The Quran Gate (Act one of screenplay) based on Chained murders of Iran

The Quran Gate
By
Ramin Tork
Based on a short story called The Quran Gate by Ramin Tork
FADE IN:
INT. DARK HALLWAY LEADING TO A COURTYARD OF AN IRANIAN
HOUSE – DAY
Through a concave mirror hung in a hallway we see the
upside down frame of a door separating a dark hallway that
leads to a sun lit courtyard. Still upside down we see the
silhouette of middle aged FARHANG emerging in the dark
hallway. He has a small travel bag. Just outside the
hallway we see HASSAN holding a Quran wrapped in a cloth
with a raised right hand like an arch (walking under a
Quran is a custom for travellers who want a safe journey,
this is to have them blessed). FARHANG walks towards the
light of the courtyard.
OUT. COURTYARD OF AN IRANIAN HOUSE – DAY
Move in on the raised Quran.
Outside the doorframe we see HASSAN waiting with the Quran
from the courtyard perspective. As soon as FARHANG
appears, HASSAN moves the Quran above FARHANG’s head, but
FARHANG refuses to go under it.
FARHANG
Please… Respect my non-belief
as much as I respect your right
to have a belief.
JAHAN
Careful what you say. The walls
have ears. We are being watched.
Go on don’t turn HASSAN’s good
gesture down.
FARHANG
If we listened to what people
said we would both be having a
safer life… I’ll try to find a
publisher. Our lifetime on those
books is not going to be wasted.
Do I really have to go under this
book? Very well. If I must.
He goes underneath the Quran that HASSAN is holding.
FARHANG
Thank you, but you know I don’t
care much for…
He is interrupted by ROXANA who pulls up and aligns
FARHANG’s shirt collar with his jacket.
ROXANA
Call me as soon as you get there,
and go easy on the vodka you’re
not twenty.
2.
FARHANG
They’ll be watching us like
hawks.
ZIBA
Come back safely FARHANG.
JAHAN
Have fun. I wish I could go with
you. Take care.
JAHAN kisses him on his forehead. ROXANA kisses him on the
cheek. HASSAN opens the metal gate of the courtyard.
EXT. NARROW MOUNTAIN ROAD (RASHT, IRAN)- NIGHT
A coach is driving through a dangerous mountain road
SUPERIMPOSE: RASHT, IRAN – JUNE 12, 1985
INT. INSIDE THE COACH (RASHT, IRAN)- NIGHT
The coach is full of middle-aged intellectuals. They are
mostly sleep.
MOVE IN ON THE DRIVER
We are looking from DRIVER’s POV. The DRIVER looks at the
rear view mirror. He checks for the headlights of a car
that is following him. DRIVER is in his late thirties. He
then looks at a convex mirror showing the passengers. They
are mostly sleep.
MOVE DOWN THE PATH LEADING TO THE BACK OF THE COACH
SOUND of snoring
MOVE IN ON TWO MEN DEBATING
SOUND of quiet chatter
MOVE IN ON FARZANEH AND PARVIZ
FARZANEH, is a prominent writer and lecturer in her mid
fifties, she is sitting by a window seat next to her
husband PARVIZ in his mid fifties who is a distinguished
poet. FARZANEH is holding a book and her reading glasses
in one hand and flicks the reading light above her head
with the other hand, but it doesn’t work. The two start
whispering.
FARZANEH
Don’t you find it odd that the
coach took this route?
(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 3.
PARVIZ
Don’t get paranoid darling. I
need this trip to find someone
outside Iran to publish my book.
FARZANEH
I just find it strange that all
the intellectuals that despise
the regime are on this one coach
heading for the Armenian
conference but those on their
paycheck cancelled.
FARZANEH looks behind from her window sit, and observes a
car that has been following them.
FARZANEH
A car was following us all the
way from Tehran.
MOVE IN ON THE DRIVER
DRIVER checks the rear view mirror again. The car behind
flashes its headlights, it stops and its headlights go
off. DRIVER drives for a minute then stops the coach on
top of a steep mountain road.
EXT. COACH AT A DANGEROUS ANGEL – NIGHT
The coach engine is still running. The driver gets out
from his side. He takes a brick from under his seat. He
looks at the passengers and they are still mostly sleep.
INT. INSIDE THE COACH – NIGHT
FARHANG sitting next to the driver notices that they have
stopped. He gets up and looks at the driver.
FARHANG
Is there a problem with the
coach?
DRIVER
No Sir. Please get back to your
seat. I just felt a bump under
one of the wheels.
With the engine on DRIVER opens his door gets out, and
hides a brick near his foot.
FARHANG
I’ll give you a hand.
(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 4.
DRIVER
No Sir that would not be
necessary. Please get back to
your seat.
Driver jumps out. FARHANG ignores him and comes closer to
examine what the driver is doing then he notices the
brick.
FARHANG
What are you doing with that
brick?
DRIVER
All you infidels deserve to die.
FARHANG
What?
With his door open, DRIVER jumps in, takes the handbrake,
puts the coach in gear, jumps out and puts the brick on
the gas pedal.
DRIVER
All you infidels deserve to die.
Allah Akbar.
DRIVER standing on the road keeps away from the coach by a
short distance. The coach goes forward and hangs
dangerously over the edge, but a big rock stops it going
forward. The driver runs and disappears in the dark.
FARHANG jumps from his seat and pulls up the handbrake,
then he turns off the ignition.
FARHANG
Everybody get up. Come on. All of
you wake up, wake up.
Passengers have woken up and realizing their peril look
frighten.
EXT. THE COACH IS DANGEROUSLY PIVOTED – NIGHT
FARHANG
Listen to me. The driver was an
agent who tried to kill us. I
want you all to gently move to
the back of the coach. I’m going
to see if I can open the back
door. We need to keep the coach
balanced otherwise it is going to
roll forward.
The passengers are panic-stricken and move to the back.
FARHANG presses various buttons.
(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 5.
FARHANG
I can’t open it. It’s jammed. See
if you can break the back window.
Here. Take this brick.
MOVE IN ON A PARVIZ
FARHANG passes the brick to PARVIZ and he keeps hitting
the rear window, the glass cracks.
EXT. THE COACH MOVES FORWARD OVER THE EDGE – NIGHT
The big rock holding the coach falls. FARHANG jumps out of
the driver’s door before the coach tumbles down to the
valley.
INT. THE COACH FALLING – NIGHT
MOVE OUT ON PASSENGER’S PANICKED FACES SOUND OF SCREAMING
PASSENGERS lose balance and tumble with the coach down the
mountain. Through the convex mirror from which the driver
was observing the passenger we see inside the coach
rolling upside down and passengers falling with it.
EXT. THE COACH TUMBLING DOWN – NIGHT
The coach tumbling down disappears in the dark then a
flash of explosion appears. FARHANG looks down in horror.
The light of fire reflects on his face and eyes.
EXT. HEADLIGHTS OF A CAR APPROACHING – NIGHT
FARHANG signals a car, but it moves to run him over. He
runs and goes down from the side of the road and
disappears. The car stops. An agent gets out and looks
down the mountain path and sees a man disappearing in the
dark.
EXT. DAVOS, SWISS MONUTAINS – DAY
HELICOPTER CAMERA ON SWISS MOUNTAINS
Helicopter lands on top of a Hotel. YASMIN and a few men
with filming equipment land. YASMIN is wearing her
business suit.
6.
INT. SWISS DAVOS CONFERENCE ROOM – DAY
MOVE IN ON YASMIN
YASMIN is sitting and on the phone talking to her mother.
YASMIN is in her late thirties. She opens her case and
below a L.A. Times newspaper she takes out an Iranian
newspaper. It has the pictures of the coach victims and
FARHANG, FARZANEH and PARVIZ are shown as some of the
victims.
YASMIN
So, how is ROXANA coping?
ZIBA (VOICE ON PHONE)
You can just imagine. The poor
thing. She sits in the room
waiting for some news, but we
don’t know where he is. They
found all the bodies, but he
wasn’t found, so we don’t know…
SOUND of disconnection.
YASMIN
Mum. Are you there? Mum…
YASMIN rings a saved number “MUM”.
SOUND of ringing, but no answer.
INT. A 5 START HOTEL BEDROOM IN DAVOS – DAY
MOVE IN ON WINDOW
Snow-capped Swiss mountains are shown in the window.
YASMIN (ON MOBILE)
I wished I could bring home this
view of the mountains. The Hotel
was excellent, but even here I
had to explain that there is no
meat in a vegan meal… So, did
you find time to miss me?
YASMIN is on her mobile talking to her fiancé PETER. She
sips some coffee from a china cup and looks through the
window. She shuts a neatly packed aluminium case, puts it
next to her and pulls the handle. She also has a black
laptop case.
PETER (VOICE ON PHONE)
Of course I miss you.
(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 7.
YASMIN
Have you started packing?
Smiles and plays with the curl of her hair.
INT. L.A. YASMIN AND PETER APARTMENT IN KITCHEN – DAY
PETER
Yeh. How did the interview go?
PETER is wearing a Yale Jumper and jeans and leaning on
one leg against the table and holding the phone in one
hand.
He has a mug of coffee and car keys on the table.
YASMIN (VOICE ON PHONE)
Very formal. I have my article.
INT. A 5 START HOTEL BEDROOM IN DAVOS – DAY
PETER (VOICE ON PHONE)
Ah… you have a message from JIM
saying you should attend the
paper’s venue this weekend. Then
you had five messages from
ROXANA. She didn’t say anything.
Just kept saying call me.
YASMIN
I tried calling ROXANA three
times. I spoke to Mum, but
haven’t managed to call her
again. I was disconnected.
PETER(VOICE ON PHONE)
You go and catch your flight.
I’ll try calling them.
YASMIN rings a saved number “MUM”.
SOUND of ringing, but no answer.
INT. L.A. TIMES VENUE – NIGHT
SOUND of party music
YASMIN is walking down the stairs in a beautiful red
strapless cocktail dress.
JIM the editor approaches her.
(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 8.
JIM
You look stunning.
YASMIN
Thanks JIM.
JIM
I knew you would not let me down
and manage to make it on time.
How was your flight? Are you jet
lagged?
YASMIN
No, I’m fine.
JIM
Come then, lets meet our new
bosses.
INT. VIP SPACE IN THE L.A. TIMES VENUE – NIGHT
SOUND of chatting of crowd
YASMIN and JIM chatting with three other people, they are
standing and drinking champagne. The three people are the
paper’s new owners. SHAREHOLDER1 is a man in his sixties.
The other two are a young men and woman.
SHAREHOLDER1
I liked your article on Somalian
pirates. So the pirates wouldn’t
take you as a hostage?
YASMIN
Who said they didn’t? I thought I
had established good local
contacts and it took seven days
to track down a pirate who would
speak to me. Then things turned
nasty. My contact was working
with them. They took me as a
hostage. There was always that
risk of course. They kept me in a
warehouse in town. It was just
luck that they left a boy to
guard me, and then the gang got
caught. When the boy found out he
let me go and escaped.
YASMIN’s mobile rings. ROXANA’s name appears on her
mobile, she still has her drink.
YASMIN
Excuse me. I have to take this
call.
YASMIN moves to a quiet standing-table.
(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 9.
The SOUND of party drowns the conversation.
YASMIN
Dead… (shouts)
MOVE IN ON YASMIN’S HAND AND GLASS
INT. OUTSIDE VIPS SPACE IN THE L.A. TIMES VENUE – NIGHT
SOUND of crowd
YASMIN almost drops her glass, her face is flushed with a
sudden shock of the news that her parents were
murdered several days ago, and she looks as if she is
about to faint but manages to rest the glass on a table.
She turns with a slightly tearful look and looks at JIM.
JIM accidentally catches her glimpse from the distance. We
see JIM excusing himself from the company and coming over
to YASMIN. He whispers something in her ear, she whispers
back.
MOVING OUT FROM THE NEAR VIPS AREA JIM AND YASMIN
YASMIN leaving JIM gently puts his hand on YASMIN’s
shoulder then he accompanies her out of the venue.
INT. NEAR LARGE EXIT DOORS – NIGHT
CAMERA FROM INSIDE ON JIM AND YASMIN VISIBLE ON OUTSIDE
JIM hails a Taxi and opens the Taxi door for YASMIN.
INT. INSIDE THE TAXI – NIGHT
JASMIN looks outside and rests her head against a side.
INT. L.A. YASMIN AND PETER APARTMENT IN BEDROOM – NIGHT
NO SOUND.
PETER
This is crazy. They’ll kill you.
I really can’t take all the crazy
risks you take with your life. It
isn’t just risking your life. You
are so reckless. Just like with
those pirates.
PETER standing. YASMIN is taking things in a hurry from
the walk-in closet and packing them frantically in an
untidy manner. She throws a black headscarf on top, tries
to shut the aluminium case, fails, uses force and manages
to shut it.
(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 10.
YASMIN
I don’t want to go, but if it was
your parents…
PETER
Then I’ll go with you.
YASMIN
You have to be here. And keep
this.
She goes to a bookshelf and in a box takes out a
flashcard.
YASMIN
Uncle FARHANG sent me this
flashcard. It has part of the key
to where JAHAN and FARHANG saved
their unpublished books. Don’t
you see? FARHANG went to the
conference to find a publisher. I
can’t let thirty years of
research and writing go to waste.
I’m hoping I would find the
second key to access this data in
the Shiraz house. That is why I
have to go. It is all online but
I have no access to it. I
promised I would do this if
something happened to them.
PETER opens the aluminium case and tidies the contents,
and gently closes it without needing force. Hugs her and
looks in YASMIN’s eyes and acts as if he knows that she
has already made up her mind.
PETER
But please keep calling me.
YASMIN
OK I will. You know I love you.
If I get caught contact JIM.
She hugs and kisses him.
INT. LAX. AIRPORT. PUBLIC LOUNGE – DAY
SOUND OF PASSENGERS AND AIRPORT ANNOUNCEMENTS
Crowd move and reveal YASMIN and PETER sitting near the
announcement board. YASMIN is wearing a black veil and a
long grey manteau and loose trousers. She has no makeup.
11.
INT. DAY LAX. AIRPORT. DEPARTURE LOUNGE
PETER
You kinda look sexy in this.
YASMIN smiles. PETER smiles back.
SOUND of announcement for boarding.
YASMIN
I better go.
They kiss.
WE SEE PETER POV
YASMIN is moving down the queue of passengers and shows
her boarding pass to an attendant then turns around and
with a sad smile looks back. PETER waves until she goes
out of view.
MOVE IN ON PETER
PETER limply drops his hand.
INT. ON THE PLANE – DAY
On the airplane, YASMIN is resting her head against the
window and closes her eyes.
BLACK SCREEN
(DREAM SEQUENCE1)
SOUND of ZIBA pleading as heard through the phone
We now see ZIBA pleading with an UNSEEN MAN.
INT. FAMILY HOME NEAR THE STAIRS – DAY
UNSEEN MAN’S POV
UNSEEN MAN is moving upstairs
ZIBA is half way the stairs, and Talking to UNSEEN MAN.
ZIBA
No… No…. I’m not going to let
you go upstairs… How can you do
this?
SOUND of ZIBA shouting turning to a loud scream.
ZIBA is in pain as she is stabbed and falls from several
steps.
12.
INT. FAMILY HOME UPSTAIRS – DAY
JAHAN
ZIBA…ZIBA… What have you done
to my wife?
SOUND of knife and stab wounds
UNSEEN MAN’S POV
UNSEEN MAN rushes upstairs and pushes JAHAN back to the
study. JAHAN’s throat is slashed and blood splatters
across the books
SOUND of body collapsing to the floor
(END OF DREAM SEQUENCE1)
INT. ON A LUFTHANSA PLANE – DAY
MOVE IN ON JASMIN
JASMIN is sleep in a seat by the window. We see her
sitting next to a GERMAN WOMAN. She wakes up frightened.
JASMIN
Haa…
The GERMAN WOMAN looks back at her.
GERMAN WOMAN
Is your health gut?
JASMIN
Yes, Thank you.
GERMAN WOMAN
Do you have a family in
Frankfurt?
JASMIN
No, I have a connecting flight to
Tehran.
INT. ON AN IRAN AIR PLANE – DAY
WHITE LETTERS “TEHRAN. IRAN.”
YASMIN is now sitting next to an Iranian passenger. The
plane lands in Tehran and she see signs in Persian, and
massive posters of Ayatollah Khomeini and Khamenei.
13.
INT. TEHRAN KHOMEINI AIRPORT ARRIVALS LOUNGE – DAY
MOVE IN ON ROXANA
ROXANA in a black veil that fully covers her. She looks
anxiously at the passengers arriving. She sneaks a single
eye from the side of the veil revealing a face that looks
very frail. YASMIN appears. She comes closer, looks around
to see if she is being watched. They look at each other,
embrace and look with joy that turns to grief, and they
cry.
ROXANA
Hello. Look at you. You really
are here.
YASMIN
I missed you so much auntie.
Hugs and kisses her again, then looks around.
YASMIN
Are we being watched? We should
leave here quickly.
ROXANA puts a spare veil on YASMIN
ROXANA
Here put this on. it’s a good
camouflage.
Carrying luggage, they walk towards the exit and as they
get close to TWO MALE GUARDS they cover their faces with
the veil.
INT. BACK SEAT OF A CAR DRIVING AWAY FROM AIRPORT – DAY
ROXANA
We’ll get through this… I must
tell you everything, but not
here.
They sit in a large private car with a female
driver. ROXANA holds YASMIN’s hands. ROXANA bites her lip
and goes silent for a moment as if hesitant to relive what
she has been through.
YASMIN
The driver?
ROXANA
She is my cousin. She borrowed
her husband’s taxi.
(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 14.
YASMIN
Hello.
ROXANA
JALEH, this is YASMIN.
JALEH
I’ve heard a lot about you. I’m
very sorry for your loss.
YASMIN
Nice to meet you, and thank you.
ROXANA
I tried to call you many times.
The car moves and they both look at the streets of Tehran.
YASMIN
I know.
ROXANA
When FARHANG went missing, they
wrecked the office of the
newspaper in Tehran. Then a
friend saw him in Tehran. We
searched the neighbourhood, every
hospital, and every morgue in the
city and even outside Tehran. We
even paid bribes to get tips from
contacts inside the regime and
check if he was taken in by
VEVAK.
YASMIN
And my parents?
ROXANA
JAHAN was given a tip that VEVAK
was going to come after him next.
He sent ZIBA to Shiraz ahead of
himself. I guess he was hoping
that in Tehran he would hear of
FARHANG. When there was no news
he left the newspaper in care of
his deputy, and left for Shiraz.
I stayed in Tehran in hiding
until I heard the news of their
murders. Then I caught a flight
to Shiraz. Their bodies were in
the morgue. JAHAN had been
stabbed twelve times. He was
found upstairs. He was almost
decapitated. I’m sorry…
(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 15.
YASMIN
It’s OK, go on.
ROXANA
ZIBA was found below the stairs.
She had a defensive cut on her
palm. She must have tried to stop
the killers from going upstairs
to kill JAHAN. They had stabbed
her, cut off her breasts, her ear
and pushed her down the stairs.
YASMIN
Who found them?
ROXANA
Their neighbour, Doctor POUYA
discovered the bodies. When no
one answered the phone or the
bell his son climbed the garden
wall and opened the door. Poor
POUYA was still in shock when he
called me.
YASMIN gets emotional and ROXANA calms her down. ROXANA
presses her handkerchief and continues.
YASMIN
I’m OK. And Mum?
ROXANA
The cut in ZIBA’s chest was deep
and was the fatal wound that
killed her. The killings were not
spontaneous.
YASMIN
What do you mean?
ROXANA
JAHAN’s shoelaces and his watch
were missing. A standard
procedure for preparing a man to
be taken to prison. The house had
been turned upside down.
YASMIN
Was it a forced entry to the
house?
ROXANA
There was no damage to the front
door. The killers were let in or
had access. They must have sat
there waiting for their orders to
kill them or take them in. ALI
the gardener and HASSAN his son
(MORE)
(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 16.
ROXANA (cont’d)
were also missing, but POUYA had
seen HASSAN and a fat man two
hours before he came to the
house.
YASMIN
Did you manage to contact HASSAN?
ROXANA
No, I couldn’t find him. Listen I
can’t take seeing you come to
harm… for my sake leave the
country fast. You shouldn’t have
come. I blame myself if…
ROXANA doesn’t finish her sentence. They reach home and
the car stops.
EXT. OUTSIDE ROXANA’S HOUSE – DAY
ROXANA takes two sets of keys from her handbag as they
enter ROXANA’s house.
INT. ROXANA’S GUEST ROOM – DAY
YASMIN
I want to see the Shiraz house.
Can I have the keys please.
ROXANA
Here it is your house now, but
I’m begging you don’t go there.
Go back to L.A. I’ll make sure
JAHAN and ZIBA get a decent
funeral.
YASMIN
I’m sorry but I came here to get
evidence.
EXT. OUTSIDE ROXANA’S HOUSE – DAY
YASMIN with a light bag is leaving the apartment in early
morning, and getting into the same car with the same
driver.
YASMIN
You don’t know how much I
appreciate this.
JALEH
It’s the least I could do.
17.
EXT. SHIRAZ AIRPORT – DAY
YASMIN gets into a Taxi
YASMIN
Chamran Grand Hotel please.
YASMIN views the streets. She looks behind to see if she
is being followed.
YASMIN
Actually, I changed my mind. Take
me to Bahar street.
EXT. OUTSIDE HER CHILDHOOD HOUSE – DAY
YASMIN walks slow and hesitant. She looks around. Couple
of kids are playing down one of the roads.
MOVE IN ON YASMIN’S NERVOUS FACE
MOVE IN ON THE KEY TURNING INSIDE THE METAL GATE
INT. VIEW FROM A NEIGHBOUR’S WINDOW – DAY
DARK.
No SOUND.
YASMIN walks in the courtyard. Wind brushes dead leaves.
She opens the wooden door. Inside she reacts to a stale
smell of blood, dust and rotten vegetables. The floor is
filled with books and newspapers and the furniture is
turned upside down. JAHAN’s walking stick is by the door
next to his winter boots. ZIBA’s shirt is on the ironing
board. She lifts the sticky black nylon sheet on the
floor. The Persian carpet had been soaked with blood. The
dried blood outlines the fragile frame of ZIBA. She
removes her mobile from the bag and starts to take photos.
She searches through ZIBA’s sandalwood box with small
photos and a rosary bead but all the valuables except for
a single diamond stud earring are missing. She goes
upstairs. JAHAN’s study is ransacked. There is a second
black sheet on the floor. She takes more photos and
presses a button and sends the photos. She is overwhelmed
by the smell and the traumatic experience of this visit so
she goes downstairs to the kitchen, opens the tap for cold
water looks at it for a few seconds fills a glass and
drinks it. Sweat is coming down from her forehead. She
wipes it with her black headscarf.
SOUND of a door inside the house being opened.
She turns around and is hit by a blunt object.
BLACK SCREEN.
18.
EXT. BLURRY IMAGES OF COURTYARD – DAY
YASMIN is semi-conscious. She is being carried by two
balaclava-masked men and dropped in the back of a van. One
of the men puts a bag over her head.
INT. INSIDE THE VAN DARK – DAY
SOUND OF the men, car and driving fast though streets
YASMIN
Where are you taking me?
YASMIN POV. (VIEW IS BLOCKED BY THE TEXTURE OF THE BAG,
BUT THE BAG HAS A SMALL HOLE FROM WHICH SHE CAN SEE THE
MEN)
FATMAN
Shut up, whore, or I’ll send you
to hell like your parents
SOUND of children playing
SOUND of being moved about and being brought inside a
house
INT. INSIDE THE HOUSE – DAY
FATMAN
welcome to your new home. You’ll
enjoy our hospitality.
The bag over YASMIN’s head is removed. She is in an
ordinary house with TV, sofa and carpet.
INT. INSIDE THE CORRIDOR – DAY
The two men drag her downstairs through a concrete stair
leading to a lower floor. There are cells here, each
with solid metal doors and pinholes.
INT. INSIDE THE CELL – DAY
YASMIN is thrown into a room. She falls on a dirty
mattress. Her hand becomes stained with a cake of blood
dried on the surface.
YASMIN
I demand my rights. You can’t
detain me like this.
The cell is grey. A bright florescent light is above her
head.
(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 19.
SOUND of slamming of metal doors
YASMIN stares at the walls. There are etchings carved by
previous prisoners on the concrete walls. Her two
abductors enter the room. They are still wearing
balaclavas. The FATMAN takes off his balaclava. The thin
man coughs. YASMIN looks at the thin man with horror as
she identifies the man from the cough sound. The thin man
is HASSAN (her childhood friend nicknamed Elvis).
FATMAN
What were you doing poking your
nose inside the house?
YASMIN
That house is my parent’s house.
FATMAN
Who have you been in contact
since you came to Iran?
YASMIN
No one.
FATMAN
Do you have any idea what we do
here with people like you? Lie
again and this is what happens.
FATMAN slaps her and cut her lip. He punches her in the
ribs then starts choking her, and throws her on the
mattress. She falls on the mattress gasping for breath.
FATMAN
Welcome to Shiraz.
FATMAN leaves the cell and slams the door.
MOVE IN ON YASMIN
YASMIN is on the mattress and in pain and hiding her eyes
from the light.
SOUND of door unlocking.
MOVE out to door opening HASSAN arrives with food that
looks like porridge with diced meat.
HASSAN
Eat.
YASMIN pushes the bowl away. HASSAN takes the spoonful of
the food, holds her and force-feeds her. YASMIN spits it
out on his face and looks at him with anger.
(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 20.
HASSAN
You better eat if you want to
live.
YASMIN
I don’t eat meat.
HASSAN
Suit yourself.
HASSAN leaves. FATMAN returns. Drags YASMIN by the collar
of her hair and takes her to an interrogation room. This
is a room with a table and two chairs on each side. He
puts YASMIN’s mobile on the table and pushes it towards
her.
FATMAN
Nice photos. It’s like a family
album without the family. Who is
PETER, your boyfriend?
FATMAN is standing. He takes off his coat and leaves it
hanging on the back of his chair.
YASMIN
They’ve been send. Soon the world
will know.
FATMAN
Do you think the world gives a
fuck? Who is going to miss one
more Iranian whore?
Checks the numbers. Stands up and leaves the room, leaving
the door half open. YASMIN gets up and checks FATMAN’s
jacket. She looks through the left pocket. Entangled
between a chain of prayer beads she finds a human ear with
an earning that matcher her mother’s diamond stud earring.
Petrified and disgusted, she puts it back. She looks in a
side pocket and finds a small gun. She hides it in her bra
and returns to her chair.
FATMAN
So. Who do you work for? CIA?
MOSAD?
FATMAN grabs YASMIN from behind her chair, and puts his
neck next to hers and licks her ear. YASMIN reaches for
inside her bra to get the gun. She screams.
YASMIN
Leave me alone.
HASSAN
Leave her, she’s mine. I’ve got
orders to take her. HASSAN is not
wearing a mask this time.
(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 21.
FATMAN
Did your uncle send you anything?
We know your uncle was gathering
information to send to foreign
papers.
HASSAN
I said leave her. I have my
orders.
FATMAN
What so soon? I was just
beginning to have fun with this
one. Shame to let a fine peach
like her go to waste without
having a bite… When did they
call?
HASSAN
Just now.
EXT. COURTYARD OF THE DETENTION HOUSE – DAY
The men take each side of YASMIN’s arms and force her in
the van. The van has dark windows. YASMIN’s head bangs
against the side as she gets dropped inside. There is a
cage separating the driver side. HASSAN is the driver.
FATMAN stays behind.
FATMAN
It’s been a real pleasure. Shame
we couldn’t play together… Say
hello to your parents in hell.
FATMAN shuts the back of the van. YASMIN blacks out.
BLACK SCREEN.
(DREAM SEQUENCE2)
INT. A CHILD’S BEDROOM – NIGHT
SOUND of whispers
MOVE IN ON THE CHILD’S BEDROOM DOOR
Five-year-old YASMIN gently opens a door. A woman veiled
in black is praying in a bowed position upside down on the
ceiling. YASMIN in her red pyjamas walks in then looks up
and as she does, around the woman a pool of blood emerges.
The woman reveals her face. It is ZIBA her mother with
frightful pleading eyes. The blood drips down from the
ceiling on YOUNG YASMIN and she screams.
MOVE IN ON THE CHILD’S BEDROOM
(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 22.
JAHAN opens the door and peeks
JAHAN
It is alright sweetheart. I’m
here.
JAHAN is wearing a tuxedo. He is forty, well groomed. His
bow tie is undone. He comes and hugs YASMIN and tucks her
back to bed and kisses her.
FIVE-YEAR-OLD YASMIN
Where were you Papa?
JAHAN
I’ve been to see kings, and
queens.
FIVE-YEAR-OLD YASMIN
What did you do there?
JAHAN
Just talk, but we all had this
delicious food, ice creams and
chocolate…
YASMIN closes her eyes and pretends to be sleep.
PAN on a cloudless dark blue sky.
No SOUND.
CAMERA LOWERING FROM BLUE SKY TO REVEAL THE QURAN GATE.
YASMIN in her bed now in a field close to a wide road
watches a version of herself standing by the QURAN gate
holding an ice cream. It is a bright sunny day.
We see the POV of YASMIN by the gate.
SOUND of super8 projector.
CHILD YASMIN watches as Police escorts on white Fatboy
Harley Davidson bikes followed by black limousines go by
the gate. Sunrays gleam off waxed bikes and vehicles. The
crowd are in seventies clothes and clapping. YASMIN with
ice cream. The filming is slowed down like a 1960’s super8
family film.
YASMIN
One blessing. Two blessing. Three
blessing.
YASMIN counts the limos that pass on the road next to the
gate and get blessed. Then she turns around and looks in
an open field.
(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 23.
ROXANA and FARHANG are wearing red and dancing. They look
so happy and in love. Buxom ROXANA is in a revealing
dress. They dance in slow motion. The couple turn and
stare towards the camera and stop as if interrupted. young
YASMIN is holding young HASSAN’s hand and skipping in and
out of the Quran gate arch. FARHANG approaches them.
MOVE IN ON FARHANG
FARHANG
Who is your friend?
YASMIN
His name is HASSAN, but I call
him Elvis. His hair is like
Elvis. Elvis is my best friend.
He is going to be my best friend
forever.
FARHANG
Be careful who you trust. Forever
is a long time. What am I saying
you’re a kid. Sure you should
trust your friend. Well let me
take a picture of you too so that
it stays forever.
YASMIN
OK, he is my friend until the
world turns upside down, YASMIN
and Elvis will be friends.
FARHANG takes a picture and we see a flashlight, and the
two posing with a smile.
PULL BACK TO YASMIN IN BED NEAR THE ROAD
The walls of her bedroom pull back and hide the outside.
MOVE IN ON THE CHILD’S BEDROOM
Door opens and JAHAN and ZIBA peeks. ZIBA who was standing
behind JAHAN comes forward. Behind them in the half open
door is the gate. The sunlight from the gate enters her
room through the door. ZIBA hugs and kisses her.
ZIBA
She is sleep. How was the
festival?
JAHAN
Very lavish. As I walked in the
marquee they served me with
quail’s eggs stuffed with golden,
Imperial Caspian caviar, and a
Chilled glasses of Château de
Saran Champaign. Then I had the
(MORE)
(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 24.
JAHAN (cont’d)
roast saddle of lamb with
truffles served with Château
Lafite Rothschild 1945… Can you
believe Shah had spent 200
million dollars on the festival?
ZIBA
Don’t be unfair, this could boost
tourism. We can’t just rely on
oil money. By the way I asked ALI
to clean the garden and the
beddings, so pay him the extra
this week.
JAHAN
Didn’t he do that last week?
ZIBA
He needs the cash. He brought the
boy. She’s been playing with
Elvis in the garden all day.
JAHAN
Elvis?
ZIBA
That’s what we call him now. I
brushed his long hair back and
put some Brylcreem so she calls
HASSAN Elvis. She was teaching
him the card tricks.
JAHAN
Where is FARHANG? Is he with us
or alive?
ZIBA
He is alive…
ZIBA kisses YASMIN’s head.
JAHAN
Do you think she knows we are
dead?
ZIBA
She knows, but let her sleep. My
baby needs her sleep.I’m just
worried about what she is going
to do. I wished she wasn’t so
reckless.
(END OF DREAM SEQUENCE2)
25.
INT. INSIDE THE VAN – DAY
MOVE in on YASMIN
YASMIN’s eyes open almost in confusion and shock. She
looks in pain. She is being driven through the streets of
Shiraz. She is on the floor for most of the trip, but gets
up and looks. In the traffic a car stops next to them. She
taps on the glass. The girl looks for a moment but the car
moves.
YASMIN
Can you at least tell me where
we’re going? HASSAN.
HASSAN
Shut up.
YASMIN
How much did they pay to get you
to kill your parents?
HASSAN
Not my parents… I said shut up.
YASMIN looks back at him with contempt. Then she looks at
the streets of Shiraz. HASSAN looks at YASMIN from the
rear mirror.
HASSAN
There is a bottle of water in the
back, and a first aid kit.
YASMIN
What is this? Water for the
condemned? You want me to quench
my thirst before you put a bullet
in my head?
HASSAN
You are as stubborn as them. You
could have all stayed out of
trouble. Would they listen to me?
No. And you. You the lady
educated in the west. Did you not
have enough sense not to come
here?
EXT. THE VAN IS DRIVING THROUGH A BOULEVARD – DAY
MOVE OUT ON VAN THROUGH THE BOULEVARD AND THE QURAN GATE
SMALL IN THE DISTANCE
26.
INT. INSIDE VAN – DAY
Near the Quran Gate The van starts to shake.
HASSAN
Damn. I can’t believe this.
HASSAN drives the van to the side of the gate. The van
rattles and steams like gases come through the vents and
van stops.
HASSAN
Damn, damn. Damn. Turns around
and looks at YASMIN. He bangs
both hands on the steering wheel.
YASMIN
Having a bad day?
HASSAN reaches to his pockets and looks for his mobile. He
can’t find it. In the dashboard there is a gun.
MOVE IN TO YASMIN BEHIND THE CAGE
MOVE IN ON YASMIN’S HAND
YASMIN observing this lies down and takes the small gun
out of her bra, hides it under her palm and stays down.
HASSAN
It is all your fault we’re here
you know.
YASMIN
You are the cold-blooded
kidnapper, and murderer. My
fault?
EXT. VAN NEAR QURAN GATE – DAY
HASSAN gets out and opens up the bonnet. More steam rises
and he shakes it away from his face with his hand. He
opens the radiator cap, goes back to the driver seat,
takes some water and pours it in.
INT. INSIDE THE VAN – DAY
HASSAN tries to start the van again, but fails.
HASSAN
I wouldn’t get so smug about
this. One way or another it looks
like your fate is sealed.
HASSAN looks at YASMIN and checks what she’s doing.
(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 27.
YASMIN
Do you remember they used to
bring us here, and we used to
watch people walking back and
forth under the gate to get their
blessings? I used to call you
Elvis then. What happened to you
HASSAN? Didn’t we all give you
enough love?
HASSAN
Yes I remember. You kissed me
when we passed under the arch. I
was your new toy.
YASMIN
So what turned you from a sweet
boy to a killer? When did you
decide you should be the enemy of
your family and this country? My
country?
HASSAN
Your country? What would you know
about this country? You lived a
life of privilege and as soon as
there was the revolution you went
off abroad. I was a boy and I was
send off to fight a war. Do you
know how many kids I saw being
blown up on Iraqi mines? Who gave
the Iraqis those bombs? You then
call Iran your country?
HASSAN looks at his watch, and then he looks outside.
YASMIN
You did your service and now you
have the right to kill people.
You are as fake as this Quran
Gate.
HASSAN
There is nothing fake about what
we believe.
YASMIN
They moved the big Qurans to a
museum many years ago. With or
without, it’s all fake. Together
with your damn dictators using
people’s faith and turning all
that is true upside down.
HASSAN
Enough talking.
(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 28.
HASSAN takes the handgun from the dashboard. He notices
something near the dashboard and pulls it with its wires
and throws it out. He searches around the dome light and
vanity mirror for any other bugs, and pulls out the dome
light and the wires.
HASSAN
Damn bugs. They don’t fix the
engine but they install bugs.
They don’t even trust…
He gets out and opens the back of the van.
YASMIN pulls the gun on him.
YASMIN
I want you listen to me
carefully. Put your hand behind
your head.
HASSAN puts his hands behind his head. YASMIN gently moves
forward and outside the van. YASMIN keeps her hand inside
the van so that the gun would not be visible from outside.
YASMIN
Now slowly move inside. I saw you
picking a handgun from the
dashboard so don’t even think
about pulling it or I’ll blow
your fucking head off. Do you
understand?
HASSAN moves his right hand as if pleading. YASMIN notices
his watch.
YASMIN
Ah. So this is where my father’s
Rolex got to. Thief.
HASSAN
YASMIN. You don’t understand.
HASSAN brings his hand forward.
YASMIN
What don’t I understand? Ha. That
you murdered my parents and you
were trying to kill me? That you
were going to drop me in some
ditch in an unmarked grave? Go on
tell me what I don’t understand.
I’ve had a very bad week but I am
all ears. Talking of ears, I
found my Mum’s ear in your fat
friend’s pocket. Try explaining
that.
YASMIN’s hands shaking.
(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 29.
HASSAN
YASMIN, listen. Your father put
me inside the agency. It was his
idea. I was too late to save
them. The agents had already
killed them. I rushed to see if I
could fake their arrests and take
them somewhere safe, but I was
too late.
YASMIN
You are wearing Papas fucking
watch. You bastard.
HASSAN
I took his watch because he was
like a father to me.
YASMIN
Yeh, he was, and look what you
did.
HASSAN reaches for the gun almost touching it.
YASMIN
That’s far enough.
HASSAN
When you came to Shiraz, I rushed
to help… couldn’t blow my cover
you see. I was going to get both
of us smuggled out of
Iran. Please put the gun down.
YASMIN
All these confessions after I
pulled a gun… I said keep your
hands far enough.
HASSAN
No, after I found the bugs.
HASSAN touches the tip of the gun. The gun accidentally
goes off. The bullet hits the side of HASSAN’s head. He
falls inside the van and a pool of blood pours from his
head. YASMIN checks him, he looks dead. She looks through
his pocket and takes his wallet. Looks inside the wallet
and takes the money. Hidden in a sleeve; there is a
picture of HASSAN and her as kids standing by Quran gate.
She drops the wallet after taking the money and takes her
the picture, and the watch. YASMIN is barefoot so she
looks around and removes his boots and wears them. She
then takes the blanket and put it on her head like a veil,
pushes HASSAN’s legs inside and closes the back door of
van.
30.
EXT. YASMIN WALKING ON HIGHWAY – DAY (SUNSET)
MOVE OUT YASMIN
YASMIN is walking uncomfortably with the boots. She covers
herself and hitches a ride from a passing coach. We see
her board a coach.
MOVE OUT ON COACH LEAVING AS SEEN THROUGH THE QURAN GATE
The coach disappears from the Quran gate into the
mountains.
BLACK SCREEN
WHITE LETTERS “LOS ANGELES”
INT. COFFEE SHOP – DAY
MOVE IN ON YASMIN
YASMIN is slowly sipping her coffee (take away cup). She
is reading printed sheets and making corrections. SARAH
walks in.
SARAH
We are almost ready. How is your
speech coming along?
YASMIN
It’s ready.
EXT. PARK WITH A SPEECH PLATFORM – DAY
MOVE in YASMIN
YASMIN is standing at the platform. There are signs of
“Down with Ahmadinejad” and pictures of victims. People
are collecting petitions.
YASMIN
I know many Iranians have lost
hope. Many of you have survived a
brutal regime and just like me
have lost loved ones, but…
YASMIN for a moment notices HASSAN wearing shades and
standing in the crowd. YASMIN hesitates and looks at a
different corner. She turns again and HASSAN is gone. She
is in shock and standing still without saying anything.
MOVE OUT ON CROWD
Faces of people showing anticipation for the next
sentence.
(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 31.
MOVE IN ON YASMIN
YASMIN still looks very agitated and looks around. SARAH
discretely approaches her and they have a conversation
that we cannot hear. YASMIN comes off the stand and with
SARAH they are looking in the crowd to see if they can
spot HASSAN. SARAH approaches a close-by uniformed officer
and has a conversation.
HASSAN POV (hiding under a tree)
YASMIN goes back on the stand to continue but without
saying anything puts her hand on the microphone closes her
eyes and comes down. We see her standing at a small
distance from the crowd with SARAH still talking. She is
almost tearful and shaking with stress but the
conversation cannot be heard.
MOVE OUT ON CROWD
Faces of people showing surprise by the interruption.
(END of ACT 1)
INT. YASMIN’S KITCHEN – NIGHT
YASMIN and ROXANA are cooking together. ROXANA gives
YASMIN two tablets and she takes it and drinks some water,
and looks stressed.
ROXANA
Why don’t you have a rest. I’ll
wrap up here.
YASMIN
No I need something to distract
me. I swear I saw HASSAN today.
He was standing in the crowd. I
then turned and he was gone.
YASMIN is chopping vegetables.
ROXANA
The mind plays tricks on us.
Isn’t it the stress of the
separation? I saw you less
stressed when we were crossing
the Pakistani boarder without
passports.
YASMIN
No, I saw HASSAN.
ROXANA is Making a source. Sips some with a spoon.
(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 32.
ROXANA
It needs more salt.
ROXANA
Maybe you should take a few days
off from the campaign.
YASMIN
I can’t take time off from what I
promised BAHRAMI.
ROXANA is now making a salad. Chopping tomatoes very
small.
ROXANA
You should had run for the
Senate. People know you a lot
better.
YASMIN
With all the madness in my life?
ROXANA
But you’ve been very brave.
FARHANG would have been proud of
the way you fought back. So would
have your parent. Did you ever
try to figure out what FARHANG
had on that flash drive?
YASMIN
I know it had the second key to
where they stored their
unpublished books online. I was
hoping I would find it in Shiraz.
I guess now all of that is lost.
ROXANA
Knowing FARHANG it would have
been something that he would have
told you.
YASMIN
We both lost our good man.
ROXANA
Ah, yours is just a lover’s
quarrel.
YASMIN
But he hasn’t called for a week.
ROXANA
At least you know your man is
alive and well, and you can go
back to him.
(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 33.
ROXANA has tears in her eyes as she chops onions and drops
them in the salad ball.
YASMIN
Hey…
YASMIN tries to comfort her and gives her a hug.
ROXANA
You know through those dark days,
when you called me from a
friend’s house in Isfahan, and I
saw you the way you were, when we
crossed the boarder with fake
passports, FARHANG was always
with me. I know he is alive
somewhere.
ROXANA seasons the salad, and serves it in two plates.
They make themselves comfortable at the kitchen table, and
start eating their salads.
SOUND of phone ringing.
ROXANA
I’ll get that.
ROXANA gets up and picks the phone.
MOVE IN ON ROXANA
ROXANA
Hello. Who is it.
NO SOUND.
ROXANA
Listen, whoever you are. I’m
going to hang up if you don’t
speak.
ROXANA hangs up the phone.
ROXANA
Damn nuisance call.
YASMIN
It’s the first time we’ve had a
nuisance call.
34.
EXT. OUTSIDE YASMIN’S APARTMENT – DAY
YASMIN comes out and locks the door. She starts walking.
Then she notices her neighbour NATASHA who is an old
Russian lady struggling with her shopping.
YASMIN
Good morning NATASHA. Let me give
you a hand.
YASMIN takes the bangs off her hand. NATASHA is slightly
breathless.
NATASHA
Good morning. Ah… Thank you.
That was good timing.
YASMIN and NATASHA reach the door, and NATASHA is
searching for the key.
NATASHA
Did the young man come to see
you?
YASMIN
What, Peter was here?
NATASHA
No, not Peter. Another young man.
He looked Iranian. Tall man, in a
black leather jacket, with a scar
on one side of his head.
YASMIN
what time was that?
NATASHA
It was in the morning, just after
you drove off.
YASMIN
OK thank you. If you see that man
again please call me, but don’t
let him in your house.
YASMIN goes towards her house. she picks her mobile and
calls ROXANA.
SOUND of ringing, followed by voice mail message greeting.
YASMIN
ROXANA. Call me as soon as you
get this message. HASSAN had been
here.
(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 35.
She goes back to the house. Goes to her bedroom. Opens a
drawer. There is a handgun and pepper spray. She reaches
for the handgun, hesitates and reaches for pepper spray
and puts it in her bag. She is about to leave and the
phone rings.
HASSAN (PHONE)
No don’t. Please don’t. It is me.
HASSAN.
YASMIN suddenly looks very anxious and sits down.
YASMIN
What do you want from me?
HASSAN
Please listen. Don’t hang up. I
just want you to know the truth.
YASMIN
Don’t you dare. Don’t you… Keep
away from me.
YASMIN hangs up. She sits down.
SOUND of phone ringing. YASMIN picks the phone.
MOVE IN ON YASMIN
YASMIN
I told you not to call here, or
I’ll call the police.
PETER
Hey, you don’t have to do that.
YASMIN
Ah. I’m sorry PETER. I thought it
was someone else.
INT. PETER’S APARTMENT – DAY
PETER
Has anyone been bothering you?
INT. YASMIN’S KITCHEN – DAY
YASMIN
Look don’t worry. I think you’ve
been bothered enough by my crazy
life.
PETER
No come on YAZ. You said you need
your space, but we are still
friends, right?
(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 36.
YASMIN
Of course we are. Look PETER its
nothing I can’t handle. HASSAN,
my abductor was here at the
house. The neighbour saw him.
PETER
Well… Are you mad? You have an
Iranian Government agent at your
door and you call that
nothing?… Call the police. I’m
coming over now. Where is ROXANA.
Is she with you?
YASMIN
No she is suppose to be working
at the bakery today, but I
couldn’t reach her.
PETER
I’ll pick her up on my way. You
call the police.
INT. POLICE STATION RECEPTION – DAY
SOUND noisy with different groups of people talking
YASMIN, PETER and ROXANA approach the desk.
POLICE RECEPTIONIST
Can I help you.
YASMIN
I called and I was told to come
and see OFFICER BRAXTON. I’m
YASMIN FARJAM.
POLICE RECEPTIONIST
Sure Ms FARJAM. If you go down
this corridor and take the first
left.
YASMIN
Thank you.
INT. POLICE STATION OFFICE- DAY
The office has rows of desks with people talking to
officers and filing cases. YASMIN approaches the described
desk.
YASMIN
OFFICER BRAXTON?
(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 37.
OFFICER BRAXTON
Yes, can I help you.
YASMIN
My name is YASMIN FARJAM. I
called you earlier. This is my
aunt, and my friend.
OFFICER BRAXTON
Ah yeh. Please make yourselves
comfortable. On the phone you
said something about an earlier
kidnapping.
YASMIN
Eight months ago my parents were
murdered in Iran and my uncle
went missing after an attempt on
his life. I went to Iran, and two
men who worked for the Iranian
regime abducted me. A few days
ago I saw one of those men in a
crowd. We had a nuisance call.
Something that we’ve never had
before. Then my neighbour peeking
through the window saw the man
whose name is HASSAN NAMAZI.
OFFICER BRAXTON
I must warn you… You can’t
prove the nuisance call and him
and coming to your door is not
illegal. If he is here with valid
documents we can just monitor
your phone. Unless he is a known
terrorist, or wanted by homeland
security, or Interpol whatever
he’s done in Iran is out of our
jurisdiction, but I’ll check his
records. Can you describe him
Mam.
YASMIN
HASSAN NAMAZI. He is forty, six
foot two, black hair, light brown
eyes, slim build.
OFFICER BRAXTON
OK, let me run a quick check. No.
Nothing, I have nothing on the
computer.
BRAXTON taps on a keyboard and goes through records of
people on the screen.
(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 38.
OFFICER BRAXTON
If he starts bothering you- you
could talk to a lawyer and file a
restraining order.
YASMIN
Is there nothing else you can do?
This man abducted me, he is
linked to the murder of my
parents.
OFFICER BRAXTON
I’ll open a case for you and link
it to Homeland security. If he is
working for the Iranian regime
they’ll want to know why he is
here. So you might get a call
from them. I’ll also run a check
on his papers. Meanwhile just
check the security of your home.
YASMIN
Thank you.
OFFICER BRAXTON
Please take my card. Like I said
if things change call me.
INT. DR. BAHRAMI CAMPAIGN OFFICE – DAY
We see YASMIN saying hello to JOHN a security man standing
at a hot dog stand just outside the office. YASMIN walks
in.
YASMIN
Hello SARAH. How are things here?
SARAH
Hi YASMIN. We have our new
leaflets, and more volunteers,
and one of them is a friend of
yours.
YASMIN looks cheerful, until she notices that HASSAN is
working in the office, but he leaves as they speak.
YASMIN
Who let that man here?
SARAH
What man?
YASMIN
That man who just left.
(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 39.
SARAH
Why, he is the one who said is
your friend. Don’t you know him?
YASMIN
He was my abductor in Iran SARAH.
He is an agent of the regime. The
man I told you about when I was
giving my speech.
SARAH
Do you want me to call the
police?
YASMIN
Actually call this number. Call
them now please SARAH.
SARAH calls the number. YASMIN notices that JOHN the
security man is still standing at a hot dog stand eating a
hot dog so she leaves the office. She approaches him.
EXT. DR. BAHRAMI CAMPAIGN OFFICE – DAY
YASMIN
Hi JOHN. Listen I need a favour.
I’ve reported that man just
getting away to LAPD. He’s been
stoking me. SARAH just called
OFFICER BRAXTON. Can you follow
him but don’t use force please.
JOHN devours his hot dog and starts following HASSAN, and
follows a man. YASMIN approaches. Then she realizes it is
not HASSAN it is someone who looks like HASSAN.
YASMIN
I’m sorry JOHN. That’s not him.
YASMIN looks confused and she looks around. Then she looks
across the wide road that has a busy flow of cars and
notices that HASSAN stands for a moment then looks at her,
and disappears from site.
YASMIN notices a coffee shop and she enters.
INT. COFFEE SHOP – DAY
YASMIN
Can I have a tall latte to drink
in and a big cup of cold water
please.
(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 40.
BARISTA
Sure. Is that to go and would
there be anything else?
YASMIN
No. That’s all. I’m drinking it
here.
BARISTA
That would be $2.35 please.
Please collect your coffee over
there.
YASMIN
Thank you.
YASMIN collects her latte and sits at a corner table.
Takes two tables and drinks it with the cup of water.
HASSAN comes to her table.
HASSAN
May I sit down?
YASMIN
Hello. Can you get some security
please. This man has been stoking
me.
YASMIN reaches for her mobile, and shouts loud.
HASSAN
Come on. don’t be like that. Just
give me five minutes and if you
don’t like what I have to say
call the police.
Coffee shop manager approaches.
MANAGER
Is this man bothering you mam?
YASMIN
Yes he is.
MANAGER
Sir, I have to ask you to leave.
HASSAN
I have news of your uncle. Look
just five minutes.
YASMIN
OK. Thank you. That’s alright.I’m
sorry.
(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 41.
MANAGER
Yes, but if…
YASMIN
Yes. I appreciate that. Thank
you.
YASMIN
OK. You have five minutes before
I dial for police so say whatever
you have to say and get lost.
HASSAN
I did not kill your parents. I
had nothing to do with your
uncle’s disappearance, and I did
not want to abduct you. In fact I
had come to save you.
YASMIN
This is what you said before I
shot you.
HASSAN
Yes. I remember that well.
YASMIN
You got me here to talk. Talk.
What do you want from me?
HASSAN
OK, you don’t trust me…
YASMIN
Stop wasting my time. My father
was clearly misguided when it
came to trusting you. My
abduction proved that you are a
two faced traitor.
HASSAN
Did it? Did I do anything to harm
you when you were abducted? I fed
you. I put myself in danger and
lied to get you out. I even
interrupted your nasty
interrogation. I was driving you
to safety, but the van broke
down.
YASMIN
So how comes you were acting like
an abductor until I pulled a gun?
HASSAN
Don’t you see? I had to. The van
was bugged. Look. The picture you
(MORE)
(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 42.
HASSAN (cont’d)
took from my wallet. The one
where we two stand by the Quran
Gate.
YASMIN
What about it?
HASSAN
There were two copies, but only
one had FARHANG’s handwriting. He
wrote what you said to him that
day. You said until the world
turns upside down, YASMIN and
Elvis will be friends.
YASMIN
And he said forever is a long
time. He was right.
HASSAN
FARHANG was captured in Tehran. I
found an excuse to visit him. He
gave me that picture and this
message so that you would know to
trust me. FARHANG is still alive.
I don’t know what else I could
say to convince you. Last time I
tried to convince you, you shot
me in the head.
YASMIN
So how did I miss?
HASSAN
My head was bleeding, but the
bullet just grazed my skin.
Someone found me in the van.
YASMIN
OK, then what is your version of
the truth?
HASSAN
I took leave from the job JAHAN
gave me in the paper and worked
with my cousin. He is a property
developer. He does things for the
regime. The job gave me more free
time to take care of my mother.
YASMIN
Spare me your life story.
HASSAN
My cousin asked me to spy on
JAHAN and make some easy money. I
(MORE)
(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 43.
HASSAN (cont’d)
told JAHAN. JAHAN said that it
would be better to have someone
on the inside.
YASMIN
What sort of things did they ask
for?
HASSAN
They wanted me to report where he
went, who he spoke to, what he
did, and JAHAN had nothing to
hide.
YASMIN
So they trusted you to give
accurate info?
HASSAN
No, of course not. For a while
they had someone watching me to
check if I was giving them false
intel. They also tested my
loyalty. I did things I’m ashamed
of just to blend in, but I did to
save JAHAN.
YASMIN
Why did you go along with it?
HASSAN
Once they point a finger at you,
you either go with them or go
against them. At least this way I
was protecting your parents.
YASMIN
And the murders. Did you have to
go along with that too?
HASSAN
They have special people for
that. I was away across town when
I was called. I had orders to
open the door for them, but I
wasn’t there. By the time I
arrived they had their team do
the murders. I was too late to
save them.
YASMIN
Why would I believe you.
HASSAN
The hardest thing for me was to
pretend I was happy seeing the
(MORE)
(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 44.
HASSAN (cont’d)
ripped bodies of the two people I
loved. I know we are not as close
as when we were kids, but I’m
still your family.
YASMIN
What is your excuse for my
abduction, and how on earth did
you get to L.A.?
HASSAN
They knew you were coming, so I
thought at least I’ll try to save
you. After I recovered I left via
Turkey. I had all the papers so
it wasn’t difficult for me. They
are hard on agents that turn
against them. I’m dead on site as
it is.
YASMIN
Look, don’t expect me to trust
you just because we’ve talked,
but tell me where you are staying
and how I can contact you.
HASSAN
I’m staying in this address. Here
I’ll write it down for you. Here
is my number. I have nothing to
hide.
HASSAN writes the address and number. YASMIN stands up to
leave and puts some money on the table.
YASMIN
I’ll think about what you said,
but until I figure things out I
don’t want you to visit any place
close to me, just stay out of my
way or I’ll call the police. Do
you understand?
HASSAN
Sure.
YASMIN
How are you for money?
HASSAN
I’m fine. I have enough cash.
YASMIN
What else can you tell me about
FARHANG.
(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 45.
HASSAN
He was roughened up, but other
than being locked up he was fine
last I saw him.
YASMIN
I have no way of trusting you,
but if you are telling the truth
and cared about them like you say
you did then I need you to give
testimony in court.
HASSAN
OK. I will do that.
YASMIN
Would you be willing to do a
polygraph test?
HASSAN
Yes. You see, I want to prove my
innocence to you, and if it takes
a test then I’ll do it.
YASMIN
You double cross me…
HASSAN
There is no need for that.
YASMIN
OK. I want you to leave now.
HASSAN
Very well, but please think about
what I said.
HASSAN leaves. YASMIN finishes her latte and leaves. She
looks around to see if she is being followed. She dials
for OFFICER BRAXTON.
YASMIN
Hello. It’s YASMIN FARJAM.
OFFICER BRAXTON
Yes. Hello. What can I do for
you?
YASMIN
The man I described approached
me. HASSAN NAMAZI. He had come as
a volunteer in the campaign
office where I’m active. I
followed him with a security
guard. Then he approached me in a
coffee shop.
(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 46.
OFFICER BRAXTON
Did he bother you in any way? I
had a call from your assistance
in the campaign office, but we
lost track of where you went.
YASMIN
Listen. I know I asked her to
call, but it’s a bit more
complicated now. Maybe I’ll
explain in person. I still want
to be cautious about him.
OFFICER BRAXTON
Sure. In fact I don’t recommend
you approach him. Whatever he has
to say.
YASMIN
Thanks.
EXT. STREET OUTSIDE COFFEE SHOP- DAY
YASMIN calls ROXANA, but the phone goes to voice mail.
VOICE MAIL
Please leave a message after the
tone.
YASMIN (ON MOBILE)
ROXANA, where are you? I want you
to come over. I spoke to HASSAN
today. I’m at the office. Listen
I’m going to ask Peter to pick
you up.
JIM
Hey you. Nice to have you back.
How are you?
YASMIN
I’m good. Thank you for covering
for me.
JIM
So what are you doing here? You
still have two weeks leave.
YASMIN
I just needed to get away from
home, and take some papers.
47.
INT. YASMIN’S APARTMENT – DAY
SOUND of door opening.
PETER and ROXANA walks inside with groceries. YASMIN is
also carrying bags of groceries.
PETER
YASMIN. You’re mad. Why did you
even let him get close to you?
YASMIN
I was in a crowded place. Besides
he said he had news of FARHANG so
I thought I would at least
listen. ROXANA did FARHANG have
this picture?
Shows her the picture of young YASMIN and HASSAN.
ROXANA
He did when he left. He always
carried it with a few other
pictures in the sleeve of his
wallet.
YASMIN
Couldn’t he have picked it from
the Shiraz house? I think we had
a copy.
YASMIN fetches the photo from a folder of pictures.
MOVE IN PHOTO IN YASMIN’S HAND
ROXANA
But look he’d written something
on the back. His handwriting.
YASMIN
It says until the world turns
upside down, YASMIN and Elvis
will be friends. I must have said
it at the time.
MOVE OUT ON THE KITCHEN
PETER is putting the grocery in the fridge. ROXANA is now
brewing tea.
PETER
I still think it would be safer
if you two come and stay in my
place.
(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 48.
YASMIN
Look. If he found my house and
places I go to. He can easily
find your place.
ROXANA
You know I really find it
difficult to believe he betrayed
us. How can we now trust him?
YASMIN
We can’t, but if he is telling
the truth then I shot an innocent
selfless man that day. He said he
would do a polygraph.
ROXANA
Can’t you cheat those test?
Especially with someone who is
trained?
YASMIN
Yes, but I have nothing else to
go by. I know someone who does
these tests. JIM used his
services to check a few of our
newspaper sources, and HASSAN had
no objection in doing the test.
ROXANA
For FARHANG’s sake, you should
give it a shot.
INT. POLYGRAPH OFFICE – DAY
YASMIN and the POLYGRAPH SPECIALIST are talking in an
adjacent room to where HASSAN is waiting.
POLYGRAPH SPECIALIST
I’m going to give him some
emotional response type questions
and try to get a base line.
YASMIN
The important thing is to figure
out if he had a part in my
parent’s murders.
POLYGRAPH SPECIALIST
OK.
49.
INT. POLYGRAPH OFFICE TEST ROOM – DAY
HASSAN is sitting on a chair wired up to a polygraph
machine. The POLYGRAPH Specialist is looking at the
pointer charting out emotional responses on a piece of
rolling graph paper.
POLYGRAPH SPECIALIST
Did you have bacon for breakfast.
HASSAN
Yes.
POLYGRAPH SPECIALIST
Do you smoke.
HASSAN
Sometimes.
POLYGRAPH SPECIALIST
Please say yes or no.
HASSAN
No.
POLYGRAPH SPECIALIST
Have you ever taken property that
was not yours.
HASSAN
Yes.
POLYGRAPH SPECIALIST
Have you ever killed anyone.
HASSAN
Yes, but in war.
POLYGRAPH SPECIALIST
Please say yes or no.
HASSAN
Yes.
POLYGRAPH SPECIALIST
Have you ever used illegal drugs.
HASSAN
No.
POLYGRAPH SPECIALIST
Did you murder JAHAN FARJAM.
HASSAN
No.
(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 50.
POLYGRAPH SPECIALIST
Did you murder ZIBA FARJAM.
HASSAN
No.
POLYGRAPH SPECIALIST
Where you involved in the
planning part of the murder of
JAHAN FARJAM.
HASSAN
No.
POLYGRAPH SPECIALIST
Where you involved in the
planning part of the murder of
ZIBA FARJAM.
HASSAN
No.
POLYGRAPH SPECIALIST
Do you know where FARHANG FARJAM
is held.
HASSAN
Yes.
POLYGRAPH SPECIALIST
Do you think you can help free
FARHANG FARJAM?
HASSAN
Yes.
INT. POLYGRAPH OFFICE – DAY
POLYGRAPH SPECIALIST is analyzing the data.
POLYGRAPH SPECIALIST
I asked him to give one
deliberate lie, and he lied when
he said he had bacon.
He points to the peaks on the graph paper.
POLYGRAPH SPECIALIST
But according to this test, he
didn’t lie about the murders.
YASMIN
So what do you think? Could he be
trained to lie?
(CONTINUED)
CONTINUED: 51.
POLYGRAPH SPECIALIST
You can beat the system but it
isn’t easy.
YASMIN
OK. Thank you.
HASSAN walks out of the adjacent room and faces YASMIN.
HASSAN
Well, do you believe me?
YASMIN
Let us say I’ll watch you closely
and shoot you if you lie and this
time I won’t miss.
HASSAN
Why, don’t they have laws against
people shooting the innocent
here? (in a joking manner)

One thought on “The Quran Gate (Act one of screenplay) based on Chained murders of Iran

  1. Please note that the characters and events are inspired by actual events but that fiction should not be confused with history. I am stating this because I have a great deal of respect for these victims and their families.

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