INT. KITCHEN DAWN
The KITCHEN is an especially bare, lusterless room. It is
small, windowless, and enshrouded in darkness. Two faint
candles dimly unmask its arid, rugged walls.
RULA, a playful 10 year old girl, is sitting on a plastic
chair at the kitchen table. She is small and skinny, and
always looks afraid. Her innocence tainted, a million
questions locked away inside her beautiful, brown eyes. RULA
is playing with an old rag doll and is heavily preoccupied
Ziad is going to get me some candy
today. Yes, I know you like candy.
But, it’s for me, you can’t have
He loves me you know, not you.
RULA suddenly stops playing with the doll, puts it on the
table, and runs to her mother, MONA, who is busy preparing
breakfast. MONA is in her late forties, is fully clad in
black, and has an air of hopeless dejection about her. She is
overly immersed in what she is doing, seemingly oblivious to
her daughter’s presence.
Mom! Mom! What time is it? Where is
Ziad? Can I go wake him up now?!
MONA continues to focus on the food, ignoring her daughter’s
Mom! Mom! Mom!
Can I go wake him up now?!!
MONA abruptly stops what she is doing, sighs heavily, and
turns to RULA.
Rula! What’s wrong with you? Leave
him be...let him sleep...
But he’s supposed to get me candy
I don’t care! Go sit down! You are
so selfish! It’s all your fault...
MONA stops herself in her tracks, sharply turns away, and
returns to the food. RULA is surprised by her mother’s
reaction. She stares at MONA for a few seconds, and
dispiritedly walks back to the table, unable to hide her
FADI, ZIAD’s father, inconspicuously enters the kitchen
carrying a small paper bag. He is in his early fifties, short
and stocky, and has the look of a man deflated. Heavy, black
bags underneath his eyes tell the story of a man who has had
to endure many sleepless nights.
Mona, I brought some cheese for
Cheese? Where did you get the money
What does it matter to you?
I’m the one who breaks my back to
put a roof over our heads...
You should be thankful!
Don’t get me started.
If you were really breaking your
back, then Ziad wouldn’t have to...
Mona! Enough. This is not the time
for such talk. Just take the
FADI, noticeably bothered by his conversation with MONA,
angrily sits down on a chair, and lights a cigarette. He
takes a deep drag from it, and begins to stare into space.
(tugging on FADI’s arm)
Dad! Dad! Thank you for the cheese!
I love cheese!!
Why do you look so sad? Did I do
FADI slowly turns to his daughter, and casts a weary, yet
loving gaze at her.
Sweety, you have done nothing
wrong. I’m not sad, just tired...
What time is it? You know Ziad is
getting me candy today...
MONA suddenly drops a knife on the floor. She seems bothered
by something, and pauses for a few seconds before picking it
(looking first at MONA)
That’s great sweety...
Why don’t you go wake him up?
Mom! Did you hear that? Dad said I
can go wake Ziad up now...
You are so SELFISH!!
RULA is visibly hurt by her mother’s words, casts her a sad
and confused look, lowers her head, and slowly leaves the
INT. ZIAD’S BEDROOM
Light pierces the BEDROOM through a large, jagged hole in its
ceiling, uncovering clouds of dust, whilst also exposing the
desolate condition of the room. Scattered patterns of bullet
holes and faded bloodstains interlace the walls. A large,
withered and torn Palestinian flag casts a looming shadow
over a thin, fragile figure lying on a shabby mattress in the
center of the room.
CLOSE on ZIAD who urgently tosses and turns in his bed. Beads
of sweat cover his pale, frail, yet unmistakably beautiful
face. He is 22, deeply demoralized and inescapably
RULA timidly enters the BEDROOM. She stands over ZIAD for a
few seconds and hesitates, serenely staring at his face.
RULA pauses for a few more seconds, then begins to weakly
ZIAD slowly opens his eyes, and looks up at his beloved
(faking a yawn)
Okay, sweety. I’m awake...
ZIAD sits up in the mattress and reaches for RULA’s hand,
delicately caressing her fingers. He pulls her closer towards
him, hugs her tight, and kisses her on her forehead. He casts
a loving gaze at RULA, and holds it for a few seconds.
Are mom and dad awake?
RULA lifts her head and nods slowly, tears begin to well up
inside her eyes. She starts to sob quietly, and abruptly
What is it sweety? What’s wrong?!
RULA continues to sob with her back turned away from ZIAD. He
stands up, and delicately pulls her towards him.
What’s the matter Rula?
Mom shouted at me. She told me that
I am selfish, and she blamed
everything on me...
No, sweety. Don’t listen to her.
She has a lot on her mind.
You aren’t selfish...
You’re beautiful. You’re perfect.
Don’t listen to her.
ZIAD kisses RULA on the cheek, and softly caresses her face,
all the while fixing his eyes on hers.
I love you so much, sweety.
Don’t ever forget that.
RULA gradually stops sobbing, and wraps her feeble arms
around ZIAD, hugging him as tight as she can. They hug for a
few more seconds.
Sweety...go back to mom and dad. I
need to get ready. I’ll be there in
a few minutes.
RULA finally releases him from her endearing arms, and smiles
at him lovingly.
Okay. But don’t forget you said you
were going to get me candy today.
I won’t, sweety. I promise...
RULA cheerfully dances out of the BEDROOM. Waiting until
she’s left the room, ZIAD falls back down onto the mattress
and buries his head in his hands. He lifts up his head, and
casts a long gaze at the flag pinned up on the wall. He is
visibly shaken, gets up again from the mattress and slowly
begins to get dressed.
Do you think I am happy about
this??!! Don’t you think I wish
this would never have to happen??!!
You don’t act like you care!! You
just sit there smoking your damn
RULA suddenly enters the KITCHEN, her vibrant smile quickly
turning into a puzzled frown.
Dad, what’s wrong with mom? Is she
still angry with me?!!
No, sweety. She isn’t angry with
you. She is just tired. We’re both
MONA wipes the tears from her eyes, and hastily reverts back
to preparing breakfast. FADI, meanwhile, lights yet another
cigarette, and wistfully proceeds to watch his wife’s
ZIAD hesitantly enters the KITCHEN. He gloomily sits down
without uttering a word.
Ziad, when are you going to get me
Soon, sweety. Soon...
MONA stops fixing the food, lowers her head, and hunches over
the counter. She remains motionless for a few seconds, before
returning to the food.
Good morning, Son. How are you
(unable to look his father
in the eye)
Fine, Dad. Just fine...
Mona, where is the food? Why are
you taking so long darling?
MONA somberly brings the food to the table, fills everyone’s
plate except for her own, and silently goes back to the
(pointing to the cheese)
Dad, what’s this?
How could you afford this?
Son, don’t worry about it. Just eat
it. Enjoy it. You deserve it after
RULA is the first to begin eating. She enthusiastically dives
into the food, starting with the cheese, and munches away
Breakfast proceeds in complete silence. ZIAD is eating very
slowly, picking at his food, his eyes never leaving his
plate. MONA refills his plate before he even finishes what is
What are you doing, Mom? I am full.
Enough. No more food.
Eat, Son. You need strength...
Enough. Save it for dinner. Don’t
waste it on me...
MONA abruptly turns away, she begins to sob quietly, and
pretends to be busy cleaning up. FADI, sitting in total
silence, lights another cigarette, and stares off into space.
Ziad, when are you going to get me
ZIAD shifts in his seat, he pretends not to hear RULA’s
question, and forces down some more food.
When are you going to get me candy?
You said you would!
Very soon, sweety.
ZIAD glances across at all three members of his family,
pausing at each one. Tears persistently battle to emerge from
I want some lollipops, some
(throwing his cigarette to
Rula, be quiet!! I have had enough
of your selfish questions!! Can’t
you just be quiet?!! All the time
candy, candy, candy!! Go wash your
RULA is clearly alarmed by FADI’s verbal assault on her, and
lowers her head. She begins to cry, and looks to ZIAD for
Dad, what’s wrong with you??! Calm
down. Don’t shout at her.
MONA drops her utensils, casts FADI a sharp, piercing look,
and rushes towards RULA. She bends down, and hugs her
daughter tight, kissing her on the forehead, lovingly
Rula, sweety, don’t cry. Your
father is just tired.
Now, go wash your hands.
RULA looks up at MONA, her sobbing diminishes, and she
gingerly leaves the KITCHEN.
All of a sudden, a loud knocking on the front door penetrates
Mom, Dad, it is time. I must get
The knocking persists, becoming increasingly louder and more
FADI stares into space for a few more seconds, turns to his
son, his eyes tearing, and slowly nods. MONA turns away,
saying nothing. ZIAD goes to the door, and opens it slightly.
Ziad, come on. We must go now.
Okay. Give me a few more minutes.
ZIAD nods at the man outside, and hastily closes the door. He
then begins to make his way to the BEDROOM, when FADI
suddenly grabs his arm.
Must you leave now. Stay longer.
Have some more cheese...
ZIAD stares at FADI sadly, pulls his arm away, and leaves the
KITCHEN. FADI falls down on to a chair, casts a hopeless look
to the ceiling, and begins to cry.
(placing his hands on his
God, forgive me..Forgive me!!
MONA goes over to FADI, tears fluidly flowing down her
cheeks, and takes his hand in hers, caressing it softly.
Don’t despair, darling. It is
done...You are not to blame. Be
proud of our son, be proud...
RULA hastily returns to the KITCHEN, and sees FADI crying.
Mom, what’s wrong with dad? Is he
still angry with me?
No, sweety. He isn’t angry with
you. He is just tired.
We’re both tired...
Where did Ziad go?
He went to get ready. He’ll be back
in a minute.
ZIAD reluctantly reenters the KITCHEN, carrying the
Ziad, where are you going? Are you
going to get me my candy?
Just as RULA finishes uttering these words, the knocking on
the door returns, only this time it is louder and more
urgent. ZIAD, repressing tears, nods slowly to RULA, walks
over to the front door and cautiously opens it.
One second. Let me say goodbye...
Do you have what I asked for?
The man outside hands ZIAD two small, plastic bags. ZIAD
closes the door once more, and walks over to RULA. He kneels
down before her, hugs her tight, and kisses her on the
(handing her a bag)
Here is your candy, sweety. Just as
Always remember...I love you.
ZIAD walks over to MONA, hugs her deeply, and kisses her on
the cheek. She grabs him tight, tears continue to flow from
her eyes. ZIAD tries to pry himself away, eventually does,
and walks over to FADI.
Forgive me, Son. Forgive me...
ZIAD, holding back his tears, places his hand on FADI’s
shoulder, and affectionately stares at him for a few seconds.
This is my decision, not yours.
Thank you for everything...
(lovingly addressing his
The money should be coming in a few
days...I love you all...
ZIAD turns away and slowly walks towards the door. Just as he
reaches the door, he pulls seven sticks of C-4 from the
second bag, and straps them around his chest. He drapes the
flag across his body, and carefully puts on his jacket. Tears
begin to flow from his eyes. He steals one last look at his
helpless family, walks out the door, and is greeted by the
bright glaring sunlight, as he finally departs.
RULA, meanwhile, is visibly preoccupied with her candy,
nonchalantly walks to the kitchen table, and starts to play
with her rag doll once more.
CLOSE on RULA who is animatedly chatting to her doll.
Look at all my candy..
Lollipops AND chocolate...
See, I told you he loves me...