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Silence script (English)

Sat, 31/10/1998 - 23:00

Mohsen Makhmalbaf
First day:
A house by the lake, Morning.
[Two beds are spread on a veranda overlooking the lake shore. A hand rhythmically knocks the door. Khorshid’s mother rises.
More rhythmic knocks on the door. This time khorshid – a blind nine – year – old boy – rises without opening his eyes, but follows the sound of his mother’s footsteps to the door. The door is opened, but khorshid cannot hear anything save the whiz of a bee. Reaches for a jar whit a bee in it. Removes the lid to let the bee fly out. Raises his hands skyward to pray.]
Khorshid: O God, may the bee find his way back home safe and sound.
Mother: [Closes the door and turns back] Khorshid, my dear!
Khorshid: yeah.
Mother: The landlord was here. Says give the rent or your things will be out there. How many days are there to the end of the month?
Khorshid: Five.
Row of bread sellers, Moments later.
[A row of girls selling bread, each with a loaf of bread in her hand. Khorshid and his mother walk past them. She touches a couple of the loaves to examine them. Likes none.]
Girls selling bread: Come on sister, come on. Take breads auntie. They’re cheap. Eighty somes[Tajikistan currency on that time]. Buy cheaply. Warm bread eighty somes.
Khorshid: [Touches them to see how fresh they are] How much are your breads? . . . They are dry. How much are yours? They are stale. How much are these? Dry . . . And Yours?
Girls selling bread: Warm bread. Come on auntie. They’re cheap.
[Khorshid listens to the voices. Each girl is advertising for her bread. He finally buys from the most pleasant voice.]
Khorshid: How much?
Pretty girl: One hundreds and twenty somes. You can pay one hundred.
Khorshid: This girl has got a pleasant voice.
Mother: The one who has pleasant voice has got no fresh bread.
Pretty girl: My breads are fresh, auntie. See for yourself. Take them. Come again to buy from me.
Khorshid: Mum, her breads are fresh.
Pretty girl: Come again auntie to buy bread.
[Khorshid takes the bread and bites off it, as though biting the vendor. The mother touches the bread and realizes that his son has bought the driest loaf. Khorshid chews the bread, joyfully listening to his own crunches.]
Khorshid: Mum, her bread is hard, but her voice is soft.
Fruit vendors, continued.
[A row of girls selling fruits, each with a tray or basket full of fruits on her shoulder. Fearing that khorshid be tempted by the voices of the young girls into buying unripe fruit, she stats to whisper in his ears.]
Mother: Dear child! Fruit – selling girls don’t advertise them. I’ll choose the ones to buy.
Khorsid: No, mum, I can tell by the voices of the fruits which ones are sweet.
First girl selling fruit: Buy pomergrantes, auntie.
Second girl selling fruit: Buy apples, auntie.
[Khorshid is walking past a girl who pushes forth her fruit tray to block his way. He takes an apple, touches it and squizzes it to hear its sound against the pressure.]
Khorshid: Mum. That’s sour.
[Khorshid is followed by her mother. A girl whom we do not see stops him with her basket of cherries. Khorshid reaches into the basket to take a pair of big cherries and balances them on his finger, making them dance by a flip of his other finger. The girl takes them back from him. Khorshid touches the girl’s face and chin. We do not see more than her chin.]
Khorshid: Are you Sa‘âdat?
Sa‘âdat: How did you know?
Khorshid: [Laughs mischievously] Your face is like a pear.
Sa‘âdat: Hello, auntie.
Mother: Hello, Sa‘âdat. I buy your cherries, and you take Khorshid to the bus station?
Sa‘âdat: Alright.
[The mother opens her kerchief; Sa‘âdat empties the basket into it. The mother gives the kerchief to Korshid. Sa‘âdat takes his hand and leads him away.]
Cotton field, Moments later.
[Young girls are cropping the cotton. Khorshid and sa‘âdat walk past the field. She sits somewhere to pick cotton flower.]
Sa‘âdat: Khorshid!
Khorshid: Yeah.
Sa‘âdat: I pick this cotton so that you put it into your ears.
First station, continued.
[Sa‘âdat and Khorshid stand in the station.]
Sa‘âdat: Khorshid!
Khorshid: Yeah.
Sa‘âdat: When you get on the bus, put your hands on your ears. If you hear a voice and faint, you get lost, your mother is anxious and we have to look for you to find you and take you back home. Do you understand?
Khorshid: Yeah.
Sa‘âdat: What did I tell you?
Khorshid: When on the bus, I keep my hand on my ears so that I won’t hear a pleasant voice, lose my mind and lose my way.
Sa‘âdat: What happens if you lose your way?
Khorshid: I’ll be sacked.
[The bus arrives.]
Sa‘âdat: Khorshid! Here is the bus. Bye.
Khorshid: Bye.
Sa‘âdat: Will you take this boy?
Driver: Till where?
Sa‘âdat: The last station.
Driver: Get on.
Sa‘âdat: [Helps Khorshid get on the bus] Take care of him. He can’t see. He loses his way if he takes off at the wrong place.
Driver: Don’t worry. I’ll look after him.
Sa‘âdat: [Gives the fare to the driver] Good luck. [The bus is off.]
On the bus, Moment later.
[Khorshid has put his fingers in his ears. Total silence. The bus is on the way. He slackens his finger for a moment to know where they are. The voices of two school girls talking. Khorshid removes his fingers to listen to them. They are memorizing a poem by Omar Khayyam from their textbook.
Ah my Beloved, fill the cup clears
To - day of past Regrets and future Fears –
To – morrow? – Why, To – morrow I may be
Myself with Yesterday’s Sev’n Thousand Years.
Playfully reading the poem, the two girls fail to learn it by heart. They keep reading and repeating it over and over only to recite it wronly. Together with them, the boy learns the poem by heart, and, to their amazement, intervenes to recite it faultlessly.]
First girl: How come you who are blind could have read this poem?
Khorshid: The eyes take away your intelligence. Now if you cover your eyes, you’ll learn better. Close your eyes and repeat with me.
[The girls close their eyes and keep repeating with Khorshid so to memorize the poem. Suddenly one of them opens her eyes to see that they are past the school station.]
First girl: [Shouts]: Stop! We’re past the school.
Khorshid: [With amazement] You’re past the school?
First girl: That’s your fault to tell us to close our eyes. Stop!
[The bus stops. The girls rise to get off. Khorshid follows them.]
Driver: [To Khorshid] Where do you go, kid?
Khorshid: I go to take them to school.
Driver: You lose your way. Sit down.
Last station, Moments later.
[Nadereh, an eleven-year-old girl, is waiting for Khorshid. First we do not see more than her lips and a plait of her hair. The bus stops. She and Khorshid walk away.]
Nadereh: Today you arrived early. Didn’t you hear a pleasant voice?
Khorshid: I did. The pleasant voices of the girls.
Nadereh: What have you brought to eat?
Khorshid: Bread.
Nadereh: And?
Khorshid: Cherries.
Nadereh: Are they delicious?
Khorshid: Yeah.
The grand bazaar, continued.
[Khorshid and nadereh enter a big, busy bazaar. Holding Khorshid’s kerchief, Nadereh takes the cherries out of it and eats them one by one. Khorshid is closely following Nadereh. Pleasant sound of music approaches from a corner, luring Khorshid away when passing by him. The music, coming from the radio a passer – by is carrying, entralls Khorshid, strays him from Nadereh. A moment later Nadereh notices that she has lost the boy. Shouting his name, she runs everywhere, but Khorshid is magnetized by the radio as long as the music is being played. When it is finished, he, too, notices that he has lost his companion. Crying her name, he anxiously returns, but receives no response: he is once again lured by the sound of music. It is from a tea-house. Absorbed by the tune, he stands by tea-house’s wall.
Disappointed of finding him visually, Nadereh closes her eyes and tries to trace him through her ears, because she knows that he, as usual, has been led astray by the sound of music. Finally she hears the sound of music in the distance. Moving towards it, she opens her eyes when she is close enough to the source to find Khorshid.]
Nadereh: Khorshid!
Khorshid: Yeah.
Nadereh: Did you lose your way?
Khorshid: Yeah.
Nadereh: We’re late.
Khorshid: Let’s go.
Outside of the musical instruments workshop,  Moments later.
[Nadereh and Khorshid arrive at the shop making musical instruments.]
Nadereh: Khorshid!
Khorshid: Yeah.
Nadereh: Here we are.
Khorshid: I’m afraid of the oldie.
Nadereh: If the oldie make a fuss, I’ll tel him Khorshid lost his way. Cover your ears. Don’t be afraid.
[She takes a piece of cotton out of Khorshid’s kerchief and pushed bits of it into his ears before entering the shop.]
musical instruments workshop, Moments later.
[A big workshop. Tree trunks are being cut in a corner. The cut trunks are hollowed and turned into musical instruments in another corner. In the middle of the place there is a sound-proof glass room for Khorshid where he tunes the instruments, free from the hustle and bustle of the workshop. The girl and the boy go into the small room. Speaking on the telephone, the white-haired owner of the shop registers a phone number on an abacus and goes to the glass room.
He pulls the piece of the cotton out of Khorshid’s ear and finds it too clean to have been put into his ears more than a few minutes earlier.]
Oldie: Why’re you late?
Nadereh: The bus arrived late.
Oldie: It’s late every day, isn’t it? [Takes Khorshid by the ear and pulls him into a corner where a bee buzz is heard.] What kind of sound do you hear? [To nadereh] Tell me, why doesn’t he answer?
Nadereh: [Tries to relay the oldie’s words so that the boy can hear him] What do hear Khorshid?
Khorshid: A bee.
Nadereh: He can hear a bee buzz.
Oldie: A bee sitting on flowers or a wasp sitting on shit?
Khorshid: A shit-sitting one.
Oldie: How did you know?
Khorshid: It’s buzz is awful.
Oldie: Why?
Khorshid: It sits on bad flowers.
Oldie: Just like you… What happens if a bee sits on stinking flowers?
Khorshid: It’s honey won’t be good.
Oldie: What if its honey won’t be good?
Khorshid: It’ll be sent away.
Oldie: so will be you if you arrive late tomorrow.
Nadereh: When you get on the bus, if you don’t put your hands on your ears, you’ll lose your mind and you won’t be able to tune the instruments. Understand?
Khorshid: Yeah.
Nadereh: Musical instruments are being sent back from the school, because you can’t tune well enough. Understand?
Khorshid: Yeah.
Oldie: Go to the spring to bring some water.
[Nadereh is off to the spring to bring water.]
Beside the spring, Moments later.
[Nadereh arrives at the spring with the jar. She takes a small mirror out from underneath her clothes, looks at herself, hangs a pair of cherries from her ears. She bends to pick the petals of a beautiful flower, which she attaches to her nails like red polish. She looks in the mirror again.
- short insert of the ‘polished’ nails beside the cherry ear-rings. The jar is filled with spring water. Nadereh walks back.]
the musical instrument shop, Moments later.
[Nadereh arrives. Pours water from the jar into the oldie’s bowl.]
Oldie: Go to see that Khorshid won’t tune the instruments badly.
[Nadereh comes into the glass room where no outside sound is heard. Khorshid is tuning the instruments. The oldie is sitting on the other side of the glass, but he cannot hear the instruments being tuned behind the sound-proof glass. Nor does Khorshid hear the noise of the workshop. Now Nadereh is dancing to the on-and-off bits of music played by Khorshid as he turns the pigs of the instruments he is adjusting. The oldie looks at her dance to see if the instruments are being tuned rightly. In this way he mimicks to Nadereh in case he notices that the instrument Khorshid is pluking at is not tuned properly. She relays the oldie’s message to Khorshid.]
Nadereh: Khorshid! The oldie says the instrument is not tuned well.
Second day:
Khorshid’s home, Early in the morning.
[The beds of Khorshid and his mother are spread on a veranda overlooking the lake shore. The door is knocked rhythmically. The mother puts on her scarf. More rhythmic knocks. This time Khorshid raises his head from the pillow and through his ear follows his mother walking to the door. He takes the empty jar and holds it in the air. Instants later the bee flies back into it. He puts the jar on his ear and listens to the bee’s buzz.]
Khorshid: [To the bee] Don’t chat so mauch with the wasps sitting on shit, or your sound will be foul. Yesterday your buzz was zizzz. Now you are back whit vizzzz. I’ll send you away.
Mother: Khorshid!
Khorshid: Yeah.
Mother: When there was the war, nine hundred somes made thirty dollars. Now it is one dollar. The rent should increase.
Khorshid: [To the bee] Don’t chat so much with the wasps sitting on shit or your sound will be foul.
Mother: Khorshid!
Khorshid: Yeah.
Mother: The landlord was here. He said the war is over and the refugees are back, so the rent should go up.
Khorshid: What am I to do?
Mother: Take a month of your pay from you’re the oldie so that I can give it to the landlord.
Bus station, The bus, Day.
[sa‘âdat helps Khorshid get on the bus. He sits in it. The assistant driver sprinkles the windshield with a bucket. Startled by the sound, Khorshid puts his hands on his ears.
- short insert: Khorshid’s mother fishing by the water.
The assistant driver is still sprinkling water on the windshield. Khorshid removes his hands off his ears every now and then only to cover his ears again against the annoying noise. Once when he removes his hand, he hears a musical instrument being played. He listens attentively. A pupil who is exercising a drill gets off at the next station. Khorshid follows him.]
The coppersmiths bazaar, Moments later.
[Now the plucks of the pupil and the clang of the hammers hitting copper are intermingled. The hammers seem to be hitting not the metal, but Khorshid’s head. He puts his hands on his ears. The cacophony relinquishes, but the music fades away altogether. As he removes his finger, the sounds rush again. Unable to orientate the sound of music he hears, he drifts, led away by the sounds hither and thither. Bewildered, He asks a boy in a coppersmith’s shop as to where the boy playing the music might be.]
Khorshid: Brother, brother.
Boy: Yeah.
Khorshid: Where is the sound of music going?
Boy: what?
Khorshid: Where is the sound of music going?
Boy: That way.
Khorshid: Which way?
Boy: [Taps him on the shoulder] That way.
[Khorshid heads for the direction he is hinted at.]
The music school, continud.
[Khorshid enters music school. Girls and boys are practising their drills everywhere round the court. Listening his way for the lost melody, Khorshid finds himself among the pupils cacophonously playing their drills. But all the instruments sound out of tune. The principal spots Khorshid among the pupils.]
principal: Hey kid, come here. All stop playing. Come here, lad.
Khorshid: Yeah.
Principal: You work at the oldie’s, don’t you?
Khorshid: Yeah.
Principal: Tell the oldie we will stop buying from him if he keeps on making such instruments. [To a boy] You kid, bring that instrument here. [Points the instrument to Khorshid] All these instruments are awful, all their frets misplaced [Plays it. It sounds badly.] we’ll buy from elswhere if he keeps on making such gadgets. Sure you’ll tell this to the oldie. Take this instrument to him. [To the pupils] Everybody’s ready?
[Kids take their instruments, ready to play. The principal beings to conduct them. Holding the rejected instrument in one hand, Khorshid is curious to know the meaning of the movements of the principal. Touches his body, then his hands, as though slowly learning the relation between these movements and the musical instruments. Leaves the school.]
By the lake, Moments later.
[It is raining. Khorshid is running to save the musical instrument from the rain. He stumbles and falls, the instrument lands at a distance. He gropes to find it, to no avail. He listens. The rain drops fall on the musical instrument, playing a bizarre tune. Khorshid finds it by tracing the music the rain is playing on it. Resumes running and reaches a thatch, but it is too small to shelter him and the instrument which is being played by the drain drops. He shifts his place to let the musical instrument be protected by the thatch. Now he is shivering with cold. A moment later the shelter moves, leaving him and the instrument exposed. He runs after the thatch which we can now see has been but the cover of a passer-by. A moment later Khorshid is neck-deep in the lake, the musical instrument floating on the waves, as though he, the instrument and water have grown congruous.
-short inserts of Khorshid moving his hands like the principal, and the birds flying off.]
The workshop, An hour later.
[Nadereh is anxiously looking at Khorshid who is facing the oldie in the glass room. Moment later the oldie send Nadereh to Khorshid.]
oldie: [To Nadereh] Khorshid arrived late today. No wage for him. Take him to the bus station to his home.
Nadereh: alright.
[She goes to the glass room. Khorshid is plucking the strings of an instrument to adjust it. Nadereh sits in front of him on a tree trunk.]
Nadereh: Khorshid!
Khorshid: Yeah.
Nadereh: The oldie has fired you. He said no wage for you. Get up. We’ll go.
Khorshid: No.
Nadereh: Why?
Khorshid: Every day a guy comes to knock our door: Ba ba ba bam. Ba ba ba bam. He says he’ll throw our things out if we don’t give him the rent. We have only four days. My mother told me to ask for a month’s wage in advance from the oldie so we can give it to the bloke.
Nadereh: How did he knock the door, you said?
Khorshid: Ba ba ba bam.
Nadereh: Ba ba ba ba?
[Khorshid plays a Robab: Ba ba ba bam.
With a cherry hanging from her ear and petals on her nails, Nadereh dances to the tunes in close-ups, with no more than his lips, an eye, an ear, or an ear-ring visible. The oldie taps threateningly onto the glass, scaring her.]
specific place, Day.
[Walking, Khorshid moves his hand like the principal. With his hand movements, birds fly off.]
Third day:
Home, Early in the morning.
[rhythmic knocks the door. Mother goes to the door, opens it, talks with the landlord, comes back.]
Mother: Khorshid!
Khorshid: Yeah.
Mother: Only three more days.
Khorshid: I say to the oldie but he won’t listen to me.
Bus station, the bus, an hour later:
[Khorshid gets on the bus. Now he pushes his fingers so firmly into his ears that he hears nothing. His face is red from the pressure on his ears. The bus tops and a turkmen gets on, playing his musical instrument. Khorshid puts his hands on his ears and hears the sound of water. The player comes near him and plays close to his ear. Khorshid hears the gentle sound of waves. He removes his hand and the sound of music is like the sound previously made by the rain drops on the musical instrument. When the bus tops, he follows the street musician as the latter gets off.]
On the road, continued.
[Khorshid follows the musical instrument in his mind, but the sound seems to go further as he walks. The player is sitting on a droshky on the way. Khorshid stops a cart pulled by a boy.]
Khorshid: Stop. Stop.
Boy: Where do you go?
Khorshid: I’m following that instrument.
Boy: Give ten somes and get on.
Khorshid: You’re not a bus to ask for ten, are you? Each station one som.
Boy: Three.
Khorshid: Two.
Boy: Get on.
[Now the droshky and the cart are on the way. The droshky turns a bend and so does the cart. The boy pulling it is short of breath.]
The cart boy: The first station was two somes. . . . The fourth station was eight [He is so exhausted he stops]. Now it is ten somes. I can’t carry on.
[Khorshid gets off. The cart goes its way.]
The coppersmiths bazaar, Moments later.
[Walking along the coppersmiths’ bazaar, Khorshid is still imitating the knocks of the landlord on the door. But the hammers make such a loud noise that his rhythm is distracted. In some place he stops to listen to the hammers of a coppersmith, finding the rhythm close to that of the landlord’s knocks. He tries to accopmany the blows with his mouth, but the fourth note is discordant with the coppersmith’s. puts his hands on his ears, muffling the sound. Tries to repeat the knocking rhythm with his mouth so to find the difference between that and hammer’s. the discord is in the fourth blow.]
Khorshid: [To the first coppersmith boy] This tune of yours isn’t nice. Play after me: Ba ba ba bam...
Boy 1: Go away.
Khorshid: [To the second coppersmith boy] Don’t play inordinately. Play it nicely.
[Taking him for a beggar, the second boy reaches in his pocket for a coin which he puts in Khorshid’s hand. Khorshid refuses to accept it.]
Khorshid: I’m not asking for money. I’m looking for pleasant sound.
Boy 1: Hey, he is not a beggar. He says play it this way [Play the ba ba ba bam rhythm]. Understand?
Boy 2: Come here, don’t go away, lad.
The workshop, An hour later.
[Nadereh is standing, testing the tambourines by tapping on them close to her ear. Khorshid is listening to the sounds.]
Nadereh: Listen, does this tambourine sound nicely?
Khorshid:[Listens] No.
Nadereh: [Tests another tambourine] What about this one?
Khorshid: Out of tune.
[The oldie appears behind Khorshid, knocks on the glass. Nadereh gets his message.]
Nadereh: The oldie complains that Khorshid is always late, and doesn’t tune the instruments well enough. People send back the instruments they buy from us. He says you have damaged his business. He has fired you.
Outside the workshop, An hour later.
[Nadereh comes out of the workshop. Khorshid is sitting somwhere near.]
Nadereh: Khorshid.
Khorshid: Yeah.
Nadereh: Get up and follow me.
Khorshid: No. The oldie is nasty. He embarrassed me.
Khorshid: Don’t worry. He is upset at the moment. His on was killed in the war. He was reminded of him. Get up, we’ll go to the spring.
[Khorshid follows Nadereh.]
On the way to the spring, Moments later.
[Both are walking. Nadereh suddenly hesitates and stop.]
Nadereh: I’m scared, Khorshid.
Khorshid: Why?
Nadereh: A man with a rifle sits there and quarrels with any girl who is not wearing a scarf.
Khorshid: Let’s go another way.
Nadereh: This way.
[They change direction. Nadereh again stops. She is scared.]
Nadereh: We have taken the wrong route. The gunman is sitting there. What shall we do?
Khorshid: We walk past him rapidly, without looking at him.
[They walk fast. A bearded guerrilla is sitting somewhere playing a musical instrument, taking no notice of them. Khorshid stops to listen to the tune he is playing. Nadereh pulls him along.
They arrive at the spring. Nadereh takes out a mirror from underneath her clothes. Looks at herself, passes the mirror to Khorshid.]
Khorshid: [Touches the mirror] What’s it?
Nadereh: A mirror.
Khorshid: What’s that for?
Nadereh: To see oneself. I can see myself in it.
[She sits down to pick flowers to use their petals as nail polish.]
Khorshid: Am I in it too?
Nadereh: Yeah.
Khorshid: Where am I in it?
Nadereh: [Rises and draws a circle on the dust covering the mirror] This for your face. [Puts two short horizontal in the circle] These for your eyebrows. [Adds one short vertical line] This for your nose. [And one more short horizontal line] Your mouth. [The sun shines through the sketch on the mirror] This is you, Khorshid. [Leaves the mirror in the hand of Khorshid and goes for picking more flowers. Moments later she hears the mirror shatter to pieces.]
Nadereh: Did you break it?
Khorshid: I’m very sorry.
[Nadereh runs the mirror smashed on the ground. Her image is in a broken half. Khorshid approaches her. His image is in the other half. Nadereh picks up the half in which Khorshid’s image is reflected, Khorshid takes the other half with the girl’s image.
Now Khorshid’s black shirt is on the yellow leaves covering the ground. Khorshid sleeps on his shirt.]
Nadereh: I go. Now the oldie is sad. When he is glad, I’ll come to fetch you.
Khorshid: As you like it.
[Nadereh walks past the trees that have nothing but yellow leaves. Khorshid is sleeping under a cover of yellow leaves.]
Fourth day:
House, Early in the morning.
[The same rhythmic knocks on the door. Mother comes from the door to Khorshid.]
Mother: Dear Khorshid.
Khorshid: Yeah.
Mother: We have just one more day. Go to plead with the oldie to give you one month’s pay in advance. If we don’t give it to the landlord, he’ll throw us out. I’m a woman. Where could I go?
Khorshid: I did, dear mum. But he won’t give me.
Mother: Plead with him, dear child.
First bus, An hour later.
[Trying to find the street musician, Khorshid checks each bus by listening to the sounds coming out of it.]
Khorshid: Didn’t you see the man who played as nicely as the rain?
Passenger 1: I didn’t.
Khorshid: [To another passenger] Did you happen to see the man who played as nicely as the rain?
Passenger 2: Was he a man or a boy?
Khorshid: A man.
Pasenger 3: Did he play it beautifully?
Khorshid: Yeah.
Passenger 3: I saw a man who begged. He got off two stations down the road.
Khorhid: Stop, stop. I want get off.
Second bus, Moments later.
[Khorshid gets on the bus. Asking the people for the street musician.]
Khorshid: Didn’t you see a man who played it pleasantly?
Passenger 1: I didn’t.
Khorshid: Did you happen to see a man who played it pleasantly?
Passenger 2: No. I didn’t. [Holds his hand to help him] Sit here.
Khorshid: [Sits down] How could I find him?
Passenger 2: Why should you find him?
Khorshid: Yesterday I lost my way when following him. My master fired me. I told him it was not my fault, it was his instrument’s fault. My master said I should bring the street musician to beg him to let me stay.
Passenger 2: No, I didn’t.
Khorshid: Stop, stop. I want to get off.
Passenger 2: Stop. This kid is to take off.
[Khorshid gets off and walks away.]
By the lake, At the same time.
[The mother is angling by the lake. A man is angling beside him. They speak in Russian.]
Angler: What are you going to do now?
Mother: When these things broke out, my husband went to Russia and never returned. I am alone and have no one to support my son.
Angler: I too am heading for Russian, but no one is waiting for me there.
Mother: I am a tenant. The landlord wants me to pay the rent. I have got no money. Lend me some if you have got any.
Angler: That’s what I’m always short of. I’m a pensioner. I hardly earn my daily bread.
Mother: Yesterday I spent the whole day here. But I could not even catch a single fish.
Angler: I spend days on end here before I catch one.
Outside the workshop, An hour later.
[Khorshid has found the street musician. Both are heading for the workshop. Nadereh is standing by its closed door.]
Khorshid: [To the street musician] Tell the oldie it was the driver’s fault that I lost my way, and that I won’t arrive late any more.
Nadereh: Khorshid!
Khorshid: [he stands in front of her] Yeah.
Nadereh: The oldie has locked the door and gone to find another assistant. [To the street musician] If they don’t give the landlord the rent tomorrow, he’ll throw out their things.
Street musician: [To Nadereh] Didn’t you tell your father the problem of this boy?
Nadereh: The oldie only keeps me. He is not my father.
Street musician: [To Khorshid] Don’t cry. Go home and come here tomorrow morning.
Khorshid: It was your tune’s fault that I was late. I used to keep my ears shut on the way to work. I lost my way because of your nice music.
Nadereh: I am very sorry, but I’d like to accompany you.
Street musician: It’s alright, my daughter. Let’s go to my friends to see what we can do.
[They leave.]
By the lake, An hour later.
[The street musician sings. His song is something between the bark of a dog the bleat of a sheep. That is why the herd’s dog comes toward him and the flock greets him. The musician, Khorshid and Nadereh reach the place of his friend and sit down.]
Street musician: Well, dear Khorshid, tomorrow morning we’ll ome to your place to play for your landlord so that he won’t throw out your things, good?
Khorshid: Our landlord doesn’t like music. He likes money.
Street musician: Everyone likes music. We’ll come and try. We’ll play for him. He may go soft and give more time.
Nadereh: If you give him the money, he won’t throw out the things.
Street musician: Dear, if we had the money, we wouldn’t be wandering about.
Nadereh: Khorshid, it’s getting late. Get up.
Khorshid: You go that way, I go this way.
[The musician plays a horse’s trotting on his instrument as they leave. The herd’s horse trots in water. Excited by the rhythm, Khorshid goes away trotting.]
Fifth day:
The house by the lake, Morning.
[The street musician and his friends, with the horse, the dog and the flock, are standing by the water, facing Khorshid’s place. Khorshid and nadereh are sitting a little further, waiting. Moments later a boat gets near the house. The musician and his friends start playing, but the landlord keeps rowing, ignoring the group on the shore.]
Nadereh: Khorshid.
Khorshid: Yeah.
Nadereh: A boat is coming toward your place.
Khorshid: Who is in it?
Nadereh: A fat man. The boat stopped in front of your house. . . The man is talking with your mother.
Khorshid: What does he say?
Nadereh: Don’t know.
[The dog barks, the sheep are restless and the group stops playing.]
Nadereh: Khorshid.
Khorshid: Yeah.
Nadereh: The man is making your mother sad. He’s throwing out your belongings into the boat.
[The musicians play another tune so to appease the landlord. But they fail even to attract his attention. Khorshid’s mother comes forth with her belongings of which only a mirror is visible. The sun is being reflected in the mirror.]
Nadereh: Khorshid.
Khorshid: Yeah.
Nadereh: Your mother is sitting in the boat with her belongings. [Khorshid gets up to go] Where are you going?
[Khorshid goes to the street musician. They stop playing.]
Khorshid: I have a long way to go. Play the trotting of the horse.
[They play the horse-trot. Khorshid trots away. His mother calls him, but to on avail.]
The coppersmiths bazaar, An hour later.
[Khorshid I still trotting like a horse.]
Coppersmith boy: [who had mistaken him for a beggar in the previous visit] Come her kid. [He then plays the ba ba ba bam rhythm by banging his hammer on a cauldron. Hearing it, Khorshid stops and returns. A second coppersmith joins to repeat the same tune with his hammer. Khorshid, like a conductor, stand in front of them and raises his hands.]
Khorshid: The big cauldron once, the small cauldron three times. Understand?
Coppersmith boys: Yeah.
[Khorshid moves his hands like coppers while conducting the coppersmith boys who hit their hammers according to his. Cut. The whole bazaar is being conducted by Khorshid who is standing in the middle of the square: Ba ba ba bam.
Khorshid stands under a column of sunlight coming from a circle in the ceiling. He stops moving his hands. The bazaar falls silent. A moment later he resumes moving his hands. This time, the opening bars of Beethoven’s Fifth symphony are heard.]
Mohsen Makhmalbaf
Winter 1998