the same with the BIG MAN.

45 EXT. BACK STREET. DAY

GUNTHER runs up to NICK, MUNNY and SENY, a smile on his face.

GUNTHER
It is resolve...

NICK gestures: ‘what?’

GUNTHER 
I had some words with them.

GUNTHER holds up his hands in a karate pose. NICK and SENY exchange looks, laugh.

GUNTHER 
How do you say? ‘Actions speak louder than words’?

46 INT. ROADSIDE CAFE. DAY

NICK, MUNNY, SENY and GUNTHER sit at a grimy formica table in a low-rent roadside cafe. NICK films.

MUNNY (SUBTITLED)
I became unconsciousness for a short time and when I came to I saw that Vibrol was bleeding; crying. The captain lifted him from the deck...

NICK looks to SENY, waiting for his translation. SENY holds his hand up to NICK: Wait. MUNNY pauses for a long moment.

MUNNY (SUBTITLED) 
...and threw my son into the sea. Vibrol could not swim. He cried out, ‘Papa’. Just ‘Papa’. 

Tears well in SENY’s eyes. MUNNY’S next sentence, in Khmer, is mixed with PATRICE’s voice.

PATRICE (VOICE OVER)
“Then he was gone.” 

47 INT. NICK’S APARTMENT. NIGHT

PATRICE sits beside NICK, in a sarong and t-shirt, in front of his laptop computer, reading a print-out of his article. 

PATRICE
“Swallowed by the sea. I wanted to die.”

PATRICE pauses, her eyes glistening with moisture. She takes a sip of her wine, exhales.

48 EXT. ROADSIDE CAFE. EVENING

Music over. GUNTHER hands NICK a purple USB device. 

NICK
Thanks.

GUNTHER waves the ‘thanks’ away: ‘its nothing!’ They hug.

49 INT. CAR. DAWN

Music over. MUNNY sits in the back of Nick’s 4WD, staring out the window at the procession of rice paddies slipping by.

50 EXT. NICK’S 4WD. DAY

Music continues over. SENY drives the yellow 4WD into a village in which can be seen signs of extreme poverty. 

51 INT. NICK’S 4WD. DAY

Music continues over. MUNNY signals to SENY to stop. He does so. MUNNY and NICK get out of the car.

MUNNY raises his hands in a prayer gesture of thanks first to NICK and then to SENY. 

MUNNY’S WIFE and children appear in the background. 

NICK takes out his wallet, removes a couple of $100 bills, hands them to MUNNY. MUNNY bows and agains raises his hands in a prayer gesture of thanks. 

MUNNY’S wife moves towards him tentatively. MUNNY turns and walks towards her. 

NICK gets back into the 4WD, looks out the window: 

MUNNY greets his wife in the background. She looks behind him for her son. MUNNY talks to her. She screams, falls to the ground. MUNNY kneels to comfort her. 

VILLAGERS gather around.

PATRICE (VOICE OVER)
Without slaves like Munny and Vibrol producing low cost fishmeal from the ‘trash fish’, Thailand's multibillion-dollar farmed prawn industry could not survive...

...to be continued...


2 comments:

  1. Still got me interested, Ricketson. When is the brother going to come into it?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Reluctantly AnonymousSeptember 20, 2014 at 11:00 PM

    Got me hooked, James. More please.

    ReplyDelete