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A busy railway carriage. Zulfo, a man of Eastern European
appearance is sitting by the window watching the Dutch
landscape pass by. He is well-dressed in a dark-grey suit,
white shirt, tie. He is aged about forty. He is a handsome
man with dark skin, a moustache, and a thin scar that
follows the contour of his left cheekbone almost from his
ear to his nose. His hair is not long but is thick and
slightly wild. It is dark brown with grey streaks near the
Next to him, in the aisle seat, a middle-aged Dutch woman,
healthy tanned skin, vigorous blonde hair, wearing a blue
denim suit, is writing in a puzzle book.
Opposite Zulfo, a man is reading the International Herald
Tribune. The main headline reads "Bosnian 'War Criminal'
Pleads Not Guilty at the Hague", below which is a small
passport-sized photo of the accused.
Zulfo studies the front page that is facing him. He looks
out the window again but his gaze keeps returning to the
The ticket collector asks Zulfo for his ticket. He opens
his wallet and finds his ticket. In the face of the wallet
is a photo of a blonde woman and child standing on the
porch of a house with lots of plants around.
The train arrives at a large station. The announcer says
"Den Haag, Holland Spoor. Den Haag, Holland Spoor". Zulfo
stands up. He reaches up for his suitcase from the overhead
rack. Pulls it down. Looks at the people around him as if
he should exchange some 'goodbye'. No-one looks at him.
INT. TRAIN STATION PLATFORM - CONTINUOUS
The cavernous interior of the Holland Spoor train station.
Zulfo steps down from the train as people crowd around the
door. A young, very attractive Indonesian woman, heavy make
up, black mini-skirt, leather knee-length boots,
transparent coat, is talking to her friend and laughing.
She smokes a cigarette then throws it under the train. They
both climb onto the train, watched closely by a business
man standing right behind them.
INT. TRAIN STATION FOYER - CONTINUOUS
Zulfo carries his suitcase through the crowd of people.
Near the exit a group of down and outs, migrants, stand
around. One of them approaches Zulfo, smiling.
Francais? English? American?
Zulfo, his path blocked, shakes his head.
Can you spare me five guilders?
(shakes his head)
You speak English. You must have
Give me some!
A young woman wearing a small backpack appears from nowhere
and discreetly flashes a transport police badge at the
migrant. She looks a typical backpacker. In dutch, she
tells the migrant to get lost or she'll arrest him. On
seeing the badge, the migrant turns on his heel and leaves
the station without speaking.
(to Zulfo, smiling)
Be careful around here. Don't
give them anything. Don't even
talk to them else they won't
leave you alone. Where are you
Near the Peace Palace.
Okay. It's easiest if you take a
taxi. Have a good time, and stay
EXT. STATION FORECOURT - MOMENTS LATER
Zulfo enters a taxi. The driver is Moroccan. Zulfo takes
out a folded piece of paper from his pocket and reads the
name of a hotel, showing it to the driver. The driver makes
no expression, just starts the car and drives away.
The taxi arrives outside a modest hotel. Zulfo pays and
enters the hotel.
INT. HOTEL BEDROOM - NIGHT
Zulfo enters his hotel room and drops his suitcase on the
He opens the case and puts some clothes in the wardrobe.
Then he takes out a document. Large black lettering on the
front "Indictment Janjic & Others (27 July 1998)".
He lies on the bed reading the document. He smokes a
cigarette, turning the pages. He falls asleep, wakes up,
lights another cigarette, turns on the television, flicks
through the channels: an American sit-com; soft porn; an
advert in dutch for floor-cleaner; a football match; the
News. He stops on the News, showing the War Crimes
Tribunal. An accused man is standing in the dock. Zulfo
moves closer to the TV set in order to study the man's
face. The item ends and Zulfo turns off the television.
Zulfo stands up and walks over to the mirror. He looks at
himself. Goes back to the bed, sits back down, picks up the
remote and turns the television back on, finding the porn
channel. He watches a woman with two men then switches it
He stands up. Walks to the window. Looks out on a quiet
street. Goes back to the bed, sits down, picks up the
cigarette packet. It's empty. He pulls his shoes on, his
jacket, then leaves the room.
EXT. CITY STREET - NIGHT
Zulfo walks from his hotel, crosses to the canal-side walk,
heads towards a 24-hour corner shop.
Zulfo leaves the corner shop, opening a packet of
cigarettes. He follows the canal towards his hotel,
smoking. He reaches his hotel, looks up at his lighted
bedroom, looks down the street, then walks right past.
As he walks, the street gets busier, all men, in pairs and
alone. At the intersection with a small street two men are
standing looking in a shop window. As Zulfo nears, they
move on laughing. In the window is a very fat woman, late
forties, dressed in leather bondage gear and black tights
that squeeze out her fat pale thighs at the top. The window
contains a display of whips and other equipment. Zulfo
stares. The woman makes a face at him and he walks on, into
the red light district.
Men walk up and down, slowly and purposefully. Occasionally
one stops to talk terms through a window. The women open
small side-windows and smile and laugh with their clients.
Zulfo sees a beautiful blonde woman, aged about 30, sitting
on a chair in the window. She has pale skin and is wearing
red lingerie. She's reading a book, apparently oblivious to
Zulfo gets behind the streetlight on the opposite side of
the road and watches her. Then he walks up to the next
corner, turns around and watches her again.
He comes back, crosses over to her side of the road and
stops in front of her window. She looks up from her book,
smiles, sees no interest, and goes back to reading.
Zulfo walks past, stops, comes back, stops. She looks up
again, stands up, walks to the window, slides the small
(in english, with
Are you coming in?
Zulfo looks up and down the street, then back at her,
starts to speak, then stops.
You speak english?
Shy boy, eh? Don't know what you
want? Sixty guilders, fuck and
suck. You coming in?
Zulfo nods. The prostitute smiles, puts down her book and
shuts the curtains. Moments later the door onto the street
opens and she is standing there inviting him in. Zulfo
steps into the dark corridor. She walks in front of him on
high heels and turns into a small back room that's behind
the room she sits in. The room is small. Lit by a soft red
light. The bed is bare except for a sheet and a pillow.
She slips out of her camisole and is wearing a red bra and
pants. She puts her arms around Zulfo and starts removing
Do you work here? Visiting?
Zulfo nods again. He lets his jacket go.
(touching his face)
Quiet man. What's your name?
(moving away from her
and sitting on the bed)
(sitting down next to
Zulfo? Are you Turkish?
(running her hand up his
Bosnian. Is this your first time,
Zulfo doesn't answer. Pulls away.
What's the problem?
You remind me of my wife. That's
why I came in.
Well, why aren't you with your
She left you?
She died. In the war.
Why are you here?
Zulfo shrugs his shoulders.
I mean, in the Hague?
I'm a witness. To the men who
took her and raped her. And my
Your daughter too? Your daughter
The prostitute gets up. Walks to the dressing table. Puts
on a full-length silk dressing-gown. Picks up a packet of
cigarettes. Walks back to the bed. Sits down. Offers Zulfo
a cigarette. He accepts. She lights both cigarettes.
How old was she?
Thirty five. My daughter was
The same age as mine.
You have a daughter? Here?
No, she's in the Czech republic.
I'm here for her. To keep her.
She lives with her grandmother. I
can't imagine anything happening
I couldn't stop it. My neighbour -
he used to be our friend, he used
to babysit for us - came in with
a gang. He apologised but said
they had to take us. We were
separated, put into prisons, but
the women were moved to houses of
the military policemen. They were
kept there as slaves, degraded,
and raped. A lot of them, like my
wife, became depressed and killed
And now? Now you will get
Justice? Maybe. The facts are
hard to prove without a living
witness. They tried to erase
(a beat; he looks around
I should go.
(putting her hand on his
What will you do?
Look after my daughter. I'm the
last witness. The trial ends in
four days. Then I'll go back.
They both stand. Zulfo picks up his jacket.
Do you have to do this?
I do it.
What did you do before?
I worked in an architects office.
But you could do something else.
You could get married, or
Ha. That will save me.
They leave the room. She opens the door onto the street for
him. He turns and looks at her.
I didn't pay you.
You didn't buy anything.
(a small, bare smile,
for the first time)
What's your name?
Lisa, can I see you again?
Well, you know where I am.
No, I mean somewhere else. Not
here. I have one day off, in
three days, before the judgment.
We could meet somewhere, spend
the day together.
Well, since you're not a client,
maybe I can. I live in Rotterdam.
Meet me at Rotterdam Centraal at
ten on Thursday and I'll show you
Zulfo walks away. A customer, waiting on the other side of
the road, walks past him and straight up to the door.
Ah, Lisa, I've been waiting just
INT. HOTEL BEDROOM
It's dark. Zulfo is on his bed, sitting up with his back to
the wall, watching television. On the television, stock
newsreel footage from the Bosnia conflict: a beautiful
rural village being pounded by tanks; an old man sits dazed
on the porch of a bougainvillea-draped, white-painted
house, shelled out, with the roof missing; inside a room,
nazi swastikas and slogans painted on the walls; hollow
eyed men behind barbed wire; streams of refugees; the
aftermath of a mortar attack on a city market-place, the
dead strewn around; an ancient stone bridge across a fast
flowing river crashes down, isolating the two halves of an
Zulfo turns off the TV. Fade to black. Silence.
In the darkness, a long loud human scream that blends in
with a train whistle.
Cut to train carriage. Bright daylight. Zulfo sits by the
window looking out at the pretty garden allotments, tidy
houses, small boating lakes, as they flash past.
The train wheels squeal and the beat slows as it pulls into
Zulfo exits the station and waits on the forecourt. He
looks around for Lisa but she's not there.
A woman with two children on a bike, a baby at the front
and an infant on the back, stops at the traffic lights then
He goes back inside. Looks for her face amongst the crowd.
He goes back outside. She's still not there. He lights a
cigarette, smokes it, and throws it down.
He turns and walks back inside towards the barriers, about
to board his return train. As he does so, he turns around
and sees her running towards him, waving.
They walk towards each other. She is wearing blue jeans, a
white jumper, and a short black leather jacket unzipped
almost to the waist.
INT. TRAIN STATION
I'm sorry. You thought I wasn't
No, I just thought something had
I had some trouble.
(a bit downcast)
Oh, nothing really, the men who
brought me here. Because I'm not
registered they can get rid of me
at any time. I have to be careful
and not let them know what I'm
But, here I am. Are you sure
you're okay to do this? The
No, it will be good to do it. To
stop me thinking. The judgment is
Okay! Let's go then.
Where are we going?
Oh, I'll show you the city, some
of the nice architecture and then
we'll walk across the bridge.
EXT. CITY STREET
Zulfo stands on the pavement as Lisa comes out a
newsagent's holding a disposable camera. On the pavement
outside is a news hoarding, "Judges Consider Bosnian
She takes his picture standing in the middle of the empty
space of the Schouwburgplein. They look up above the
Megabioscoop and see blue skies.
As they walk down a small road, two schoolteachers lead a
class of young children along the narrow pavement. The
children are excited and talkative. Zulfo and Lisa stop and
turn to let them file past. One girl sees the camera in
Zulfo's hand and says in dutch, "Hey, take our picture."
When he doesn't respond, she repeats it in english and when
Zulfo smiles, she says something else in dutch and the
children all laugh.
Outside the Netherlands Architecture Institute a group of
Japanese tourists are having a guided tour. They all stand
for photos. One of the Japanese offers to take a photo of
Lisa and Zulfo. Zulfo looks embarrassed then Lisa takes his
arm and they both smile.
In Museumpark, they stand in front of the mirrored wall,
its weathered and pitted mirrored surface flaking off.
Zulfo takes a photo of them both in the mirror, the image
broken up, reflecting them, the park behind, the institute
building showing through the trees, blue skies and white
They reach the Erasmus Bridge and walk to the middle of the
span. Lisa leans on the rail and looks west towards the
I come and stand here when I want
to forget everything. I just look
out to sea and forget there is a
land behind me. Forget about
people. I love to see the big
ships grow smaller and smaller
until they disappear.
This is an amazing bridge. It
seems to float, to defy gravity.
I would like to build a bridge
like this one day.
(turning to look at him)
Are you an architect?
No, an engineer.
Somebody else would have to
design it, but I could build it.
If I ever work again.
(turning, so her back is
against the rail)
You will. You might never forget,
but time does...
No. Without someone beside you.
What's the point?
There is always someone beside
But not always the person you are
Sometimes history keeps you
Sometimes you cannot build a
It's a nightmare.
History. If only we could wake
up, how beautiful life would be.
If every moment was like this.
She touches his cheek with her hand. The sun is starting to
go down on the wind-whipped sea. Fade to black.
EXT. COURTHOUSE - THE NEXT DAY
Zulfo stands amongst a group of people in legal dress. He
is gesticulating. He shakes his head, then holds it in his
hands, gesticulates again. A man places his hand on Zulfo's
shoulder. They gather around him to try and calm him down.
A Registrar in legal dress reads a statement to the press.
This afternoon the Trial Chamber
delivered its judgement in the
case of the Prosecutor versus
Zorlan Janjic. Janjic was found
not guilty of all crimes. The
Prosecutor has filed notice to
INT. HOTEL BEDROOM - NIGHT
Zulfo is sat on his bed smoking. There is a bottle of
whisky, three-quarters empty, on the table next to him. He
picks up a tumbler and drinks from it. On the floor next to
the bed his suitcase is half-packed. On top of his clothes
is the disposable camera.
He looks down at the camera. Stands up. Puts his shoes and
jacket on. Picks up his cigarettes from the table. He
finishes the tumbler of whisky. While drinking from the
tumbler he stares at the framed photos on the wall. One of
them is of the Erasmus bridge, at night, lit up. He walks
towards it, reaches out a finger and touches it.
He walks to the door and exits.
EXT. RED LIGHT DISTRICT - LATER
The same street where Zulfo met Lisa. It's Friday night and
much busier. Groups of drunken men, locals and tourists,
shout and laugh, eyeing the women, stopping and joking with
Zulfo walks straight up the street to Lisa's window. The
curtain is closed. He crosses to the other side of the
street, beneath the street-lamp and watches her door,
waiting for her to become free.
He lights a cigarette and watches men entering and leaving
the other doorways.
Lisa's door opens. A young man, early twenties, comes to
the doorway, turns around to say goodbye then leaves. The
door is closed behind him. The man walks across the road to
where a group of his friends is waiting. They are all
English. They say, "Tell us then. What was she like? Was
she as good as she looks?"
Zulfo starts walking towards them, stops, turns back to the
The curtain is pulled back. It's not Lisa. A black girl.
Zulfo stops. Looks at the window on each side. Looks back
up the road to reassure himself he's at the right window.
He walks over to the window and knocks aggressively. The
black girl doesn't open at first. She's worried by his wild
The black girl shakes her head, she doesn't understand.
Zulfo motions her to open the window. The black girl gets
up and slides down the window.
Where is Lisa? She should be
Lisa has gone. She had some
trouble and has been sent back.
No! That's not true!
Yes, it's true. She left tonight,
on a plane.
Zulfo steps back.
You come in with me. I will give
you a good time. You'll soon
Zulfo backs off. Walks around in a half circle. Turns and
walks back down the street, looking at the floor. He bumps
into someone but doesn't notice. He gets to the end of the
street and stands underneath the streetlight so that it
shines in his eyes.
Seen from the bright light, the street he has just come
from is full of ghostly, ill-defined forms. Men milling
around, entering and leaving.
From an open door, the arm of a prostitute reaches out to a
hesitant customer. She grabs his hand. They pull back and
Suddenly Zulfo hallucinates. The street is full of military
police, black-shirts. They are holding guns and rounding up
the women. A black-shirt thug with a thick neck grabs a
screaming woman by the wrist and tries to pull her from her
doorway. She resists, holds the doorframe with her other
hand and screams. The black-shirt beats her arm with a
stick to make her let go and she tumbles into the street.
Zulfo falls back against the street lamp. He uses his arms
to push himself up and runs back into the street. The black
shirt now has the woman by the hand and she is appealing to
Zulfo leaps on the black-shirt and, putting his arm around
his neck, drags him to the floor. He starts beating his
head on the ground, shouting "Killer, rapist, killer,
The woman screams. She tries to pull Zulfo off. A crowd of
men rush over and restrain him. It's just the normal
customers. They hold Zulfo down and make various
exclamations, "Jesus, that guy is crazy", "He just ran up
and jumped him, I saw it", "Called the guy a rapist and a
A police car pulls up and two cops jump out. They tell the
men to let Zulfo go and they take hold of Zulfo and put him
in the car. They sit with the doors open and talk to
witnesses. The black girl, dressed in a green silk robe,
talks to them.
He seemed a bit crazy. He was
asking for Lisa and when I said
she was gone, he just walked off
and then a minute later I saw him
run up and start beating that
An ambulance drives up the road and the medics get out and
help the beaten man.
I/E. POLICE CAR
Who was Lisa? Your girlfriend?
Zulfo ignores him
Do you have your papers?
Zulfo gives him his wallet. The cop opens it. Takes out his
passport and visa papers. Sees "Bosnia". Looks at Zulfo for
a while without speaking.
(calmly, turning the
paper toward Zulfo)
Okay. Is it to do with this?
Zulfo nods and puts his hands over his eyes. The cop puts
his hand on Zulfo's shoulder.
The other policeman gets in the car. Shot of the car
driving slowly through the crowded street. New customers
are entering the street, laughing and shouting.
INT. TRAIN - DAY
An old train rattles along through verdant country side,
steep wooded hills in the distance, a winding river. A
young blonde girl, about sixteen, is sat looking out the
window. She's the young girl from the photo in Zulfo's
wallet, now older.
The train goes over an old iron bridge. The wheels rattle.
Shadow stripes traverse the girl's face for a few seconds.
Close up of man's hands holding a set of photographs. The
top one is Zulfo and Lisa arm in arm outside the
architectural institute. The right hand moves the top photo
to the bottom. Photo of Zulfo and Lisa in the mirrored
wall, her smiling face partly obscured by the pitted
surface of the mirror. He moves to the next photo. It's a
close up of Lisa standing on the Erasmus bridge, her back
to the rail, her arms up on the rail, smiling straight at
The girl looks at Zulfo looking at the photo.
Who is that woman, dad? Was she a
Zulfo looks at her. Smiles. Looks down at the photo. He
touches the photo with his finger, touches Lisa's cheek.
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