This Used to Be a Hand Holding a Lover’s Neck!

[Short Screenplay] 

 

Int. Eternity’s Workshop – Day

The black screen fades to the lips of a woman who we call “Eternity” (we never see Eternity’s face in the entire film). The lips are wearing matte gray gloss. The lips move and read out this verse by Khayyam: “I wandered through a pottery shop last eve” Then fades to:

Ext. Barren Land – Day

A piece of dry barren land. A simple land with no ups and downs.

Int. Eternity’s Workshop – Day

We see rows of neatly laid urns in a pottery workshop. We move passed diagonally over these mass of urns which are laid beside one another like masses of chicken in an aviculture.

Close up of an urn; focusing on its handle which is holding the neck of the urn like a lover holding the neck of his/her beloved.

Int. Theater Black Box – Day

A man and woman with calm and happy faces are sitting on a bench facing towards us. There is no special element around them, except for a simple gray curtain in the background.

A front close up of their faces; different parts of their faces; their smiles, their ears, their eyes.

Back to the first shot, the man and the woman turn to each other and look at one another with a lovely smile. The man stretches his arm and hangs it around the woman’s neck (as if forming the ring shape of the handle of a traditional urn.) Then they lean their heads against each other’s heads.

Ext. Barren Land – Day

The previous barren land with the difference that now we see a shallow pit on earth as if it has been shoveled.

Int. Eternity’s Workshop – Day

We see Eternity’s hands, her fingers wearing matte gray polish. There is a small pile of earth in front her on the workshop counter. She pours some water on the pile of earth.

Int. Theater Black Box – Day

The previous woman again, standing; wearing a mild smile; she looks happy. In a medium shot of her, the camera tilts down and stops on her mildly raised stomach. Her pregnant stomach is more showing under her tight dark dress.

Now we see intercuts of the pregnant woman and the barren land as follows:

 Ext. Barren Land – Day

The earth is hollowed a little more.

Int. Theater Black Box – Day

Another view of the pregnant stomach, a little more raised.

Ext. Barren Land – Day

The barren land is hollowed more.

Int. Theater Black Box – Day

The stomach is raised more.

Ext. Barren Land – Day

The hollow earth has turned into a deep pit.

Int. Theater Black Box – Day

The pregnant stomach now is at its maximum size.

Ext. Barren Land – Day

The pit has turned into a large and deep human size grave.

Int. Eternity’s Workshop – Day

Eternity’s hands knead a piece of clay. She presses it between her fingers. And then she hits it against the counter. We hear a beat of a big marching drum: Bang!

Int. A Maternity – Day

A newborn baby cries in the hands of a nurse.

Int. A Maternity – A While Later

The very baby laughs in its cradle.

Int. Clerk’s Desk – Day

The hands of a man who we call “Clerk” are on his desk holding a pen between fingers (we never see Clerk’s face in the entire film). Under them, there is a brand new empty birth certificate. The hands open the certificate and begin to fill it out.

We see extreme close-ups of words “Given Name, Family Name, Date of Birth, Month, and Year” He writes the date “1991/8/1”, and the name “Ash Gray”.

Ext. Barren Land/Graveyard – Day

The pit is now a real grave with brick walls. The camera pulls out and we see a land of half dug, filled out, and undug graves.

Int. Eternity’s Workshop – Day

Extreme close up of Eternity’s lips which repeats loudly: “I wandered through a pottery shop last eve!”

Fades to black.

Int. Theater Black Box – Day

A 3 years old girl is sitting on a photography stool facing us. In the background there is a simple gray curtain. We dolly forward and stop on her face. She begins to talk: “I saw two thousand urns sitting in peace”.

Int. Theater Black Box – Day

Medium shot of a 23 years old boy sitting on the very stool facing us, face neutral.

Int. Theater Black Box – Day

Medium shot of a 43 years old woman sitting on the very stool facing us, face neutral.

Int. Theater Black Box – Day

Medium shot of a 63 years old man sitting on the very stool facing us, face neutral.

Int. Bedroom of an 83 Years Old Woman – Day

Medium shot of an 83 years old woman lying on a bed with gray linens.

Int. Theater Black Box & Bedroom of the 83 Years Old Woman – Day

Consecutive close-ups of the earlier mentioned people, each speaking out a small section of the previous line of Khayyam one after another until the line is complete.

Once again everybody, including all the faces that we are going to meet in this script speak out simultaneously in a loud ringing voice: “I saw two thousand urns sitting in peace!” We stop on the frail, weak, and faded face of the 83 years old woman. We move towards her lips and stop. Then after a pause, we hear one loud ringing beat of drum: Bang!

Int. & Ext. Kindergarten – Day

Different views of children playing in a kindergarten. We notice the 3 years old girl and her small backpack.

Int. Eternity’s Workshop – Day

Eternity’s hands knead the clay. She then puts the clay on a turning potter’s wheel.

Int. Kindergarten – Day

The girl is sitting behind a tiny desk with her classmates, drawing a gabled roof house.

Int. Clerk’s Desk – Day

The birth certificate is on the desk, opened on the first page. Clerk’s hands pick a 3×4 photo, which we cannot distinguish the face or even the sex of its owner, and stick it on the page and stamp it. We hear a drum beat: Bang!

Ext. The Grave – Day

For a short while, we see the ready grave.

Ext. University – Day

We see the 23 years old boy at the university. We see different views of the campus and the gate of the university.

Int. Classroom – Day

The boy is sitting on a classroom desk.

We see some shots of the teacher and classmates.

Int. Eternity’s Workshop – Day

We see the potter’s wheel and Eternity’s hands forming an urn. The urn is still shapeless and distorted. We see from different angles the hands, arms, shoulders, neck, and ear of Eternity busy working. Noticing the Mobius shaped earing that she is wearing.

Int. Classroom – Day

The boy is sitting in class. He takes furtive looks at his left.

We see a short shot of a girl taking an indifferent look to her right, and then looks to the front.

Ext. Urban Open Space – Day

The hands of the boy take the classmate girl’s hands.

A short shot of his weeping eyes, at a later time.

A short shot of his smiling lips, at an even later time.

Int. Clerk’s Desk – Day

The spouse page of the birth certificate is open on Clerk’s desk.

We read the words: “Spouse Details, Marriage, and Marriage Date”

Clerk’s hand fills out the page (we do not read spouse name clearly). He then stamps the bottom of the page. A drumbeat: Bang!

Ext. Grave – Day

For a short moment, we see the ready grave.

Int. The 43 Years Old Woman’s Clinic – Day

The 43 years old woman in a white doctors’ robe is sitting behind her desk. We see different views of her office walls. There is a picture of the 23 years old boy wearing a graduation hat, and the 3 years old girl’s gabled roof house picture.

Int. Eternity’s Workshop – Day

An over the shoulder shot of Eternity busy making an urn that now looks more like a complete urn.

Close up of her hands forming the urn.

Int. The 43 Years Old Woman’s Clinic – Day

The woman is busy examining her patients. She then writes a prescription. We then see her fixing a gravely injured person soaked in blood. Then we see her in operation room.

Int. Clerk’s Desk – Day

We see the birth certificate that now looks worn out.

Clerk opens the certificate on children page. In close up, we read the words “Child’s Name, Date of Birth, Day, Month, Year”

Clerk fills the child’s details (we cannot read the name or the date clearly). He then signs and stamps. A drumbeat: Bang!

Ext. Grave – Day

For a short moment, we see the ready grave.

Int. The 63 Years Old Man’s House – Day

We see the 63 years old man standing in front of a canvas, painting. A woman’s hand touches his shoulder, he turns around and looks passionately at the woman whom we cannot see.

We see different views of the house and its walls. We see a picture of the 43 years old woman in a white robe, and many certificates and prizes for successful surgeries.

Int. The 63 Years Old Man’s Kitchen – Day

The man is chopping vegetables.

We then see a close up of his injured index finger around which the hands of a woman stick a band-aid.

Int. Eternity’s Workshop – Day

A finished urn with a beautiful lovely handle is turning on the potter’s wheel.

Close up of Eternity’s sweaty forehead which she cleans with the back of her hand.

Another view of her ear wearing a Mobius earing.

Int. The 63 Years Old Man’s House – Day

The man is again behind the canvas, holding a brush between his band-aided fingers, painting. His painting strangely looks similar to the 3 years old girl’s gabled roof house.

Int. Different Ordinary Interior Spaces – Day

The birth certificate pages are turned over between hands of different people again and again. It is copied again and again under a copy machine’s light.

Int. Clerk’s Desk – Day

The birth certificated pages are being turned over between Clerk’s hands. Its cover is half pulled off and is very worn out and old.

Clerk stops on the last page and holds it open on the desk. We dolly towards is.

Ext. Grave – Day

For a short moment, the ready grave appears.

Int. The 83 Years Old Woman’s Bedroom – Day

The 83 years old woman is lying on the bed. Her eyes are fixed on the ceiling.

We see a glimpse of the simple white ceiling.

Then we see her old hands with her bluish veins showing from behind her faded skin.

We see different views of her room crowded with numerous items. Childish paintings, including the picture of the gabled roof house; graduation photos; certificate and prize frames; some marriage ceremony and family photos are on the old furniture; and at last a large portrait of the 83 years old woman sitting on the very photography stool is on another wall of the room.

Int. Eternity’s Pottery Kiln – Day

We see the very urn inside the kiln among the fire and flames being burnt.

Int. The 83 Years Old Woman’s Bedroom – Day

The woman’s lips move; as if she is about to speak.

We see a silhouette rear view of her sitting on her bed edge.

Int. Clerk’s Desk – Day

The birth certificate is open on the last page on the desk. We dolly even nearer until we can clearly read the title of the page: “Death”

Extreme close-ups of the words: “Death, Date, Day, Month, and Year”

Clerk picks the pen and pauses.

Int. Theater Black Box – Day

The 3 years old girl’s lips speak out: “I saw two thousand urns sitting in peace”

Int. The 83 Years Old Woman’s Room – Day

The woman’s lips at last open, saying: “Each spoke to me in the language of silence…”

We pause on her open eyes. She then closes them slowly. A drumbeat: Bang!

Ext. Grave – Day

For a short moment, the ready grave appears.

Int. & Ext. Different Places – Day & Night

As we hear a fast heart beating that gradually becomes slower, we see condensed, fast forwarded images of the entire cycle of life which we have seen. Among those we see masses of people get on and off a train in a subway station, people standing in long distorted lines, people, running or bumping into each other on crowded sidewalks, traffic jams in the streets. Then we see again the masses of urns, the waiting grave, the burning urn in the kiln, and the birth certificate being turned over and over and getting worn out.

Int. The 83 Years Old Bedroom – Day

We stop on the woman, who is taking heavy and noisy breaths. The beatings of heart that we were hearing since earlier is now very slow. Her eyes are now hooded a little. At last her pupils fix, and the beatings and breathing stop.

Int. Eternity’s Workshop – Day

Slow motion falling of the fired and completed urn and its hitting the workshop counter and breaking while the wine inside it splashes everywhere.

The screen fades to black.

Ext. Graveyard/Barren Land – Day

The screen fades to the very grave inside which earth is being poured from somewhere outside the frame.

Fades to the filled grave with a pile of fresh earth on top of it.

Fades to a gravestone being placed over the grave. On the stone it reads “Ash Gray”; bellower “Eternal Child, Spouse, and Parent”; and bellower; “I wandered through a pottery shop last eve / I saw two thousand urns sitting in peace/ Each spoke to me in the language of silence…”

We dolly backward and we see the grave among hundreds of other graves.

Int. Clerk’s Desk – Day

We see a white paper on the desk. The clerk is holding a pen and starts to write on the paper. We follow his pen and we can catch up reading these words: “Therefore, all identifications are now expired and invalid, and will subsequently be archived.” The clerk signs and stamps. He fastens the old birth certificate to the paper. Then he pulls a binder towards himself and opens it. It is filled with similar papers. He puts the new paper and the birth certificate among others and closes it. On the side of the binder, it reads: “1991 ∞ 8”

Ext. Graveyard – Day & Night

We move past the graves. We stop on our grave. This time grass is grown around the grave. Then we see fast forward footage of the grave as: Sun shines and shadows fall over the stone. Sometimes a hand washes the stone and waters the flowers. The plants grow. Dust gathers on the stone, but then it is washed. A foot mark appears on the stone. Rain falls over it. Dry leaves fall over it. The grass withers. Snow falls over the stone and grass. The snow melts. The stone is clear again. Someone washes the stone and plants new grass. The grass revives. The stone gathers dust again. Another footprint appears on the stone. Rain falls. Yellow leaves drop. The grass withers. Snow falls. Snow melts. But nobody cleans the stones again, and the grass remains dead dry.

Int. Archive Hall – Day

We see a cart rolling inside an archive hall. We hear wheels squeaking and Clerk’s footsteps. The aforementioned binder alongside with many others is inside the cart. We can see Clerk’s hands pushing the cart. Then in the background appears a set of shelves. Clerk stops. He stretches his hand and picks up the binder.

From another angle, we see the shelves and some empty space for more binders. Clerk puts the binder in one of those empty places. We stop on the binder on the shelf as we hear the cart and Clerk move away.

In a wide shot, we see the binder among a sea of filled shelves. The sound of footsteps and the cart fades and the light goes out.

Ext. Gravestone – Day & Night

We again see the gravestone as we had left it. This time we fast forward at much faster speed. The writings on the stone gradually fade. The stone looks worn out. Corners of the stone start to break. The words are now almost unreadable.

Int. Archive Hall – Day

We see the binder on the shelf while a thick layer of dust is gathered on it, and it looks old.

Ext. Gravestone – Day & Night

The stone resumes decaying. More pieces of it crack and fall off to the extent that it looks like an ancient gravestone.

Int. Archive Hall – Day

There is a heap of dust on the shelf. We hear footsteps approaching. Clerk’s torso (neck downwards) enters the frame and stops in front of the shelf. He reaches out and picks the binder.

We lock on the binder in his hands as he brings it near his mouth and blows over it. Hundreds-of-years-old dust rises and splatters around like fog.

Ext. Gravestone – Day & Night

The gravestone takes more cracks, and only big shapeless chunks of it remain.

Int. Archive Hall – Day

Clerk brings the binder down and opens it. Inside there are yellowish brown, half decayed, fragile bundle of papers.

Ext. Gravestone – Day & Night

The stone breaks into smaller and tinier chunks. What remains is a pile of gravel and earth.

Int. Archive Hall – Day

Clerk picks the corner of the old birth certificate in the binder to open it. The cover breaks and falls off like a piece of onionskin. It literally powders.

Ext. Gravestone/Barren Land – Day

The grave and the stone that used to be over it now look like shapeless plowed earth. We dolly backward and we see the first simple barren land.

Int. Archive Hall – Day

Clerk closes the binder and puts it in the cart, then moves off with it.

As we hear him move away, we see another wide shot of the archive hall which now looks like a dark and dirty half destroyed ruin. The decaying empty shelves look horrifying. There is no light except for a depressed bluish ray that comes through some window.

Int. Trash Burning Furnace – Day

A lighted furnace with flames burning inside it. The cart is beside the furnace. Clerk’s hand drops the binders one by one into the fire.

A closer angle of the furnace and the birth certificate that has fallen out of its binder. It is burning, crumbling, and turning into ash, but we have enough time to get a glimpse of a name on it: “Ash Gray”

Ext. Simple Barren Land – Day

We can see a smooth ground with almost no ups and downs, and beyond it the clear blue sky. This is the first barren land and the former place of the grave.

We hear Eternity’s slow and unhurried steps on the earth approach. Eternity’s feet enter the frame from the right and stop. She pauses and then squats on the ground. She then bends towards the ground, picks a handful of earth and a moment later let it gradually fall from between her fingers. In extreme close up we see particles of dust falling out her hands. She takes another handful, takes it towards her face and smells it. In extreme close up we see her nose and lips as she smells the earth.

Int. Eternity’s Workshop – Day

Eternity is kneading a ball of clay between her fingers. She then drops the clay on the potter’s wheel and begins forming it.

Int. Pottery Kiln – Day

We see the kiln again with some urns sitting inside it. As we dolly towards the kiln mouth, the screen dissolves to the burning binders in the furnace and then dissolves back to the urns inside the kiln. We stop on a specific urn in the middle of the screen.

Int. The 83 Years Old Woman’s Room – Day

The woman’s lips repeat: “each spoke to me in the language of silence…”

Fades to:

Int. Eternity’s Workshop – Day

Eternity’s lips continue: “Where are the potter, the clerks, and the buyers?!”

Fades to black.

Then fades to a fired and finished urn in between Eternity’s hands. She brings the urn up to her lips, takes a sip, and brings it lower.

We lock on her hands holding the urn, and then suddenly she lets go of the urn. We hear the sound of the urn hitting the ground and breaking from out of the frame. The screen instantly goes black. We remain for a few seconds in silence and darkness before the credits appear.

The End


I wrote this screenplay when I was taking some screenwriting courses last year. It was not meant to be practice for the class _and my teacher actually disapproved of writing a play while I was beginning to understand what screenwriting was all about. I did it anyway (and my teacher refused to read it!) But I like it. I even sent it along with my university applications this year. Some of them refused me, and only a few of them admitted me. But I still like it.
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