Monday, April 11, 2016
NEST OF VIPERS Ep # 3 (A)
1 INT/EXT VARIOUS LOCATIONS. PHNOM PENH. DAY/NIGHT
Montage, with music over.
Home movie footage. A little wobbly. Shot from a low angle. A child’s point of view. Amateurishly filmed street life images flow - as might be seen through the eyes of a child who has never been in Phnom Penh or used a camera before: First impressions:
- A BEGGAR WOMAN, sits on a sidewalk, hand outstretched. The shot, seen through the legs of passers by, is wobbly, ‘out of focus’; badly framed. Beside the BEGGAR WOMAN, a 10 YEAR OLD GIRL, a BABY asleep in her lap, looks at the camera.
- An ‘almost-in-focus’ wobbly and tilted shot of the magnificent Royal Palace in downtown Phnom Penh.
- A crowded market. Live fish squirm in a large plastic tray.
- A YOUNG GIRL leads a BLIND MUSICIAN by a rope as he plays a one stringed instrument.
The images are mostly of poor, beggar and disabled people, but there are some of TOURISTS sitting in swish roadside restaurants drinking coloured cocktails and eating from plates piled high with food.
The ‘child’ filming discovers the zoom function; plays with it - zooming in and out.
- A shot tightens on an EXTREMELY FAT CAUCASIAN MAN, eating alone, trying to wrap his mouth around a huge hamburger. The shot wobbles a little as the child’s giggling is heard.
It is night now. A hot night. Sweat, sleaze and sex inform the images.
- A club and bar district in Phnom Penh. The streets are crowded. Flashing neon signs- “Pussy Galore”, “69” “Dream Girls” etc - adorn most establishments. It is a hot night.
Scantily clad young Khmer women wearing impossibly high heels and too much make-up strut their stuff in the street; try to attract the attention of predatory men - most of them on the wrong side of 50.
- A YOUNG WOMAN in a micro-miniskirt and boob tube looks directly into the lens, smiles to the camera-child; flashes a double V sign with her hands. A MIDDLE-AGED MAN turns away from the camera. He does not want to be filmed.
The camera tilts down to two scrawny street dogs scrounging the gutter looking for food.
From the child’s perspective A TEENAGE KHMER WOMAN in red high heeled shoes walks by, holding the hand of a balding POT-BELLIED MAN - old enough to be her grand-father. He is drunk. She is flirtatious; snuggling up to him.
2 INT. LIVING ROOM. NICK’S APARTMENT. NIGHT
NICK, wearing a sarong only, his face sporting a weeks growth of beard, sits in front of his laptop computer. On the screen there is a digital replica of the Nest of Vipers collage on the wall in front of him. The computer version is more detailed, with more connecting coloured lines. Close on:
An icon containing a small photo of Terry Swinton. The cursor arrow moves to the icon. A double click is heard. The icon opens to reveal a folder filled with photos, newspaper articles, a letter requesting documents under Freedom of Information legislation. The headline of one of the newspaper clippings, above a photo of Terry Swinton, reads:
CORRUPT COP JAILED FOR DRUG STING
NICK shifts documents around, writes notes, drops Angela’s photo of Lindsay Henderson’s severed head into the folder.
3 INT. STUDY. PALATIAL HOME. NIGHT
ANGELA, in a sarong, is sitting at a large desk, in front of her computer, editing her recent photos.
In the background, through a door, a figure can be seen asleep in a double bed.
Moving fast she moves photos into ‘Yes’, ‘No’ and ‘Maybe’ folders. Some that she lingers on are familiar to us:
Nick hands a $20 bills to a child leading a blind beggar by a rope.
Vichet holds his hand up, like a gun, close to Nick’s head.
The Khmer Man, in the morgue, in tears, wrapped in Nick’s arms.
4 EXT. PHNOM PENH CLUB DISTRICT. NIGHT
The TEENAGE KHMER WOMAN and POT BELLIED MAN turn from the main road, down a dimly lit and rubbish filled alley-way.
The camera-child watches them for a moment, then swings the camera away from the alley-way to reveal a wider shot of the crowded street, then back again to the alley-way.
The TEENAGE KHMER WOMAN and POT-BELLIED MAN, further down the alley, walk into the back entrance of a building.
The camera-child follows them down the alley-way towards the back entrance. The sound of a woman’s scream pierces the night; shocks the child. The shot wobbles. A dark figure emerges from the back entrance, running away from the camera. The camera-child ducks down behind a pile of rubbish; films the pavement for a moment before recovering. The TEENAGE KHMER WOMAN, distressed, runs by; bare-footed. She does not notice the camera-child. The POT-BELLIED MAN is close behind her; moving as fast as his bulk will allow; fear in his eyes.
The camera-child moves to the back entrance, up steps; into:
5 INT. CORRIDOR. BROTHEL. NIGHT
A corridor dimly lit with red lights. Through an open door to a small room s/he sees a double bed with a full length mirror alongside it. A little further along s/he sees a pair of red high-heeled shoes on the floor of the corridor.
Through a partially open door a dog can be seen lapping at a dark puddle of liquid on the floor. The camera-child holds on the dog for a moment before beginning to tilt up. The sound of the camera child’s scream is heard.
6 INT. LIVING ROOM. NICK’S APARTMENT. NIGHT
On his computer NICK draws black lines from the photo of Lindsay Henderson to others in the collage. His yellow smart phone rings. He looks at the screen:
He looks at his watch:
NICK picks up his phone.
He listens for a moment; raises his eyebrows in surprise.
7 INT. STUDY. PALATIAL HOME. NIGHT
ANGELA edits her photos. The thin sound of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony is heard. She picks up her mobile, looks at ‘caller’, smiles.
8 EXT. NICK’S APARTMENT. NIGHT
NICK, moving fast, walks from his apartment to his 4 WD parked in the street, gets into it.
9 INT. BEDROOM. NIGHT
ANGELA, dressed now, props a note on the table beside the bed in which a MAN, his face turned away, sleeps.
The note has been signed with a ‘heart’ and xox.
ANGELA (voice off)
This better be good! (A BEAT) ‘Riliable sauce’?
10 EXT. CITY STREETS. PHNOM PENH. NIGHT
ANGELA, on the back of a fast-moving moto dop, has her mobile phone to her ear. The streets are close-to-deserted.
Meas. Pull over.
Look behind you.
She looks behind her. NICK’s 4 WD, 50 or so meters back, is moving up fast behind her.
Are you stalking me?
11 INT. NICK’S 4WD. NIGHT
ANGELA settles into the passenger seat, closes the door, looks at NICK as he drives off.
You growing a beard? Or just forgot to shave?
Does it suit me?
If being a derelict down on his luck is the look you are going for?
So what’s this all about?
A body. That’s all Meas said, but one that he said I might be interested in.
(He looks at her; grins) Other than yours, that is!
Didn’t say. ‘Murdered’, is all...
You going to make a habit of this? Only calling me when someone’s been murdered.
Well...if I called you just to ask you to...meet me for a drink or something, you’d think I was just trying to get into your knickers, right? Whereas...if I invite you to a murder scene...
You are, aren’t you? Trying to get into my knickers?
Yes, but this way we can keep the relationship strictly professional.
Cretin. (A BEAT) Its OK to make a murder...body-free call...if you want.
The jealous boyfriend won’t mind? (A BEAT) Won’t know?
You doing research for your novel?
‘Curious’ is one of the more polite words I could use to describe you?
You don’t need to be polite.
ANGELA laughs out loud; shakes her head.
You don’t want to know.
Is he bigger than me?
I’ve never seen you without your knickers on so how would I know?
You’re a wicked woman, Miss Angela Partridge.
But not wicked enough for your liking!
He looks at her - his eyes flitting between her lips and the road ahead. He moves his head closer to hers. ANGELA smiles - nervous and excited at the one time.
12 EXT. CITY STREET. NIGHT
NICK slows his yellow 4WD to a stop at the side of the deserted city street; turns off the ignition. He and ANGELA can be seen, in the front seats, looking at each other.
13 INT. NICK’S 4WD. NIGHT
They look at other for a long moment before NICK leans forward; kisses her. ANGELA shakes her head; smiles. They kiss.
We shouldn’t do this.
He kisses her again. ANGELA laughs; reciprocates. They kiss deeply; passionately. The kiss finishes.
Does he have a name, this jealous boyfriend?
I’m pleading the 5th on that one.
She ‘zips’ her lips with a finger. NICK reaches out; runs a finger across her lips.
These lips are definitely not sealed. As for the other pair, hidden where the sun don’t...
Don’t even go there, buddy! Drive.
Clearly you don’t want me to.
NICK starts his 4 WD.
I didn’t say I didn’t want you to go there, I said you can’t go there. Not now.
NICK drives off - heading towards a brightly bar/club district up ahead.
So, I can live in hope?
We have to, don’t we? Live in hope. Without hope...
A cloud passes over her face. NICK watches her for a moment as she thinks; worries about something.
‘Love is fucking complicated eh?’
ANGELA smiles, points to the road ahead.
NICK starts the 4WD moves off.
A LITTLE LATER
As they drive, NICK and ANGELA’S attention being caught by what they see 50 or so meters up the road:
A crowd of late night workers has gathered around the entrance to the alleyway; held back by UNIFORMED POLICE.
14 EXT. PHNOM PENH CLUB DISTRICT. NIGHT
NICK and ANGELA make their way towards the entrance to the alley. A throng of curious onlookers lingers there: BAR GIRLS, STREET VENDORS, DRUNKEN CAUCASIAN MEN and others. They are held back by UNIFORMED POLICEMEN.
ANGELA lifts her camera; takes shots of the crowd as she walks backwards; pointing and shooting fairly randomly - without looking in the viewfinder. Guerilla photography.
BALIN MEAS, talking on his mobile, waits for them at the back entrance to the brothel. He gestures to NICK and ANGELA to follow him.
15 INT. CORRIDOR. BROTHEL. NIGHT
NICK, ANGELA and BALIN MEAS make their way down a corridor dimly lit with red lights. Through an open door to a small room can be seen a double bed with a full length mirror alongside it.
ANGELA takes rapid-fire ‘guerilla’ photos as they walk. One of which (’click’) is of:
A pair of red high-heeled shoes on the floor of the corridor.
Seen through a partially open door a dog laps at a dark puddle of liquid on the floor.
BALIN MEAS kicks to dog. It yelps, skulks out of the room.
16 INT. ROOM IN BROTHEL. NIGHT
Close on NICK and ANGELA as they take in the scene. ANGELA is in shock, fears she may vomit; hesitates a moment before raising her camera.
Two bare bleeding male legs appear, each one strapped to the bottom half of a wooden X; above the dark puddle of blood.
Tilt up to reveal the naked torso of a man. Where his genitals should be there is only a bloody gaping red wound.
The man’s arms, outstretched, are tied, with black leather S & M straps to the upper half of the wooden X. Strapped across his face is a mouth gag.
The man, his eyes bulging in terror as he registers his impending death, is recognizably Bazza - the pot-bellied man Francoise had a run in with in the street recently.
NICK and ANGELA both recognize him immediately.
NICK shakes his head: “Don’t say anything.”
BALIN MEAS is preoccupied and seems not to have noticed this interchange.
17 INT. LIVING ROOM. NICK’S APARTMENT. NIGHT
KATIE and TODD sit on either side of the video camera.
Because...well, I had photos of Francoise kicking Bazza in the... balls and Nick wanted to talk to her first before...
Francoise was....is...working here but only has a tourist visa...
Not because she might become a suspect?
If Nick thought she was a suspect he wouldn’t have tried to protect her.
TODD and KATIE exchange looks. TODD looks at his note book.
So, after you left the...murder scene...?
I went home. Alone. To sleep. I didn’t get much sleep, though. My brain was...powering on all cylinders. In hyper-drive. I had a hunch about the ‘gaffer murders’ I wanted to run it by Nick.
Mmmmm...plead the fifth on that one.
18 INT. NICK’S LIVING ROOM. DAY
NICK, wearing a sarong, looking as though he has just woken up (which he has),opens the front door. ANGELA is standing there.
Sorry, I couldn’t sleep and...I woke you?
In a mock chivalrous gesture, NICK invites her in.
A LITTLE LATER
ANGELA and NICK sit at his computer. Onscreen there are four photos of male murder victims with gaffer tape across their mouths - including Lindsay and Bazza.
What if all four of these guys were pedophiles?
Highly likely, Sherlock!
Don’t make fun of me.
He kisses her on the cheek.
And someone has set themselves up as judge, jury and executioner...
Will you let me finish!?
It’s possible, right?
It’s not impossible.
Don’t patronize me, Nick.
Sorry. The problem is that there is no evidence that these two guys...
He points to the other two murdered men with gaffer tape over their mouths.
But the fact that there is no evidence doesn’t make me wrong, right? It just means that you...we...need more evidence.
You need a partner.
To cuddle or to solve murders with?
She hits him playfully. They kiss. Passionately. ANGELA reaches down, undoes NICK’S sarong. It slides to the floor.
19 INT. NICK’S BEDROOM. NIGHT
NICK, naked, slides ANGELA’S shirt off; starts to undo her shorts. The sound of Nick’s mobile phone intrudes. It catches his attention; vibrating on the table beside his bed.
Don’t you dare answer that.
NICK smiles, nods; removes ANGELA’S shorts as his mobile rings out. It starts to ring again almost immediately. ANGELA picks up the yellow mobile phone.
Nick said to tell you he’s not here.
NICK laughs, grabs the phone from ANGELA.
He’s here! My secretary is...Nanda! (A BEAT) Great.
NICK smiles, gestures “Sorry” to ANGELA, leans forward, kisses her; phone at his ear.
ANGELA shakes her head. NICK gestures: “I’ll just be a moment.”
NICK walks into:
20 INT. LIVING ROOM. NICK’S APARTMENT. NIGHT
NICK strides, naked, to his cluttered desk’ listening, nodding as he looks in amongst the chaos of papers for:
An envelope. He turns it over. There is a phone number written on it.
ANGELA appears in the bedroom doorway, wrapping a sarong around herself. She watches NICK, nodding as he listens to Nanda on the phone. He does not see her.
OK, see you soon.
NICK hangs up, starts to punch into his yellow mobile the numbers from the back of the envelope; makes another phone call. He sees ANGELA watching him; indicates that he’ll just be a moment. ANGELA turns, walks back into the bedroom.
21 INT. BEDROOM. NICK’S APARTMENT. NIGHT
ANGELA sits on the bed; worried. NICK can be heard wrapping up his conversation. He walks into the room, sits alongside ANGELA, pecks her on the cheek; boyishly excited.
You and Nanda are going to rescue Munny, right?
Try. That’s the good news. (A BEAT) It’ll be OK. Promise. (A BEAT) The bad news is that I have to be in Trat...first thing in the morning. (A BEAT) Have to leave...pretty much now.
NICK stands, starts to get dressed.
Who was that you were talking to, just now?
The second phone call.
Second? (A BEAT) Oh, an interpreter.
Which one? Kim? (A BEAT) Chea?
A guy who speaks Khmer and Thai.
Does he have a name?
ANGELA doesn’t believe him. NICK can’t hold her gaze, turns away; continues to dress.
22 EXT. NICK’S APARTMENT. NIGHT
NICK, standing by the open door of Angela’s 4 WD. ANGELA sits in the driver’s seat. She is not happy. NICK finds it difficult to meet her gaze.
Why did you lie to me about the interpreter?
I’m sorry, but...there are some things its best you don’t know. (A BEAT) About my work, that is.
And about you?
An open book.
He leans forward, kisses her. ANGELA looks worried.
23 INT. LIVING ROOM. NICK’S APARTMENT. DAY
ANGELA sits in front of the video camera on a tripod; alongside which are KATIE and TODD.
More open than any other man I’ve known, but...he had his secrets.
Did that bother you?
No. Not too much. (SMILES)I had my secrets too. (A BEAT) Have!
ANGELA registers that KATIE is keen to ask “What secrets?”
Don’t even try! We’re all entitled to our secrets. Don’t you think?
ANGELA looks enquiringly from KATIE to TODD and back to KATIE. This is not a question either of them wants to answer!
ANGELA smiles, waves her question away; takes a sip of wine.
You didn’t go with him?
You know I didn’t!
Just teasing! .No, I had my own work...and...we never wanted to live in each others pockets. Absence makes the heart grow fonder etc...
But he told you about his trip...?
In forensic detail. With...
24 INT. NICK’S BEDROOM. NIGHT
ANGELA, in a sarong, glass of wine in hand, leans up against the wall at the end of the bed as NICK finishes laying photos, maps, USB sticks and other documents out on the bed.
...photos, maps, video...
NICK inserts a purple USB into his laptop computer. A grainy image appears onscreen:
Taken from some distance, Munny and another man carry a crate of fish from a boat in the fishing port of Trat, in Thailand.
NICK, in a playful mood, hams it up for ANGELA.
Once upon a time, in a province far away, on a moonlit night...
25 EXT. RICE PADDIES. NIGHT
Nick’s yellow 4WD drives along a pot-holed road.
...our intrepid reporter sets off...
Rice paddies gleam silver in the moonlight.
...on a dangerous mission...
NICK’S voice and ANGELA’S laughter fade, to be replaced by a chorus of crickets, frogs and other insects.
26 INT. NICK’S 4WD. NIGHT
CHAKRA, a Khmer man in his mid 40s, drives; NICK sits in the passenger seat flicking 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.
My wife’s brother, Phirun, was a slave. He was offered him a job in Thailand working on a pineapple plantation but when he arrived he found out that the captain of a fishing boat had paid the agency $350 for him. Phirun would have to pay the money back before the captain would let him go.
We haven’t heard from him for two years, now. I think, maybe, he is dead, but my wife...she keeps hope alive.
Yes, hope must be kept alive. (A BEAT) And your wife? She is well?
Yes. (A BEAT) Sivourn and I have separated.
I am not so sorry.
You are incorrigible, Chakra.
There are so many beautiful women in the world. It is unfair.
NICK smiles, looks out the window. Munny’s voice is heard off. He speaks in Khmer.
The rain came. Too much rain.
27 INT. NICK’S BEDROOM. NIGHT
ANGELA leans against NICK, her back to his chest. They look at the computer screen. Munny talks to camera in close up:
The rice died. We had no food.
Munny’s Khmer is blended with Chakra’s English translation.
CHAKRA AND MUNNY
A man came to our village. Davuth.
28 EXT. RURAL VILLAGE. DAY
An impoverished rural village. CHAKRA’S translation of Munny continues over, as MUNNY’s voice trails off:
CHAKRA (voice over)
Davuth offered us a job - me and my son Vibrol, working in a factory...
A group of villagers and their children listen to DAVUTH, mid 20s, who talks fast, with enthusiasm.
CHAKRA (voice over)
...in Thailand. Two hundred dollars a month. Good money.
MUNNY, mid 30s, stands alongside his 16 year old son, VIBROL.
Vibol was 16, but strong. And healthy. He wanted to work hard, send money back to his mother.
VIBROL hugs his MOTHER. She tries to hide her distress. 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.
29 EXT. JUNGLE. NIGHT
VIBROL holds firmly onto MUNNY’S hand as they stumble through the jungle in the darkness with DAVUTH and OTHERS.
CHAKRA (voice over)
They smuggled us across the border into Thailand, through the jungle.
30 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.
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.
31 EXT. FISHING BOAT. DAY
MUNNY and VIBROL, both glistening with sweat, separate fish for the market from the ‘trash fish’.
CHAKRA (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.
Chakra’s voice continues over a montage of photos taken aboard the fishing boat with Vibrol’s mobile phone - of Munny and Vibrol at work - some of which we have seen earlier.
CHAKRA (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.
32 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/NANDA, in his saffron robes.
33 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.
NANDA stands guard at the entrance to the alley. CHAKRA stands alongside MUNNY, translating. NICK stands opposite, filming with his small video camera. MUNNY speaks in Khmer - part of the interview we have been seeing/listening to.
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. CHAKRA holds up his hand to stop MUNNY; translates for NICK.
Vibrol became sick...
NANDA rushes up.
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, CHAKRA and NANDA, run in the other direction.
The CAPTAIN and the BIG MAN give chase. As NICK, CHAKRA and MUNNY turn a corner, NANDA stops, shout to the others.
He then turns and waits. The CAPTAIN runs around the corner, gun at the ready. NANDA, expert in karate, disarms and disables him quickly. He does the same with the BIG MAN.
34 EXT. BACK STREET. DAY
NANDA runs up to NICK, MUNNY and CHAKRA, a smile on his face.
It is resolve...
NICK gestures: ‘what?’
I had some word with them.
…to be continued…