Malgre Tout by Anna Tchernakova and Tessa McWatt 1996 AT and TM
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Original idea by Anna Tchernakova
Story by Anna Tchernakova and Tessa McWatt
Written by Tessa McWatt
Draft: October 1996 Anna Tchernakova and Tessa McWatt
MONTREAL, present days 1 EXT. DAY -- STREETS - COMMERCIAL AREA 1 The camera moves through the streets while Christmas shoppers come and go from decorated stores. It follows no particular path until we reach a Futon Store, where, in the window, a woman, JULIA, is lying on one of the fold-out couch/sofa's that forms the window decor. She has the sales clerk open it up and lie down beside her, measuring its capacity for a couple. She gets up and gives the man her credit card. They have an inaudible conversation about delivery and addresses. JULIA exits continues in the street, happily, and continues to walk, looking in windows. She pauses at a store with men's clothing. She decides to go in. The camera remains outside, but can see her through the window. She points out a scarf in a glass case. A male CLERK picks it out and holds it up. She asks him to try it on. She decides to buy it. She pays him. 2 EXT. DAY -- RESIDENTIAL STREET 2 JULIA, laden with bags and packages, walks up the street. She stops at her apartment, puts the packages down, gets out her keys, and opens the door. INT. DAY -- JULIA's APARTMENT JULIA enters her apartment and looks suddenly startled. She drops her packages and begins to look around the apartment in amazement. There is evidence of it being emptied: a clothes cupboard door is open and empty, furniture seems to be missing, and the bookshelf has been emptied of one shelf of books. A decorated Christmas tree stands in the corner. 3 INT. DAY -- BEDROOM 3 JULIA walks into the room (where we see single bed) and over to the dresser drawer that is open and empty. She walks back into the living room. 4 INT. DAY -- LIVING ROOM 4 JULIA walks to her desk and picks up a picture -- one taken in an automated photo booth -- of herself and a man happily in an embrace. She notices the flashing message light on her telephone. She picks up the phone and dials for messages. OPERATOR (OFF -- taped) Please enter your password, or if you've entered the wrong mailbox number, press star. (sound of touch tone dial pressed) One new voice message; five saved messages. Listen, press one, personal options, press 4, to disconnect, press star. (tone) The following new message has not been heard. First message. GILLES (OFF -- taped) Salut Julie... c'est moi. Je ne viens pas. J'ai besoin, vraiment besoin qu'on ne se voit plus. Pas d'explications. On doit couper, coute que coute. C'est necessaire, absolument necessaire. Prends beaucoup beaucoup soin de toi. OPERATOR (OFF -- taped) End of message. To erase this message, press 7, to save it press 9. To replay this message press 1.(tone) Message from Gilles is replayed. OPERATOR (OFF --taped) (CONT'D) To erase this message, press 7, to save it, press 9. (tone) Saved. End of Messages. Listen, press 1. Personal options, press 4... To disconnect press star... JULIA does nothing, just stands in disbelief OPERATOR (OFF -- taped) (CONT'D) To erase this message press 7, to save it, press 9.... Nothing. OPERATOR (OFF -- taped) (CONT'D) To erase this message press 7, to save it, press 9.... Nothing. OPERATOR (OFF -- taped) (CONT'D) Sorry you were having trouble. Please try again later. (click) The camera moves to the window and exits the apartment. CREDITS Underneath the credits we see footage of Christmas celebrations, parties, family gatherings, etc -- documentary, amateur video footage of people's private moments. CUT TO BLACK. 5 EXT. MORNING -- IN FRONT OF JULIA'S APARTMENT-- (RESIDENTIAL5 STREET, CORNER) We see the remnants of Christmas in the piles of garbage -- lights, boxes wrapped in paper that has been torn open, bows, nativity paraphernalia. JULIA shuts the door behind her. She is wearing her pyjamas under her parka. She heads toward the corner store. We see a man (NAT) in a pilot's uniform, picking through garbage from a nativity scene that has been thrown away on the street. He holds up some objects, putting them in his pocket. Other things fall out of his pockets -- things he has been collecting. He is coughing. He walks around the pile. JULIA doesn't notice him. She crosses the street. 6 EXT. DAY -- FRONT WINDOW OF A BAKERY ON A BUSY STREET 6 A MAN (GILLES) buys croissants and comes out. 7 EXT. DAY -- CORNER OF COMMERCIAL STREET 7 JULIA is waiting for the light to change. 8 EXT. DAY -- COMMERCIAL STREET 8 GILLES is walking up the street. He turns a corner. 9 EXT. DAY -- COMMERCIAL STREET 9 JULIA sees GILLES turning a corner two blocks away. She stops. GILLES disappears around the corner. JULIA turns and rushes toward the opposite corner, where GILLES would logically be reappearing. Just before the corner, she slows down and puts on an independent, indifferent demeanour. She approaches the corner, goes around it, then bumps into GILLES, who is closer than she expected him to be. She looks away and passes him without any sign. He does the same. JULIA crosses the street and goes around the corner again to her apartment. She is visibly disturbed by the meeting. She doesn't see NAT, still picking in the garbage. 10 INT. DAY -- JULIA'S APARTMENT 10 JULIA enters and takes off her boots. The camera travels through the apartment. Its previous disorder has not been repaired but made worse. Books are strewn about the living room. The Christmas tree is dry, with needles having fallen on the floor, unswept. On a cork bulletin board over her desk, we see a photograph of Julia and her parents. It's old, when Julia was a teenager. They are standing in front of a Christmas tree, decorating it. We see a photograph of Gilles on the desk. There are a few copies of a magazine: "HELIX DOUBLE." In the kitchen, the cupboard doors are open and there is nothing in them. Wrappings from chocolate bars, potato chips, and other junk food lie around the kitchen. Still in her parka, JULIA is sitting on the floor near the front door. She gets up and goes to her phone. She checks for messages. (SOUNDTRACK: Operator: "YOU HAVE NO NEW MESSAGES.") She plays the saved message from GILLES: 11 PUT IN NEW FIRST MESSAGE HERE: GILLES (OFF -- taped) 11 Salut Julie... c'est moi. Je ne viens pas. J'ai besoin, vraiment besoin qu'on ne se voit plus. Pas d'explications. On doit couper coute que coute. C'est necessaire, absolument necessaire. Prends beaucoup beaucoup soin de toi. She puts the receiver down. She goes into the kitchen. She puts the kettle on the stove and turns it on. She goes to the sink to get a cup from all the dirty dishes piled up on each other. In searching for a cup she breaks a glass, one of a pair of delicate ornamented glasses. She picks it up, upset and tries to put it back together. She holds up its mate and tries to place the pieces back together to restore it. She can't. She starts to cry. She leaves the broken glass sitting on the counter. She picks up a man's shirt that is lying on the kitchen floor. She sniffs it, closing her eyes. She bends down, resting on her haunches, still with her eyes closed, holding the shirt. SILENCE. In the silence we hear her heart beating. The kettle starts to boil and whistles loudly. JULIA looks at her watch. JULIA Aiye! She turns off the stove, throws off her parka, then rushes to the bedroom to dress. 12 INT. DAY -- APARTMENT 12 JULIA is dressed in her parka. She looks in the mirror and puts on sunglasses. She leaves. 13 EXT. DAY -- STREET 13 As JULIA is locking the door, she notices a furniture delivery truck pulling up in front of the apartment. She moves quickly away from the door. The DELIVERY MAN gets out of the truck with an order form in his hand. He rings her doorbell. She watches him from the corner. He notices her. DELIVERY MAN (in French) ) Do you live here? JULIA No. DELIVERY MAN (French) ) Do you know who does? I have a delivery... a bed... JULIA keeps her composure. JULIA I have no idea. She walks away. JULIA walks by the stained-glass store downstairs from her apartment. She sees herself in one of the mirrors, then looks down, walking with her chin in her collar and her shoulders up around her ears. NAT is in the street, picking around in the garbage piles, still coughing. He picks up a mirror from the garbage and the sun reflects light for a split second; JULIA looks his way, but then puts her head back down. She passes a phonebooth, stops, then returns to it. She searches her bag and pockets for change. She has none. She takes out a bill and looks around for someone to change it. JULIA approaches a MAN walking towards her. JULIA (CONT'D) Have any change? The man just looks at her and walks past. A BEGGAR standing on the corner holds out his hat to her. She puts in her bill and takes out the equivalent in coins. 14 INT. DAY -- PHONE BOOTH 14 JULIA dials a number. Then she hangs up and leaves. 15 EXT. DAY -- STREET 15 JULIA leaves the phone booth. NAT is picking through the garbage of a recreation centre. In a pile on the snow are remnants of a nativity scene spilling out of a garbage bag. He picks up a very large, almost to scale replica of a manger, with painted straw hanging out over the sides. It is empty, no baby Jesus. NAT brushes off the snow. He examines it, then puts it on his shoulder and takes it across the street. He walks past JULIA, quickly, with the manger resting on his shoulder. He looks at her, but she keeps her eyes down, not looking up at him. NAT walks on ahead of her, out of sight. 16 EXT. DAY -- PATH BESIDE PARK WALL 16 JULIA is walking along the path beside a wall with graffiti and posters. 17 EXT. DAY -- COMMERCIAL STREET 17 A street beggar WOMAN is playing the harmonica, monotonously, and dancing on the spot. JULIA enters a store that sells new age charms. 18 INT. DAY -- NEW-AGE STORE 18 JULIA is looking around at the books on magic spells. She sees amulets hanging in a glass case. She turns to a salesperson (a very young woman with very short hair -- half purple, half green). JULIA Excuse me...What are these for? SALESPERSON Charms... these are love, those are luck...(points to some) protection... power.. what do you need? JULIA Could I see this one, please? SALESPERSON takes it out of the case. JULIA examines it. JULIA (CONT'D) Thanks. She takes it to the cashier, where she also picks up a magic book, and pays for both. She leaves. 19 EXT. DAY -- STREET 19 JULIA is walking down the street. She takes the amulet out of the bag, puts it around her neck and into her sweater. She continues walking. JULIA (touching the amulet under her sweater) ) Come back... come back... She stops at the next telephone booth. 20 INT. DAY -- PHONE BOOTH 20 JULIA dials a number and waits. GILLES' VOICE (taped) Helix Double Magazine, Gilles Dubois. Veuillez laissez un message, et je vous communiquerai aussi tot que possible. JULIA J'ai besoin de te parler. Rappele moi; il faut qu'on se parle. She hangs up and goes out. 21 INT. DAY -- LOFT 21 JULIA arrives in the loft. MICHAEL (30s ) is singing softly, melodiously, to himself, into the microphone. MICHAEL "Nooo woman noooo cryeee, no woman no cry...." JULIA hides behind a pillar so that he won't notice her and stop. He continues. JULIA's face becomes wet with tears, mascara-streaked. She stops herself, cleans up, and reveals herself to him. JULIA Sounds great. Michael turns around, surprised. His face lights up. Julia attempts a joke. JULIA (CONT'D) ... inspiring Christmas I guess. MICHAEL Hey... how're doing? They hug. He takes her by the shoulders, stretching his arms out in front of him and examines her. MICHAEL (CONT'D) And you? Looking a little thin...Are you eating? She pulls away from him. JULIA Same as ever... (changing the subject) How was Vancouver? MICHAEL Fine... warm... 10 degrees when I left... then back to this (he motions to the bad weather outside) ) Did you get lonely here? Or did he show up? She turns her back to him. JULIA I was fine, busy (she turns back to him, but looks past him) ) Is that a new jacket? Where's Philippe? MICHAEL goes over to the jacket and picks things out of the pocket. He has a couple of small, wrapped presents. MICHAEL Here... JULIA takes them, shyly. MICHAEL (CONT'D) Go ahead... JULIA opens one. It's a jar with some water in it. JULIA examines it, not knowing what it is. MICHAEL (CONT'D) What did you ask for? JULIA (pause, then surprise) It's the ocean? MICHAEL If you open it, you can smell it. JULIA Great. (pause) ) Should I keep it in the fridge? They laugh. He hands her another present. She hesitates, but he urges her on with a gesture. She opens it. It's a wool turtleneck dickie. MICHAEL You're always cold... JULIA Thanks a lot. That's sweet.... She turns to the window, hiding her face in the dickie. It's snowing and getting dark. MICHAEL Pardon? JULIA Nothing. MICHAEL You ok? JULIA Fine...been having strange dreams... She pulls herself together, tries to be cheery. She turns back to Michael. JULIA (CONT'D) Winter's so long... why don't get out of here? Remember Bruce wanted us to play in Boston? MICHAEL Boston's not much warmer, but I can call him. JULIA (turning again to the window) ) Or, ok, let's go to Cuba. PHILIPPE (gay, French-Canadian, 33, entering) Cuba? We're going to Cuba? Great. It's bleeming freezing out there. MICHAEL Let's rehearse first....can we? Jules? She goes to the instruments and starts to set up, looking depressed. PHILIPPE Coming to Sophie's tonight? MICHAEL (sarcastically) ) I'd rather watch the Bye Bye on CBC. PHILIPPE Julia? MICHAEL (interrupting, sarcastically) ) Not her... doesn't like crowds... always alone... JULIA Oh, I don't know... JULIA sits at her set of congas, just staring. MICHAEL sets up his keyboards. He looks around at Julia. MICHAEL Jules, It's a new year in (he looks at his watch) in 8 hours...good tidings.... great joy... can we have a smile? Lighten up. JULIA wipes her drums delicately. 22 INT. DAY -- LOFT 22 The group is rehearsing. The unusual but melodic sound fills the scene. JULIA (percussions and odd folk instruments) MICHAEL (guitar, keyboard, and electronic computer sounds) PHILIPPE (bass, and wind instruments, some electronically monitored, some acoustic). JULIA is playing the bones, rubbing them together. The camera holds on JULIA playing. She stops suddenly. The others stop also. JULIA Um, Sorry. I have to go... MICHAEL Where? JULIA ... I have to go to... the toilet. MICHAEL Don't be long. JULIA What time is it? MICHAEL We only have... JULIA I'll be right back. She goes into the bathroom, then sneaks out, grabbing her things as she leaves. 23 EXT. DUSK -- STREET 23 JULIA waits in the street. She flags a taxi. 24 EXT. DUSK -- STREET (commercial area) 24 JULIA gets out of the taxi. She looks at a building across the street. The sign on the building reads: "HELIX DOUBLE MAGAZINE." She sees a sillouette of a man in a window. She runs across the street to a parking lot next to the building. She goes over to one of the cars in the parking lot. She feels for something around her neck. She searches out the amulet from underneath her sweater. She unhooks it and it falls from her neck into her palm. She brings it close to her face. JULIA Come back. She bends down, under the engine of the car and fastens the amulet to a part of the car like a terrorist planting a bomb. She looks around and notices NAT, in uniform, watching her. Their eyes meet. JULIA takes the amulet out from where she fastened it, turns away, and hails a taxi. 25 EXT. EVENING -- LOFT 25 JULIA gets out of the taxi and goes into the coffee store next to the loft. 26 INT. EVENING -- LOFT 26 JULIA enters with hands full of coffees and muffins, more relaxed. MICHAEL is getting dressed in his coat and boots. PHILIPPE is putting away the instruments. MICHAEL We were having this rehearsal for you, Jules. JULIA Sorry, really... I'm sorry, I forgot something, and then I was hungry... (she hands them the muffins) Here... PHILIPPE takes a muffin and starts to eat it. MICHAEL refuses. Philippe takes his muffin too. He eats voraciously, then starts to get dressed. MICHAEL zips up his coat. MICHAEL I'm going to Peter's. You're welcome, if you want. Don't stay alone... JULIA I won't be alone. MICHAEL Oh no? (looking suspiciously at her) JULIA doesn't answer. MICHAEL (CONT'D) Ok, whatever... Happy New Year. See you tomorrow. He leaves. JULIA nods her head and watches him go. PHILIPPE is dressed and ready. PHILIPPE So you've got plans? JULIA (putting on her parka) I have to make a call. Wait just a second. She goes to the telephone, dials a number. 27 WOMAN'S VOICE (OFF - taped) 27 You have no new messages. She returns to Philippe. JULIA I'll go with you. 28 INT. EVENING -- SOPHIE'S PLACE 28 The party is in full-swing, crowded with people of various sizes and colours, mostly couples, some dancing in one corner. Some conversations are in French, some in English. GUEST 1 (in French) (aggressively into the camera) ) Hey... Take one of these (he hands camera a noise maker). An hour until the countdown. GUEST 1 moves away to others standing near the door, handing out noisemakers. GUEST 2 arrives with hats. GUEST 2 (into the camera) ) Hatless at midnight... bad luck He puts a hat on head of camera, pulling the elastic around a chin. JULIA stands by the door with a hat on her head, then takes it off. GUEST 2 moves to the group by the door, next to JULIA. GUEST 2 (in French) (CONT'D) (to another guest) ) Martine... ask her what she'd do. I'm sure it's not just a female thing... GUEST 2 pulls JULIA into the conversation with MARTINE and two other guests. JULIA listens, hat in hand. MARTINE Ok, so I had a mouse, for three weeks or so ... middle of the night. I started to call him Terrance... "Good morning Terrance..." I couldn't figure out what the hell he was eating! JULIA looks around. Everyone else is wearing a hat. Others are blowing party horns into people's faces, etc. Julia looks at the door, then her watch. MARTINE continues talking, but JULIA is not paying attention. JULIA looks at the door. GUEST 1 (to Martine) ) Naming it -- that was your first mistake... MARTINE It finally got caught in the trap, but didn't die... just crawled around bleeding on my floor, dragging a severed leg... It ran into the bedroom... GUEST2 (in French) For help.... They laugh. JULIA looks around, wanting to escape. GUEST 2 (to Julia) ) Now, wouldn't you just have put it out of its misery? JULIA I... I don't know. Excuse me.. JULIA leaves the group and moves toward the bar. SOPHIE (33, tall, artist with bleach-blonde hair), carrying a large bucket with oysters in it, comes up behind JULIA. She elbows her. A few oysters fall out of the bucket to the floor. JULIA turns around. She helps Sophie pick them up. SOPHIE Julia. You're starving yourself. Whatever it is, it's not better than food. I'm getting these ready. Come to the kitchen. JULIA I'll just get a drink first... SOPHIE Did you get your number? JULIA looks questioningly. SOPHIE (CONT'D) For the presents... it's a draw, for names... you get to give a present and get one... JULIA shakes her head. SOPHIE (CONT'D) Good way to meet people. Pick one at the bar. JULIA I'll get a drink... SOPHIE Save yourself for champagne. JULIA I get a headache... SOPHIE Lighten up. It's a new year. SOPHIE goes to the kitchen. JULIA goes to the bar and pours herself a very strong drink. She gulps it back. She pours another one, breathes deeply. She looks around her, uncomfortable. She sees the bowl with slips of paper with names on it. She pushes it aside. She watches an older man flirt with a young woman. It makes her angry. She turns back to the bar, throws an ice cube in her drink and aggressively pours more alcohol. Conversations go on around her. A GUEST approaches her. Their conversation is in French. GUEST 3 Julia, Hi. JULIA Hi... GUEST 3 We were just talking about you. He directs pulls MARC's arm, next to him. GUEST 3 (CONT'D) (to Marc) ) Come here, it's who I was talking about... (to Julia) ) This is Marc. JULIA Hi. GUEST 3 He's wants to talk to you about a program the PQ is offering... JULIA What? MARC For visible minorities... JULIA turns to pour more alcohol. MARC (CONT'D) There's funding, for arts... JULIA I.. I have to help in the kitchen... I'll be right back.. She goes to another part of the apartment, watching dancers. She hears, over her shoulder, the conversation of two women. WOMAN 1 (in English) It's typical for a man his age... midlife... WOMAN 2 (in French) Why did it take her so long to find out? WOMAN 1 (in English) He lied for 7 months. WOMAN 2 (French) God... and then just moved out? WOMAN 1 For a few days; it didn't last... WOMAN 2 rolls her eyes. WOMAN 1 (CONT'D) But she, the other one -- really young -- knew how to push all his buttons... made him feel "creative" again. Poor Patricia. WOMAN 2 What's she going to do? WOMAN 1 Don't know... said he was in love..., but for someone who's supposed to be so in love, he looked like shit last time I saw him... WOMAN 2 Who is she? WOMAN 1 Some musician... probably just using him... JULIA feels uncomfortable, moves away from that spot without turning around to see who was speaking, nearer to the dancefloor, watching. PHILIPPE taps her on the shoulder. She turns around. PHILIPPE Come on, don't hide yourself. Give us a hand in the kitchen He drags her across the room.
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