Carta Postal (The Postcard) by Dwight Stephen | Script Revolution

Carta Postal (The Postcard)

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Page Count: 
100pp

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Logline: 
After losing his wife and daughter to the terrible earthquake in Haiti, one man journeys to San Francisco and finds his redemption in the most unusual of friendships.
Synopsis/Details: 

RENE, a man in his 50s lives in a small fisherman's village 110kms from Port- Au-Prince Haiti. As a small boy, he befriended a UN worker who gave him a postcard of San Francisco. Never losing sight of his dream to one day visit the magical city on the postcard, Rene takes a job working in the rice fields to save all he could. The postcard is never far from Rene’s sight; he keeps it on his bedroom wall and examines it every night before he goes to bed.

As Rene grows older, his dream begins to fade away. He is now a skilled guitar player and singer, who must focus on providing for his wife (GARCELLE) and daughter (ELISE). His love for music is something he shares with his daughter and he begins to teach her how to dance and play the guitar. Through it all, Rene still finds himself working in the rice fields.

January 12th 2010. Rene works in the field. He feels the ground shake underneath him and looks on as buildings start to collapse. He YELLS, “Garcelle!” and takes off running back to the village. The shaking KNOCKS him to his knees. Rene tries to stand and run, but the shaking ground makes it nearly impossible.

Rene comes to his house only to find it in shambles. Everything is gone – his home, his wife and his daughter. He manages to pull the dead body of his child out of the wreckage and buries her. All he finds in the remnants of his house are some clothes and the postcard of San Francisco. Desperate for a new start, he scrounges up the last of his money and risks a trip across the Atlantic Ocean in a fishing boat, followed by a long journey by bus, in the hopes of a better life in San Francisco.

In San Francisco, Rene finds an apartment where the wall paper peels off the walls and the curtains are torn and tattered. MUFFLED SHOUTING seeps through the walls. Rene remains lethargic, lost in pain. He looks at the postcard, then gazes out of his apartment window.
As the weeks pass, Rene adjusts to his new world. He lands a job with group of migrant workers and befriends CHARLES, another Haitian, who manages the local grocery store. They share a love for music and for everything Haitian.

Rene steps out onto his small balcony and takes in a deep breath while looking down at the street below. A gentle voice greets Rene with, “I see you walking home by yourself all the time.” He looks to his right and sees KATHERINE BOWERS, a lonely and neglected 12-year-old neighbour girl, playing with a deck of cards on the adjacent balcony. She tries to engage Rene in a friendship, but he shows no interest. Rene's lack of enthusiasm does not anger Katherine, she only tries harder.

The next couple of weeks are amazing for Rene. He has found a friend, someone that he cares about despite the age difference. He teaches her how to play the guitar and she teaches him English in return.

Katherine moms, (LISA) stands in front of Rene's door and BANGS. Rene looks through his peephole and sees Lisa and Katherine at his doorway. He opens the door. Katherine tries to plead with her mom, “Mom please don’t do this.” Dismissing Katherine’s words, Lisa gets in Rene’s face and says, “Look mister, I don't know who you are or where you're from but stay the hell away from my child. If I see you around my daughter again, I'm calling the cops.”

Katherine runs down the hall and disappears around the corner. Rene stands with a puzzled look on his face and watches as Lisa storms back into her apartment. He looks down the hall and sees no sign of Katherine.

Rene sits on a park bench with the postcard in hand. He lowers the card and gazes over at the majestic bridge in front of him. Tears stream down his face. Rene sets his postcard on the bench and stands. He takes a breath and walks toward the water. Rene has secured a rock to his leg with a rope.

Rene wades into the dark water. As he walks further into the water, Katherine appears and SCREAMS for him to stop. Rene turns and sees Katherine YELLING in his direction but he keeps walking. She jumps in after him.

Katherine is not a good swimmer and starts to drown. She SCREAMS. The piercing sound catches Rene's attention. He turns to see Katherine struggling to stay above water. He fights to cut the rope from his foot. Finally free, he sees no sign of Katherine. Lisa rushes over and watches as Rene dives beneath the dark water. After a few seconds Rene re-emerges, still no Katherine.

Rene dives. No sound whatsoever. He re-emerges after a longer time under water. Nothing. Lisa drops to her knees and SOBS. Rene fills his lungs with air and dives. After what feels like an eternity, Rene resurfaces, this time with a lifeless Katherine in his arms. Exhausted, he carries her to the shore and sets her on the bench. Rene’s eyes are heavy with tears.

The paramedics quickly place Katherine on a stretcher and slide the stretcher in the back of a waiting ambulance. Rene watches as Lisa jumps into the back of the ambulance. SIRENS wail as the ambulance speeds away.

A KNOCK at Rene’s door. He opens to see Lisa in the doorway. Rene hesitates, then puts his arm around Lisa. She breathes in deeply and whispers, “Thank you.”

Katherine is finally back home. Rene steps out and sees Katherine sitting near the bottom of the stairs smiling back at him as she plays her guitar. As Rene approaches she asks him, “Are you coming to my birthday?” Rene’s only response is a big proud smile.

Later, Rene happily walks down the street with a wrapped gift in hand. He stops near the curb and looks to his left and right. As Rene takes one step off the curb - a HORN BLARES! A bus speeds around the corner and CRASH! Rene is sent flying several feet back. THUD. He hits the ground.

The next day at the hospital, a tired Rene lies in bed with various tubes hooked up to him. The door opens and Rene watches as Lisa and Katherine enter. Katherine carries with her a small guitar. She makes the way over the Rene's bedside and smiles. Katherine begins to play. Rene smiles and Lisa cries.

Submitted: June 3, 2018
Last Updated: June 3, 2018

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The Writer: Dwight Stephen

I love to write and I remain excited about sharing my craft and stories with others. I was a finalist at the Write Brothers International Screenplay Competition (Respect The Order). Go to bio

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