By Genory Vanz Alfasain
(The short film made from this screenplay was screened at the 2014 SalaMindanaw International Film Festival in General Santos City and at the 2014 Mindanao Film Festival in Davao City, where it was a nominee for the Best Film award. Portions of this screenplay were altered or excluded during the shooting of the film.)
1. Ext/Day—Outside the Classroom
Jamir is in a hurry to go to his classroom. We see that he is the only student who is still outside the school.
2. Int/Day—Inside the Classroom—Cont.
Jamir is late for his class. We see that the class is in the middle of a discussion. When he steps into the classroom, we notice the grade vi–sampaguita signage. The teacher stops talking. (We also notice the poster of former president Fidel V. Ramos above the blackboard). She looks at Jamir. His classmates also look at him.
Good morning, ma’am. I’m sorry, I’m late.
Good morning, Jamir. It’s OK. You may sit down.
Jamir sits down beside Ryan, his best friend.
Nganong late man ka?
(Why are you late?)
Jamir looks at Ryan and smiles.
3. Int/Day—Inside the Classroom—Cont.
The teacher resumes talking to the class. Jamir listens to her attentively.
What do you want to do in life? What’s your ambition?
Please raise your hand if you want to answer.
Almost all of the students raise their hands to answer the questions.
Ma’am! Ma’am! Ma’am!
Gusto ko maging doctor, ma’am.
Gusto ko po kasing gamutin ang mga may sakit.
(I want to become a doctor, ma’am.
I want to treat sick people.)
Ma’am, ako gusto ko maging politiko para mapatubigan ko ang aming purok.
(Ma’am, I want to be a politician so that I could put up a water system in our purok.)
The teacher continues to recognize her students.
Ma’am! (Ryan raises his right hand.)
Ma’am, gusto ko maging sundalo.
Gusto ko po kasing ipagtanggol ang naaapi.
(Ma’am, I want to become a soldier.
I want to defend the oppressed.)
We notice that Jamir is really thinking hard about the answer. While his classmates are enthusiastic to answer the questions, Jamir seems deaf.
How about you, Jamir? What’s your ambition in life?
Jamir stands up. He cannot look directly at his teacher.
Ahmm . . .
The class falls silent. They stare at Jamir, waiting for his answer. Jamir looks tense and confused. He cannot utter a word.
4. Ext/Day—On the Road Going to Jamir’s House
Jamir is walking to his home. He sees a group of military men chatting with one other. He stops walking, hesitant to continue. We notice that he is sweating. Jamir stares at the military men for some moments more, and then he avoids them and takes a different route.
5. Int/Night—Jamir’s House
Jamir is studying his lessons in front of a kerosene lamp. The house is lighted by these lamps. He reads aloud the words in the book. In the background, we see the (6R framed) photo of his father on the wall. Aya, his mother, is busy preparing supper. Jamir stops reading. He looks at his mother and hesitantly asks a question.
Ina, aden den balita ke Ama?
(Mother, is there any news about Father?)
Aya freezes and becomes contemplative. She walks to the table and sits beside Jamir. She puts her hand on Jamir’s head and touches his hair. There is silence. Aya looks at the framed photo of her husband on the wall.
6. Int/Day—Jamir’s House
Jamir folds a shirt and puts it on top of other folded clothes. The clothes are small, an indication that they are his. He takes the clothes to a cabinet. As he puts them inside, he sees the uniform of his father for the Moro National Liberation Front. He takes it out. He scans it. He pauses. He puts the uniform down. He stares at it for a moment. He sighs. He puts the uniform back inside.
7. Ext/Day—At the Gate of the School
Jamir is standing in front of the school gate. He sees a schoolmate with his father. The father is fetching his son. Jamir stares at them. The father touches the hair of his son. The son is happy to see his father. Jamir stares at them until they are gone. Ryan comes to the scene and taps Jamir on his bag.
8. Int/Day—Jamir’s House
Jamir arrives. Aya is busy preparing for lunch. Aya wonders why her son has come home early.
Mibpanay ka lagi? Da klase na nu?
(Why are you early? Don’t you have class?)
Da teacher nami. Minuli ko den mapanay ka abpangagi ko.
(We have no teacher. I decided to go home early to study.)
9. Int/Day—Jamir’s House—Later
Jamir is reading his book in his room. He stops reading and goes to the kitchen. He gets a glass of water. Aya is washing the dishes. As Jamir walks back to his room, he notices a booklet on the table. The booklet is about the Moro National Liberation Front. Jamir stops, he looks at it for a second and then goes back to his room.
10. Ext/Day—Outside of Jamir’s House
Jamir throws the garbage at the back of their house. He notices the booklet on the ground. He picks it up. He wonders why the booklet is in the garbage.
11. Int/Day—Jamir’s House
Jamir is reading his book. Aya is busy preparing for lunch. Abdullah, Jamir’s uncle, is at the door.
In his right hand he is holding a plastic bag with rice inside. He gives the plastic bag to Aya.
(Here is the rice.)
Jamir stops reading. He stares at his uncle. His uncle notices him.
Nya ba si Jamir? Masala na ged pakiwatan ku.
(Is this Jamir? My nephew has grown.)
Aya smiles at Abdullah. Abdullah comes closer to Jamir. He puts his hand on Jamir’s head and tousles his hair.
Munot ka sa laki? Lu sa kampo?
(You want to come with me? In the camp?)
Aya’s face looks irritated.
12. Int/Day—Jamir’s House—Later
Jamir is busy doing his assignment at the table. We can see that Abdullah and Aya are talking outside the house. Jamir cannot concentrate on what he does because he can hear their conversation.
Anden den su balita nangka ki Rasul?
(Do you have news about Rasul?)
Da pan ba. Paglidu ginawa nami kung na kwa o minatayan sa kanin sa sundalo.
(So far none. We are worried that he might have been captured or killed by the military.)
Their conversation continues. We notice that Jamir looks worried. He stops doing his assignment and fixes his things. He goes into his room.
13. Ext/Day—On the Road
Jamir is walking to school. He sees his uncle approaching him. The man is accompanied by two other men. Jamir stops walking.
Jamir, amag ha.
(Jamir, see you tomorrow.)
Jamir has no reaction to what his uncle has said. He just stares at him. His uncle and the two other men walk away hurriedly. Jamir looks at them for a moment. We see that his face looks pensive. He then continues walking.
14. Int/Night—In Jamir’s House
Jamir cannot sleep. He is staring at the ceiling. Beside him, his mother is asleep.
15. Ext/Day—The Meeting Place/In the Road
Abdullah is smoking a cigarette. He looks at his watch to see what time it is. He looks impatient. He looks again at his watch.
16. Ext/Day—In the School
Jamir is walking. We see that he looks worried.
17. Ext/Day—The Meeting Place/In the Road—Cont.
Abdullah puffs his cigarette, which has been reduced to a stub. He looks again at his watch. He throws the cigarette.
18. Ext/Day—In the School—Cont.
Jamir is at the gate of his school. He pauses. He looks at the gate. The gate is closed. He looks back at the path that he has taken. He looks again at the gate. He sighs, and then he opens the gate. He goes to his classroom.