By Andrew R. H. Jones
I. Background: Joaquin Hernandez is a young Chilean born high school student living in a suburb of Los Angeles. Joaquin is a very depressed, angry young man. He has suffered a long history of domestic abuse. He was raped as a child by his uncle shortly after his father was murdered in a hate crime against Spanish-speaking people. His stepmother suffers from a rare heart disease. When subject to stress, her heart may react negatively. He has a loving relationship with her, but he is afraid to talk with her about anything real, and he is run by this fear.
Events: He comes home from school, has a brief discussion with his mother about a few things.
II. Events: He goes to a nightclub that night. He gets drunk and stoned on PCP and ecstasy. After a few hours of being high (honestly, I know nothing about high, so it might be a different amount of time. His high is almost up, though) He starts talking to a young girl named Marianna. Marianna had a good upbringing. She was warned by her parents, who knew she was a good girl so did not intervene, about those she was hanging out with. She goes to the drug-ridden nightclub. After Joaquin starts to talk with her, she starts to dance with him (Oh, yeah, by the way, we know next to nothing about this girl. I would definitely want this shot with EXTREMELY low lighting, and I would not want it to reveal many details about Marianna’s face. Joaquin does not speak with her about anything, really. Joaquin dances with her by his friends. He starts to get too physical, and she tries to resist. Despite her resistance, he continues to assault her sexually. He rapes her. His friends are too high and drunk to care. Joaquin is now coming off his high. He realizes what he has done. He decides to flee the nightclub. He runs some distance and is apprehended by the police shortly after.
III. He is taken to a jail cell. A voice over would reveal bits and pieces of the case while showing Joaquin in his cell. A series of jump cuts would reveal him doing different activities, such as sitting, pacing, writing, etc. Joaquin’s case is complicated because of the long history of domestic abuse he experienced under his stepmother before his father died, the rape he experienced as a young boy by his uncle, and the severe high he was experiencing during the rape. In addition, because his mother had a heart problem and was in a coma after discovering what her son had done, the jury felt sympathetic to Joaquin. Eventually, he is sentenced to an experimental reform prison in Washington monitored by a politically progressive group of psychologists, religious leaders, and politicians. He goes to this prison. He is shown with an angry, bitter look on his face for a while. He asks how much time he has left in the prison. He is surprised when he discovers that the prison is not based at all on time, but entirely on progress, which is determined by the politically progressive group of psychologists and religious leaders. There is a series of scenes where he is shown being psychologically questioned by one of the monitors. The monitor is asking Joaquin to examine his emotional state. He is asking him questions about his childhood and about his life in general. Joaquin does not answer. Eventually, one of the monitors speaks to him in Spanish and strikes a chord in Joaquin’s heart, and he reveals his own rape and the immense guilt he feels for raping Marianna. He describes the rape as
“The worse thing that I have ever done in my entire life. It is something I try to ignore by asserting my machismo, but I cannot forget the horrible, brutal, disgusting thing that I did. I am a fucking bastard, and I deserve to die.”
After this, progress slowly rears its head for Joaquin. Eventually he is shown in a seminar embracing others behind inspirational music, and a general feeling of uplift is depicted as Joaquin bears his soul in front of the other inmates. He makes a friendship with a born-again Christian white man named Paul and a middle-aged, Islamic man named Jamil. Eventually Joaquin leaves the prison and returns home.
IV. He cries when he sees his mother again. She slowly recovered from her episode while Joaquin was in prison. Despite her son’s actions, she still loves him and they are very close, except now they talk about issues. Joaquin goes back to high school in a different neighborhood and finishes. He enrolls in UC at Berkeley in their Philosophy department. He excels in his class there and eventually meets a young woman named…………………. Marianna, although hopefully my audience does not recognize her just yet. Anyway, they do not recognize each other, and eventually the start to date. Joaquin is very good to her, and there are a few scenes where she is shown turning to him for security. We see her have nightmares a few times, but we are unaware of what they are, although we see little flashes of them and see her awaken crying. Six months into their relationship, Joaquin begins having similar nightmares and flashbacks to his rape. He is scared of himself and of what he might do to Marianna. He does not want to hurt her at all. He does not want to tell her what he did either, although he feels obligated to. We see him speaking in Spanish to his mother and getting very emotional about this situation. His mother encourages him to let go of his past and be the best man he can be. Eventually, however, after a nine-month relationship with Marianna, she calls Joaquin, crying, and asks him to come see her. She tells him she was raped in the past. Joaquin sees the tears in her eyes in an extreme close-up (which, by the way, I just decided, during the rape scene we will also see a similar shot) and has a flashback to that night. His eyes widen. He recognizes (and hopefully now the audience) Marianna. He holds Marianna for a few minutes until she falls asleep. Then he leaves her room and runs, through the rain to his own room. He slams the door shut behind him. We then see him pace around his room, sit with a frantic look on his face, etc. in a series of jump cuts.
V. So here goes nothing: Joaquin does not know how to tell Marianna, but he feels he absolutely must. He starts to avoid her however, in order to avoid telling her what he did. He cries about it often because he feels so guilty. He considers suicide. He wants to tell his mother, but he doesn’t feel that he can. So, he just goes on with his academic life, not calling Marianna. She is shown very concerned about her boyfriend. She tries talking to him, but he continues to say he is busy or doesn’t feel well and wants to be left alone. She is very upset. Joaquin’s classes seem to all delve into the topic of morality cultural taboo. Rape is mentioned in one of his classes, and Joaquin starts crying and leaves the room. Eventually, in another elliptical scene of jump cuts, Joaquin sits down to write her. He writes her a letter:
VI. Dear Marianna, I figured I would write this in Spanish because that is our native languages, even though we never speak it to each other. I want to begin by saying how much I love you, and that nothing you have done has driven me away. I love you more than my own life, and it might sound horribly dramatic, but I would die for you. But this can never make up for what I have done, and I feel I must confess. How well do you remember the night that you told me about? I remember it well.It is the night I made the biggest mistake of my life. I don’t know how to tell you, but I guess it will sting less the sooner I admit to it. The man that you remember that night…that cowardly, despicable, fucking evil bastard….that man is… I, Joaquin. I know that nothing I can EVER do can EVER make up for my actions that night. I have done something despicable and disgraceful to God, and I am sure that, in some way, I will be punished for it. I will be given what I deserve someday. I have served what society deemed was necessary for me to become a good citizen, and I feel that I can follow laws and devote time and energy to society and to my studies, but I have not received what I deserve. If I were less cowardly, I would give myself what I deserve. But, as a despicable coward, I am much to shallow to do any harm to myself… I want you to know that… that I am leaving Berkeley. I am leaving it and never coming back. I felt obligated to do so because I feel that you deserve to be as far away from me as possible. I do still love you, but I understand that you can probably never find it within yourself to love me, too, and that is probably because it is impossible for the raped to care for a dirty rapist, and that is perfectly understandable. I owe my absence to you. If there is anything else that I can ever do for you, you know how to get ahold of me. However, I do not expect that I will ever hear from you again. I will never attempt to contact you again. Love (if you can ever find it to do so), Joaquin.
VII. After writing this, Joaquin goes to deliver it to her. He wants to slip it under her door, but she comes out just as he is about to do it. She is very happy to see him. He plays it off, and hugs and kisses her. She asks him to come inside, and he begins to cry. She asks why and hugs him. He says that he cannot talk about it and gives her the letter. He says he must go and leaves. She reads the letter.
VIII. She is crushed. She cries for several days as we now focus on her as Joaquin is doing God know what. Despite the anger she feels, she cannot stop thinking about him. She is terribly confused about the man she loves. She does not understand how she could trust and feel so safe around the one who hurt her so badly. She does not feel that things will ever be the same between her and Joaquin. He was the best person she had ever known, or at least she thought he was. She grows exceedingly depressed and stops going to classes. She begins to drink excessively. When she drinks, she no longer thinks of the pain that Joaquin caused her, and when she feels the pain that Joaquin caused her, she feels in pain because she still loves him, too. When she is drunk, she only feels the love for Joaquin and forgets the anger.
All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2005. © Andrew R. H. Jones.