Makhmalbaf Family Official Website - وبسایت رسمی خانه فیلم مخملباف

Script: The Apple

Fri, 13/09/2013 - 20:41

By: Mohsen Makhmalbaf
For Zahra and Massoumeh who are thirteen but look like two-years old because they spent eleven years in prison. Their jailor of the opinion that. “Time spent in prison cannot be counted as part of one’s life.”
A child’s hand pours a glass of water in a flower pot. An elderly father and a blind mother are sitting facing an unknown visita.
Mother: (in Turkish) Where are you, Zahra dear? Come and take me out.
Father, holding a loaf of bread in one hand and some ice in the other, is on his way home from an odd looking avenue. The voice of a street vendor.
Street vendor: Salt. Dry bread. Salt.
Massoumeh, a little girl, stares from behind the iron bars.
Mother’s voice: (in Turkish) Zahra dear. ., Massoumeh dear, come, let’s go. Where were you Agha?
Father arrives home with bread in one hand and ice in the other.
The text of the petition of the neighbours forms the background to the titrage while the film-crew sign under the petition, each stating their particular job. The text of the petition: “The Honorable Director of the Welfare Organization: together with our greetings we wish to inform you about a family living in the Vali-e-Asr suborb of Tehran, on the 3rd km. Of the Saveh road. Sajadi Avenue, Hosseini Street No.10 the fact is that this family is slowly dying The family consists of a man and a blind woman with two girls aged 13 who are kept prisoners in the house and who have no knowledge of the outside world or society. The entrance door as well as all the doors inside the house and corridor are kept locked. The two girls do not know how to speak. This family has not taken a bath for years and despite the neighbours’ complaints, no-one dares go to that house. We, the undersigned, beg for your speedy assistance.
The Social Worker from the Welfare Organization is seen walking in the street. Father who is imploring her follows with thw TV Reporter following them both.
Social Worker: You admit that you leave the girls in the house and go out, don’t you? Even now if you want to see your children, I’ll bring them to you. Those girls are not the ones who are guilty.
Father: For the love of God, lady, let their mother see them.
Social Worker: Very well. But show us their mother first.
Father: Their mother says that her children were taken away and killed.
Social Worker: No, we don’t kill children. Just open the door.
The father opens the door and the Social Worker takes out the neighbour’s petition from her file to show it to the TV Reporter.
Social Worker: Well, the Welfare Organization was informed by this letter sent by the neighbours. This petition is the reason why we’re here. The neighbours even wanted to take the children to the public bath but their parents didn’t let them. They may not have had a bath for years.
The people from the neighbourhood have gathered around them. Father opens the door.
Father:Their mother keeps calling, “Dear Zhra, Dear Massoumeh.”
Social Worker: We can go in. You go in first. (They enter the house.) These children have not had any contact with society.
The inside of the house looks like a prison. Mother is standing in the room and when the social worker goes past her she hears her whispering and calling her two girls.
The father and the Social Worker approach the girls. Massoumeh, one of the girls, gets up and rubs herself against her father. The Social Worker addresses the other girl.
Social Worker: What’s this?
Zahra: (give an unintelligible answer.)
Social Worker: what’s this?
Zahra: (give an unintelligible answer.)
Social Worker: (pointing to a glass.) what’s in there?
Zahra: (give an unintelligible answer.)
Reporter: (Holding the loudspeaker in front of massoumeh’s mouth) What is your name?
Massoumeh: (give an unintelligible answer.)
Reporter: Is it massoumeh?
Massoumeh: (unintelligible answer.)
Reporter: How old are you. . . How old are you, Miss Massoumeh?
Massoumeh: (utters an unintelligible word and then starts to like the loudspeaker as if it were an ice-cream.)
Zahra says something unintelligible in Turkish. Only the word “Mother” is distinguishable.
Social Worker: Do you want to go to your mother? Do you also want to go your mother, Massoumeh?
Father: For the love of God, lady. . .
Social Worker: Well, it was for love of God that we did what we did. These girl’s future lies ahead of them. They must become members of society. They will want to get married in a few years’ time. They will want to have a family of their own.
Zahra: (Utters an unintelligible word.)
Father: give me some money and I’ll sit home and look after them.
The reporter is talking to the neighbours.
Reporter: You’re this family’s next door neighbour. Tell us about them.
The Neighbour: These children are kept prisoners. Even prisoners are occasionally allowed out to get some fresh air. But not these girls. Their father locks the door in the morning when he goes out till he gets back in the evening.
The Reporter: Whose fault?
The Neighbour: I don’t know. Maybe the father’s.
The Reporter: Do you mean to say that the father locks the door when he goes out in the morning and unlocks it when he returns home at night?
The Neighbour: He says they’ll get lost if they go out. Well, they’re not used to going out.
The father is helplessly wandering in the courtyard.
Social Worker: Why didn’t you let the neighbours take the kids to school when they came for them?
Father: Who came?
Social Worker: These people did. Didn’t you ask him to let the kids go to school?
The Neighbour: He should have let them go at the proper time. It’s no use now.
Social Worker: Right, it’s no use now. Why didn’t you let them go in the first place?
Father: No-one came to say so in the first place.
Social Worker: How about yourself? You’re a man, aren’t you?
The Reporter: (facing Zahra) Do you want to go to school?
Zahra: (gives an unintelligible answer.)
The Reporter: What do they teach you at home?
Zahra: (gives an unintelligible answer.)
The Reporter: Do you learn anything at home?
Zahra: (gives an unintelligible answer.)
The Social Worker leads the children towards the car belonging to the Social Welfare Organization. The children cannot walk properly.
Social Worker: We’re taking them now to a childcare centre. They’re going to follow an elementary course so we can see whether they can develop normally.
The children jump over a waterway with difficulty.
Massoumeh and Zahra’s hair are cut short. They look like boys at first glance. A teacher fails to make Massoumeh draw a triangle like the triangles on the paper she has before her. In another corner the father is talking to a psychologist.
Psychologist: There are many blind parents, but that does not prevent their children from attending school. In fact there are many orphans, how do they manage to study then?!
Father: Fate decides for them.
Psychologist:There are many blind parents,but that dose not prevent their children from attending school. In fact there are many orphans,how do they manage to stady then?!
Father: Fate decides it for them.
Psychologist: I think you’re tired. Let me get you some water.
Father: There’s an old proverd which says that. “If you don’t get warm in the morning sun, you’re not going to get warmer in the afternoon sun”. . . Of course if they had become literate like other kids, it would have made me proud, but it was not to be.
Psychologist: Listen! It was you who didn’t let your kids go to school.
Father: I accept that I am guilty. I am not denying it. But. . .
A man and a woman are brought in. The mother, as usual, has her fce completely covered.
The man: (in Turkish facing the mother) Do you want to go home? . . . Eh? . . . Let’s go to see the children first. Do you want to see the children?
Zahra and Massoumeh are eating among retarded children. The social worker is talking to a lady psychologist about them.
Social Worker: The girls are twins.
Psychologist: Was it wise to separate them from their family?
Social Worker: We did give it some thought. We went to visit them twice at first. Then we came to the conclusion that in the present circumstances it was better for the children to leave that house. That house can hardly be called a home.
The man and the woman conduct the mother to the children’s room.
The man: (in Turkish facing the mother) Do you want to take the children home? Or do you want to stay here with them? . . . Why are you so worried? Don’t wory at all. They look well after your kids here.
The social worker is sitting on a bed next to Massoumeh and Zahra waiting for the arrival of their mother. The mother enters.
Social Worker: (addressing the kids) Who’s that coming towards us?
The man: (in Turkish) Get up and come here, Massoumeh.
Social Worker: (in Turkish) Go kiss her. Pull her tchador aside.
The man: (in Turkish) Is the other one Zahra? Are you Zahra? Well done, you pretty Zahra.
Mother: (in Turkish) Why don’t you come home then? (She feels her head with her hand.) Where is her scarf?
Social Worker: (in Turkish) We took if off. We gave her a bath. We wanted her hair to be clean. We changed their clothes. Zahra, go near and let her feel you. And that’s Zahra.
Mother: (in Turkish) Bring me something to cover her hair with. Where did you go? Bring scarves to cover their hair. . . Bitch. . . Alright, I won’t swear anymore, just bring me a couple of scarves, I want to take them home. . . (The social worker gives the mother two scarves and the mother immediately covers the girl’s hair with them.) we’re going home, Zahra. Give me my children to take home. . . I’ll take them home and wash them.
Social Worker: (in Turkish) Can you wash them?
Mother: Yes.
Social Worker: (in Turkish) If you can wash them I’ll let you take them home.
Mother: (in Turkish) Why did you unveil them?
Social Worker: (in Turkish) We took off their scarves so we could have their hair shortend and washed.
Mother: (in Turkish) Let’s go, Agha. Come, let’s go, Zahra. Get the children and let’s go Agha.
Social Worker: (in Turkish) We’ve dressed them in blouses and pants.
Mother: (in Turkish) Where’s your skirt? Don’t you have a skirt? Why did you take off your skirt?
Social Worker: (in Turkish) Zahra, tell your mother why you took off your clothes.
Mother: (in Turkish) Where are your clothes? Why did you change your clothes?
She feels her children’s body with her hands and in order not to lose them grabs firmly their hands. The children go towards a tray of apples a bed and drag their mother along towards the apples. Then each try to detach herself from her in order to take an apple. They do so. Their mother continues to mumble unintelligibly.
Social Worker: (in Turkish) For Goodness sake, take out this tchador from your mouth and speak clearly to them.
Mother: (in Turkish) I want to take my children home.
Social Worker: (in Turkish) You may do so.
The mother who is holding fast to her children’s hands appears in the corridor. It is not quite clear whether the blind mother is dragging them or whether the children are dragging their mother. That may be why they sway from side to side at times.
Mother: (in Turkish) Go to the other side, dearest. It doesn’t matter, go . . . Zahra, my dear, Massoumeh, my dear, let’s go. Ask your father to come so we can go. . . Let’s go to our wretched home. It’s obvious where we’re going. We’re going to the cemetery.
Their father joins them. He kisses the children. The kids are still biting greedily their apples
Father: (in Turkish addressing the mother) Do you want to stay here or shall we go home?
Mother: (in Turkish) Zahra dear, Massoumeh dear. . .
And she feels them with her hands so as not to lose them. And she mixes them up once again.
Mother: Zahra dear!
Father: (in Turkish) This is massoumeh. The other one’s zahra. Zahra, we’re going home. (addresing his wife) you musn’t lock the door anymore to prevent the kids from going out to get some fresh air. They said you can take the kids with you but you musn’t lock the door of the corridor. We’ll have the refrigerator fixed so we can drink cool water. I’ll take them to the public bath. I’ll pay the washerwoman so she washes them properly. If you keep them clean, they’ll let us keep them. If they come and see that they’re not nice and clean, they’ll take the children from us and never return them.
Mother: (in Turkish) I’ll wash them.
Father: (addressing the social worker) She says she’ll take them home and wash them.
Social worker: Alright. Take them home.
Father, Mother, Massoumeh and Zahra walk in the empty corridors and go towards their house.
The family enters their street. Father opens the lock of the door and takes the mother and the children to the courtyard and opens the lock of the iron-barred corridor. He sends them inside and locks the door again. He then takes the small receptacle for gasoline from the corner of the courtyard and leaves the house. Once the father has left, Zahra and Massoumeh come behind the iron bars of the corridor to look out. From behind the bars the kids can see only two things. One is the window of their opposite neighbour from where a baby’s crying is heard. And the other is the sun in the sky shining through the wire gauze placed on the walls surrounding the house. The kids gaze in astonishment at the sun shining through the wire gauze like a star. They suddenly get excited and run to bring back an old tin of polish to the window and gaze with astonishment at the sun again. They then press the palm of their hands in the tin of polish and imprint it here and there on the wall. The picture of the sun, in black, is now printed on the wall.
The childeren: (shouting) Flower. . . Flower!
Massoumeh picks up a glass of water. She drinks from it first, then she tries to pour the rest of the water through the iron bars in a flower pot placed in the garden. The father returns home with his receptacle of gasoline. The mother who is in the room hears the door unlock.
Mother: (in Turkish) Help me, Agha. I’m scared.
Faher pours some gasoline in the cooking stove and shakes the funnel so that not a single drop is wasted. He then puts the pot on the cooking stove.
Father: (addressing Zahra) We must put the pot on the cooking stove. Here’s how to cook: There are four of us. You must put a tumbler full of rice in the pot for me. For your mother you put in a tumler not quite filled up with rice. And for you and your sister you put in half a tumbler of rice each. Look! For me a tumbler full (he pours a tumbler of rice in the pot and shakes the tumbler so no grain of rice is wasted by being stuck to the tumbler.) You understand? Learn it. You’ll be soon wanting to get married and you must know how to cook so that people don’t say that since her mother was blind this girl did not learn how to cook. Learn it. God has created girls in order for them to get married.
Zahra: (says something unintelligible.)
Father: What did you say?
Zahra: (says something unintelligible.)
The doorbell rings. The father goes towards the door of the corridor, unlocks it, nd then goes to the front door and opens it. It’s one of the neighbours and they start chatting together. The kids seeing their father otherwise engaged leave the corridor to go play in the courtyard.
Neighbour: Why didn’t you come then?
Father: On purpose, lady.
Neighbour: Why?
Father: Because you told a big fat lie about me. A big fat lie. I am not going to forgive you and God will not forgive you either. You lied when you said that I didn’t let my children go out and then you added that what’s more I had put chains on their hands and feet.
Neighbour: A lie? Whoever told a lie did a bad thing. But everyone knows that for eleven years you kept your children prisoners in the house and kept them locked in.
Father: Do you think it will please God if the whole of Iran, if on television, if in all the newspapers it is said. . .
Neighbour: All this hasn’t harmed you, has it? The Welfare Organization sent for your children to take care of them and they’re nice and clean now.
Father: People point at me when I go out.
Neighbour: Didn’t you keep them locked in for eleven years?
Father: I don’t deny it, I don’t claim to have sent them to school, but I didn’t chain them . (Angrily) Why tell such a big fal lie about me? Why did you make me lose face?
Neighbour: There’s not much diffrence between keeping them locked in or chaining them is there?
Father: But there is. A big difference. People point at me and say that this is the man we saw on television. This is the man the newspapers wrote about. This is the man who chained his kids.
Neighbour: Keeping them prisoners is the important thing. Not the chains.
Father: On the contrary, it’s very important. You made me lose face. I didn’t chain my children. You told a lie about me.
Neighbour: It makes no difference. Whether the children are chained for eleven years or whether they do not see the sun for eleven years. Now take this money and pray for my son. I have a vow to perform.
Father: No way. I wouldn’t take it if it was a billion tomans. I don’t want it. I don’t.
Neighbour: I have made a vow. Take it. (She puts the money in his hand.)
Father: (Sadly) They wrote in the newspapers that I had my children in chains. (He cries.)
Neighbour: Don’t cry.
Father: Why on earth would I want to chain my kids? Well, their mother is blind and she locked the door so they wouldn’t go out and get harmed. Why tell a lie on me? I am not going to forgive you, and I am sure that God and his Prophet do not like it either. The weather’s hot now, everyone has cool water to drink, everyone has a water-cooler, I don’t even have a fan, or a refrigerator, I only have my misfortunes. God, his Prophet and all the saints in heaven are not going to forgive this big lie. That’s all. I have nothing more to say.
Neighbour: That money is for the vow I have made for my son. I’m off.
The neighbour leaves and Father shuts the door and returns to the courtyard. Zahra and Massoumeh are scared of their father and run towards the corridor. Their father retains them.
Father: Massoumeh, Zahra, my dear, you good girls. One of you had better go and wash the dirty clothes and the other take to the broom and sweep the house so that if tomorrow we have a visit from the people from the Welfare Organization they won’t say these girl don’t know a thing and then take you with them. Good girls. One of you should wash the dirty clothes and the other sweep the courtyard. And I’ll cook for you.
Massoumeh starts sweeping the courtyard and Zahra does the washing. But neither manages her work well. The wife of the neighbour opposite them is hanging clothes. The voice of the young boy who sells ice-cream is heard from the street. Massoumeh lets go of the broom and climbs up the locked door of the courtyard to look outside.
Ice-cream vendor: Delicious ice-cream.
Massoumeh: (says something unintelligible.)
Ice-cream vendor: Do you want some ice-cream?
Massoumeh: (says something unintelligible.)
Ice-cream vendor: (takes some ice-cream out of his flask and shows them to her.) You want this one?. . . Give me some money. . . You don’t want these?. . .Which one do you want then?. . . This one?. . . Go get some money. 
Massoumeh: (says something unintelligible.)
Ice-cream vendor: It costs ten tomans.
Massoumeh: (says something unintelligible.)
Ice-cream vendor: I can’t give it to you until you give me some money.
Massoumeh: (says something unintelligible.)
Ice-cream vendor: If you don’t have any money, you’d better go.
Massoumeh returns to their courtyard and helps Zahra hang the washing. their father calls them to come and eat.
A cloth is spread on the floor. The father gives some food to his daughters but is not feeling hungry himself, and when the girls start to eat, he starts to sing.
Father: “O God the passage of time makes me so sad
That I no longer wish to live, O God!
Either give me death in my prison, my God
Or else set me free from the chains which bind me.
I am dying in the corner of this wretched prison
but alas I still know not what I did wrong
I never complain in prison, O God
Because this was my fatefrom the very first day I was born.”
Father locks the door of the corridor and the front door and goes out. The children run towards the iron bars and start hitting their spoons against them in order to attract the attention of the neighbour’s wife who is hanging up her washed clothes. But she does not notice them and is lost in her daily chores. A moment later the lady social worker is seen coming in the street towards the house but she gets no answer when she rings the bell. She goes to the neighbour’s door and rings their bell. The neighbour’s son opens the door.
The neighbour’s son: Yes?
Social worker: I need to talk to your neighbour.
The neighbour’s son: Their father locked the door and left.
Social worker: Are you farah Khanom’s son?
The neighbour’s son: Yes.
Social worker: Isn’t your mother home?
The neighbour’s son: No.
Social worker: How can I get to see the girls?
The neighbour’s son: I’ll bring a ladder right away.
Social worker: Thanks a lot.
The neighbour’s son brings a ladder and climbs up the wall of Zahra and Massoumeh’s house.
Social worker: Just look from up there and see what’s going on.
The neighbour’s son: The children are in their prison.
Social worker: Here, take my bag so I can climb up and see. Oh, Hello there children. How are you, Zahra dear?
The neighbour: (From the window opposite) Good morning, lady.
Social worker: (notices the neighbour by the window.) Good are you?
The neighbour: Why did you bring back the children, lady?
Social worker: Well, they must be both here at home and in the outside world to get trained little by little.
The neighbour: Their father locked the door and left. It’s very kind of you to come.
Social worker: Look son, can you put the ladder on the other side of the wall and open the front door?
The neighbour’s son: Yes.
The neighbour’s son places the ladder in the courtyard, goes down opens the door and leaves. The social worker enters the house.
Social worker: Good morning, my dear chidren. Are you well?
The children: (say something unintelligible.)
Social worker: How are you, Massoumeh? What’s that you’re holding? . . . A spoon? Let me see it! What are you doing in there?
Massoumeh: (barely understandable) Prisoner.
Social worker: prisoner? Whatever for?
The children: (barely understandable) Door locked.
Social worker: The door’s locked? Why are you holding spoons in your hand?
The children: (give an unintelligible answer.)
Social worker: So, what do you want me to get you?
The children: Apples.
Social worker: Apples? Very well, the next time I come to visit, I’ll bring you some apples. But this time, I’ve brought you something pretty in which you can see yourself. (She gives them a mirror each.)This is for you, and this one’s for you.
The girls take the mirrors but since they’re holding them tilted in one direction, they can only see the lock on the door. The father returns home. He is holding a loaf of hot bread in on hand and some ice in the other. He notices the presence of the social worker.
Father: Good morning. You’re very welcome.
Social worker: Thank you very much. Where were you?
Father: I was out shopping, lady.
Social worker: I thought that we’d decided that you wouldn’t leave the children at home. Didn’t we decide that you would not lock them in?
Father: I have no choice.
Social worker: That is not the case.
Father: There’s only one of me, lady. I must both do the house chores and go out shopping. Their mother us blind and cannot go anywhere. And I cannot leave my wife and kids hungry. I am obliged to go out to buy some bread, some ice. Right now this loaf of hot bread is burning my hand and my other hand feels frozen. Tell me what am I to do?
Social worker: Nothing. You could have left the kids in the courtyard and asked your neighbour opposite to keep an eye on them. Didn’t you promise me to treat them better?
Father: If I don’t lock the door of the corridor, the boy’s ball will fall in our house. They will climb over the wall and jump in. if my daughters are in the courtyard they might do them some harm. Then I’ll lose my honour.
Social worker: You could have locked the front door and asked your neighbour opposite to keep an eye on them.
Father: Neighbours aren’t what they used to be, lady. I don’t have a refrigerator. Not one, not one of my neighbours has ever thought of bringing me some ice fully knowing that I don’t have a refrigerator. So you see, lady, I have no choice.
Social worker: (She brings out a key from her pocket and opens the door of the corridor.) Come out, children.
The children come out of the corridor and in order to show her presence to her father, Massoumeh holds up the mirror to him. The social worker chases the children out of the house and the girls who are freed from the prison run to the street. The father goes to the corridor and locks himself in. The social worker goes towards him.
Social worker: (addressing the father) How would you like me to lock you in so you can see how terrible it is to be in prison?
The children open the front door, come in and try to get behind the bars.
Social worker: See, Dad? You’ve got them used to it. You’ve trained them to return. (addressing the children) Now children, let me see you go out again.
The social worker chases the children out while the father who is scared goes to the end of the corridor to alert their mother.
Father: (in Turkish) Soghra! Saghra! Come and take the kids out. They might get run over by the car.
Mother: (in Turkish) Don’t you dare take the children out, you bitch, or they’ll go mad.
Social worker: (in Turkish) Don’t swear like this, Soghra Khanom.
Mother: (in Turkish) Why do you want to take the kids out, you bitch?
Social worker: If you want to keep the children in this way, I’ll take tham away with me.
Mother: (in Turkish) You took the girls out of the house!
Social worker: Just listen to her! She says that I took out.
Mother: (in Turkish) Zahra, Massoumeh, come here.
Social worker: Come where? I am not letting them come in. they’ve  just been freed from this prison.
Father: (in Turkish) It’s because you don’t let the children be free. Because you lock the door that’s why she doesn’t let the children come back home.
Mother: (in Turkish) You son-of-bitch. . .
Social worker: I talked to you, Soghra Khanom, I asked you to go to the doctor with me, I asked you to leave this house, to talk to your neighbours. This is no life you’re leading.
Father: (in Turkish) Ask the lady to please give you the key so we can unlock the door and go find our children. Soghra! Soghra! You’re not dumb, ask her.
Mother: (in Turkish) Didn’t I ask her, you son-of- a bitch?
Social worker: I am not going to give you any key. You must give me your word that you won’t imprison the children anymore. Otherwise the door will remain locked and you will remain here. And whatever calamity befalls your children would be better than the life they lead in this house.
The two girls are freely running in the empty streets. Some water is runing from under a door. The children immerse their mirrors in the water and for the first time in their life see their own reflection in the mirror and in the water and are astonished.
The children return home.
Father: See, lady? I didn’t put them in prison. They like it in there. Even at night, when we leave this door open for them to get some fresh air, they come and lock it themselves.
Social worker: You’ve got them used to this kind of life.
Father: They got used to it themselves.
Social worker: Well, it’s your doing.
Father: No, I’ve got nothing to do with it.
Social worker: I can’t believe that. Get out, children. I am tired of you. (She chases them out of the door.) You must go make friends yourselves don’t you think?
THE STREETS, (cont’d):
The ice-cream vendor is walking in the street and the girls follow him. At some point Zahra stops next to a goat tied to a tree. A little boy buys an ice-cream from the vendor and goes his way and Massoumeh grabs some ice-creams from the flask of the ice-cream vendor and runs away. The ice-cream vendor runs after her while Zahra goes to his flask, grabs two or three ice-creams and starts eating them with the goat. She even gives one to a child who is passing by in the street. Somewhere else, the ice-cream vendor catches up with Massoumeh.
The ice-cream vendor: give me the money for the ice-cream. (Massoumeh returns the ice-cream to him.) Now that it’s all melted you’re giving it back to me?
A neighbour looks out from her window.
The neighbour: What do you want from her, my boy?
Ice-cream vendor: She won’t give me my money for the ice-cream.
The neighbour: how much is it?
Ice-cream vendor: Twenty tomans.
The neighbour: This girl has been freed from her prison after eleven years and now you’re picking on her?
Ice-cream vendor: She won’t give me my money for the ice-cream.
The neighbour: I’ll pay you. Wait a moment and I’ll bring it to you.
Ice-cream vendor: (addressing Massoumeh) Yes? Is the lady telling the truth? Were you in prison for eleven years?
Massoumeh: Yeah.
Ice-cream vendor: Well, just because someone’s been in prison for eleven years must I not get paid for my ice-cream?
The neighbour: Here’s the money for the ice-cream. And here’s some money for her sister for an ice-cream. And here’s some money for you. Don’t you fight over this again, alright?
The ice-cream vendor and Massoumeh walk in the street and the ice-cream vendor gives Massoumeh some more ice-cream. Massoumeh at first takes her distance from him but then returns and gives her comb and mirror to the ice-cream vendor as a present. The ice-cream vendor thanks her and looks at himself in the mirror.
Dự đoán kết quả xổ số miền bắc, AN HOUR LATER:
The social worker sits beside the iron-bars of the door and the father puts down his tray on the other side. He gives a glass of water to the social worker from the space between the bars.
Father: please drink this glass of water. You must be feeling hot waiting under the sun.
Social worker: thank you very much.
Father: The children have eaten, but I was upset and did not feel like eating. Now I would like to share this bread and cheese with you.
Social worker: You go ahead, please.
A ball is thrown in the courtyard. The social worker looks behind her. The ball bounces here and there in the courtyard.
The father: Didn’t I tell you that I was obliged to lock the door, lady? You see the boys throw their ball in our courtyard; then they ring the bell; and when they see that no-one answers they jump in over the wall. Now if one of them gets up to some mischief with my girls, what will I do?
Some boys climb up the wall and look into the courtyard.
One of the boy:Excuse me.lady, please throw us back the Ball.
The social worker gets up and throws out their ball and returns to sit where she was sitting.
Social worker: do you know what the difficulty is, Dad?
Your children are girls. Had they been boys, they would have gone out with you and played in the streets. They might even have climbed up the walls of other people’s houses.
The father: Have you read a book called “Fatherly Advice”, lady?
Social worker: No.
The father: Have you seen what it says about girls?
Social worker: No.
Father: (Takes out an old book from his pocket and gives it to the social worker through the iron bars.) Here, read it and see what it says about girls. It says that a girl is like a flower and the sun like a man who is a stanger. If the sun shines on the flower, the flower will wither. It’s the old story of the male and the female, the story of cotton and fire. If the fire gets to the cotton it will immediately make it go up in flame.
Social worker: How much education have you had?
Father: I only attended the old-fashioned school for four winters.
Social worker: what do you do for a living?
Father: I don’t have a job. People help me and I pray for them in return and ask God to have mercy for their dead.
The social worker leafs through the book and eventually closes it.
The girls are hypnotized by something which is being dragged on the ground. A young boy is dragging that thing. A few moments later it becomes clear that a water jug is attached to a piece of wood pulled with a string. The girls run behind this thing as if they were under a spell. In another street, they see an apple dangling down a window from a string. This apple goes up and down in the hand of the young boy holding the string. The girls fail to catch the apple despite their efforts.
The young boy: You can’t catch it. . . You can’t catch it even if you jump higher than a horse. . . Now. Who wants an apple. (The girls jump up again and again but fail to catch the apple.). . . Wait a sec. . . I’ll be down in a jiffy.
A moment later, the young boy comes out of the house carrying a stick on his shoulder at the end of which the apple is hanging down from a piece of string.
The young boy: Whoever wants an apple must follow me.
The girls follow him.
The social worker leaves the girl’s house and rings the bell of the next door neighbour’s. the neighbour comes out.
Social worker: Good morning lady, How are you?
Neighbour: Very well, thank you.
Social worker: Do you happen to have a saw?
Neighbour: I was looking out for you, lady, to thank you for bringing the children back home.
Social worker: Not at all. We only did our duty, do you have a saw?
Neighbour: What kind of a saw?
Social worker: To cut of iron with.
Neighbour: No. We have a saw to cut wood with.
The social worker goes to the house opposite. She rings the bell. A moment later one of the neighbour who is an old woman comes out.
Social worker: Good morning.
Neighbour: Good morning, lady.
Social worker: Do have a saw?
Neighbour: why did you return the children, lady?
Social worker: It’ll all work out fine. Do have a saw?
Neighbour: We went through so much trouble to get the children out of this house. Then you brought them back.
Social worker: Goodbye.
The social worker goes to another door and rings the bell. Nother neighbour opens the door.
Social worker: Good morning, lady.
Neighbour: Good morning.
Social worker: Excuse me, but do you have a saw?
Neighbour: What kind of a saw?
Social worker: I need a saw to cut iron bars with.
Neighbour: I’ll bring it to you right away.
Social worker: Thank you.
The neighbour goes inside and returns with a saw to cut iron bars with and gives it to the social worker.
Neighbour: Here you are, lady.
Social worker: Thank you very much.
Neighbour: What’s to become of these kids, lady? If you want to take them away. Then do so, and if they are to stay here, then let them stay here; but why do you keep taking them away and bringing them back?
Social worker: It’ll all work out fine little by little. Goodbye.
The social worker returns to the house of the two girls.
THE HOUSE, (cont’d):
The social worker enters the house with the saw. The father is not there.
Social worker: Where are you, Dad?
Father: I’m here, dear lady. (and he appears.)
Social worker: I am off. I must go and visit other children. You might want to go to the washroom. Since the door is locked, take this saw so you can cut the iron bars with it and come out.
Father: You want me to cut the iron bars off, lady?
Social worker: Yes, you. And they’re going to come and visit this afternoon from the Welfare Organization. If the door is still locked, they’ll take the children with them.
The father looks with astonishment at the saw in his hand.
Father: Must I really cut-off these iron bars?
Social worker: (On her way out.) Yes, sure. I’m off. If you don’t then when they come to visit you from the Welfare Organization this afternoon, they’ll take the children with them.
The social worker leaves and the father starts using the saw to cut off the iron bars. The voice of the mother is heard gradually coming nearer until she appears in person.
Mother: (in Turkish) don’t cut them, son-of-a-bitch. You’ll ruin my house. Agha, don’t allow them to cut them off. Don’t you represent the Government? Don’t cut them. Don’t let them cut. Throw her out, Agha, don’t let her cut them. . . alright, I’ll let the children play in the courtyard. Don’t cut. I won’t lock the door anymore, don’t cut them. I will only lock the door at night. Don’t cut them, son-of-a-bitch.
The girls are roaming the streets following the apple until they get to a fruit-seller and enter his shop after the young boy.
The young boy: We want some apples, Agha.
The fruit-seller: You want some apples? They cost two hundred tomans per kilo. Do you have some money?
The young boy: We don’t have any money.
The fruit-seller: You don’t have any money? So you’ve come to buy some apples just like that?! Well done! . . . Go get some money from your father and come back.
Zahra and Massoumeh have started to eat apples without Permission.
The fruit-seller: Don’t touch those apples. Go get some money from your father. Tell him apples cost two hundred tomans a kilo.
The young boy: Two hundred tomans? I’ll go and get some money from her father and be right back.
The girls are still eating apples when the shouting of the fruit-seller scares them away.
The father is tired. Working has made him feel hot and thirsty. He drinks half of the water in the glass and pours the rest into a flower-pot from between the iron bars. The mother is still complaining.
Mother: (in Turkish) Don’t cut, Agha, the lock will break.if you cut the bars, we won’t be able to lock door at night. Don’t cut them, son-of-a-bitch.
The girls follow the young boy in the house.
The girls: (hardly intelligible) Money. . . Money.
The young boy: Agha, give them some money, they want to buy apples.
Father: Zahra, Massoumeh, my dear children, where were you until now? I nearly died worrying about you.
The young boy: Give them some money, Agha. They want some apples. They grab whatever they see in the hands of other children in the streets.
Father: I am not a miser, my boy, to refuse giving them some money. When they were kids, I gave them a one toman coin each and left. When I came home at dusk, I noticed that Massoumeh could not eat anything. She had swallowed the coin and nothing would go down her throat. I took her to the hospital and spent a day and night there and gave the hospital twenty tomans to take out the one toman coin.
The young boy: You should give them bills so they don’t eat them.
Father: Here, I give you three hundred tomans. Give one hundred tomans to Massoumeh. From the two hundred which remains give one hundred to Zahra and keep one hundred tomans for yourself. Now that I am a prisoner here, look after the children for me.
The young boy: I take this one hundred for me. I give two hudred to the girls. The lady social worker said that the girls should buy things themselves to learn how to.
Father: all are misfortunes come from this lady social worker.
The young boy: I’m off, girls. You go and buy some apples by yourselves.
The boy goes his way. Zahra goes near the iron bars, gives her mirror to her father, utters some thing unintelligible and goes out. The father says his sad pictur behind the bars in the mirror.
Two little girls are playing hopscotch in the park. Zahra and Massoumeh join them and make a mess of their game.
The elder girl: get out of my way.
The younger girl: It’s a shame, let them play with us.
The elder girl: I think they’re both boys.
The younger girl: I think this one’s a boy and the other is a girl.
The elder girl: Are you a boy or a girl?
Massoumeh: (gives an unintelligible answer.)
The elder girl: What? . . . What?. . . Alright, you can be my partner, and she can be her partner. O.k.? Come over here, come.(And the game begins)
The younger girl: (addressing Zahra) jump in the second house. . . No, not like that. . . Jump the way I show you.
The elder girl: (To massoumeh) What’s your name?. . . What’s your name?. . . What? (Massoumeh hits her on the head with her apple.) You hit me? Fine! (addressing The younger girl) Let’s not talk to them anymore. (Massoumeh kisses her.) Alright, I’ll forgive you. Let’s play again. Look how I play (She jumps on one foot and joins her in another frame.) How old are you? (Massoumeh hits her again on the head with her apple making her cry. Addressing The younger girl) Let’s not be on speaking terms with them. (addressing Massoumeh) go away, we’re not friends any more. (Massoumeh offers her the apple.) You hit me with your apple and then offer it to me? I wanted to teach you another game. (Massoumeh caresses her and gives her the apple. The elder girl takes it.) Thank you.
The elder girl starts eating the apple when Massoumeh hits her once more on the head with the other apple she has in her hand and makes her shout.
-              In a brief image, a child’s hand gives an apple to another youngester.
All four girls are sitting on rocks and each is holding an apple in her hand.
The elder girl: look here, you lot, let’s lie down and have a contest. Whoever finishes her apple first is the winner. . . .
All four lie down and the two girls start eating their apples with relish. But Zahra and Massoumeh are painfully rolling on the rocks.
The elder girl: Zahra, you’re behind. Hurry up!
The younger girl: I am going to eat mine slowly so eat tastes better.
The elder girl: But you’re going to lose the game. Eat it up fast.
The younger girl is pushing the swing Zahra is sitting on. Zahra screams frightened.
The younger girl: Don’t be scared. Don’t be scared. Zahra and Massoumeh climb up a semi-cricled shaped monkey-bars which remind one of a prison. The other two girls join them. Massoumeh’s eyes catch the watch on the wrist of the elder girl and she grabs it.
The elder girl: you want a watch? Well, let’s climb down and go buy you a watch.
The four girls go away.
The four girls, holding hand, are walking down the avenue.
The elder girl: There’s a shop selling such pretty watches. Do you want one of those watches? On of those which my father winds up so it rings at six in the morning to wake him up? My father’s watch rings on Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and even on Friday. But on Fridays my father tells us to shut it up so he can sleep.
The younger girl: Don’t buy one like that. It’s no good at all. It wakes you up early in the morning.
The elder girl: I have a friend called Roghieh. She always gets full marks for her dictation. They gave her a watch as a prize like the one my father has. I told our teacher once that it was no good but she told me to hold my tongue since it had nothing to do with me. Also my mother has a watch; she puts it on her wrist whenever she wants to do some embroidery. It’s so very pretty. You should buy one like hers.
The younger girl: That’s right. My mother’s watch is very pretty.
The elder girl: Why not buy one like mine. The hands always show four o’clock but my sister’s watch is no good, hers always shows that it’s eight o’clock. . . Now which one do you fancy? The pretty one my mother has? I’d buy one like it if I had the money. I would really love one.
The neighbour who had paid for Massoumeh’s ice-cream rings the bell.
Father: (from inside the house) the door’s open.
Neighbour: (pushes the door) Good morning. May I come in?
Father: please do.
The neighbour: Are you well?
Father: Welcome.
The neighbour comes in. father is still sawing off the iron bars.
The neighbour: Have you seen your children’s picture in the newspapers?
Father: No I haven’t.
Tne neighbour: take a look.
He gives the newspaper to the father. The father stares at the newspaper. There is a picture of his wife and two daughters in the newspaper on top of which it says:
Father: (in Turkish) My God! That’s the end of me. (And he starts to cry.)
The neighbour: We want to help you, Dad. We want to save your children.
Father: I’ve leaved for sixty-five years with out any one caring where I was or where I lived.
The neighbour: it’s the newspaper, Dad, which have blown it out of all proportions.
Father: see how they’ve made me lose face, O God!
The neighbour: (she can be seen in the mirror Zahra had given to her father and which is now hanging from the iron bars.) We’re also upset because of you. Your children are like our own children.
Father: the poet says: “It’s no easy task to mend a broken vase.” It wouldn’t have come to this if only their mother was not blind, lady. I have no choice, my children are girls.
The neighbour: We meant well when we alerted the Welfare Organization, and they did come to help your children. See how much they’ve changed. At first they didn’t know how to speak, how to greet people, how to buy an ice-cream.
Father: but know I’ve lost my honour.The picture of my wife and two girls is printed in the newspaper.
The neighbour: Your children were suffering, Dad.
Father: they say that I chained my children. When did I chain my children? See, I have cut off the iron bars. I have unlocked this door.
The four children, holding hands, cross over the railway tracks
The elder girl: there’s this shop selling a watch which make a “choo-choo” noise like a train. Massoumeh, you should buy one of those watches. If you saw the pretty watches in that shop you’d go ape. I can’t begin to tell you about them.
A train is heard approaching. Zahra gets scared and screams.
All four girls arrive in the space under the stairs of the overhead railroad bridge. Zahra is so tired that she sits on the stairs but the other girls go over to the watchseller who has on display a few old watches on the ground by the wall.
The elder girl: good morning,Agha.
The watch-seller: good morning Miss.
The elder girl: excuse me but do you have one of those watches witch make a “choo-choo” noise like a train?
The watch-seller:No dear , we don’t have any “choo-choo”train watches at all.
The elder girl: The last time I came here you did have a watch which made the “choo-choo” train  noise.
The watch-seller: that time when you came , the moment you picked up a watch a train pass by overhead and a “choo-choo”noise and you thought that it was the watch making “choo-choo”
All this moment , a train goes past overhead them on the bridge.
The elder girl: Massoumeh, which one do  you like best? …do you want one of these?
Massoumeh choses one to take with her.
The watch-seller: No dear, go and get your father . We don’t sell to children.
 The elder girl: Leave the watch here and let’s go get your father.
The children get going towards the house.
The children enter the house.
The elder girl: Listen lady, these children saw our watches and want to have one.We went to a watch-seller and they personally picked what they wanted. But the watch-seller told them to go and bring their father. This gentleman is their father or their grandfather?
Social worker: Their father.
The elder girl: Agha, your children want to have watches, Why don’t you go buy it for them?
Social worker:Until he finishes cutting off these iron bars he cannot go out of here.
Father: Please be kind enough to open this door for me, lady, I’ll finish my work tonight. I feel tired now.
Social worker: I’ve already told you that until you finish cutting off these bars you cannot get out from behind them.
Father: But I am tired now. I can’t go on anymore. I’ll cut them all off tonight.
Social worker: Since I locked the door myself, I canot open it for you. If the chidren can open it with a key, they’ll take you out. Otherwise you remain where you are. I will now give the key to Zahra. Zahra, can you open the door?
Zahra takes the key but dose not manage to open the door with  it. Massoumeh tries to help her but equally fails to open the door. Gradually their voices rise with excitement until finally they succeed to open the door and take their father by the hand and make him come out from behind the iron bars.
Father: Soghra! The children are taking me out.
Look after the house. There’s no-one in. The door’s open.
Then they all leave the house.The social worker follows them. The mother feeling all along comes out into the corridor.
Mother: (in Turkish) Where did you go, Agha…. Zahra, my dear child , come eat your lunch (she whispers to herself.) You son –of- bich … I’ll give you hell. You bastard (shouting) Bring the dirty washing, I’ll take care of it. Zahra dear, get up and come here by me.
Now the mother leaves the corridor and unconsciously stands before the mirror. Her picture is reflected in the mirror. She has her face totally covered and we cannot see her. She whispers to herself in Turkish.
Mother: Where are they taking you? You are incapable oflooking after the children ….Help me to take them out, Agha. (In a loud voice) Zahra, dearest, where are you …(whispering)I can’t believe it.My own child. I ‘ve been through hell…Don’t cut them. You bastard. I’ll go this way ….Don’t go, ther’s water coming this way… Let go of my tchador. Help me take them out of here Their father wants to take them out,but I am scared…Come , take your chidren’s hands and let’s go….
She walks slowly in the courtyard and leaves the house. The social worker who was waiting outside until this instant,leaves too and goes about her business.
     Mother: ( as if has sensed someone’s presence in the street.) shut up , you bitch!
She then crosses the waterway which runs in the middle of the street and goes towards the opposite wall. An apple dangling from a piece of string and swaying to and for touches her face .
Mother : Come , my love. Come here,my Zahra…Let’s go,Agha.
Now it becames clesr that the dangling apple which is turning around the mother’s head and occasionally touching her head and face is due to the naughtiness of the neighbour’s son.Now , in order to control the apple , the naughty boy uses even his feel to move the strings.
Mother: (whispering ) Don’t cut them you bastard. Where are you going? Which way are you going? Protect me you saints in heaven , which way are you going? The children are here ….Come near them ….Don’t let go of them…(in a loud voice ) Zahra, tell your father that the front door is open, let’s all go in.
The apple hits several times against the mother’s head. The mother who had so far mistaken the apple with her chilren, becomes curious and slips out one of her hands and trise to catch the apple. But the apple keeps slipping out of her hand .Then the mother brings out her arm from under her tchador  thus showing the colour of her dress and a tiny bit of her face. The naughty boy on the window-sill tries with the help of his foot to place the apple in the hand of the mother and succeeds in doing so.
Mother: (grabbing the apple) Come, don’t leave me.
The voice of the street vendor: Salt,dry bread,salt!
Dự đoán kết quả xổ số miền bắc Summer of 1997