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by Ștefan Jurcă (jurca.stefan@gmail.com)

Rated: G   Genre: Drama   User Review:


This screenplay is copyrighted to its author. All rights reserved. This screenplay may not be used or reproduced without the express written permission of the author.


B&W Scene
Large pan moving from right to left. Bad lighting, big
shadows though. Bare hills in the background. In the
foreground, a wide, dry valley. Camera stops at two wooden
gallows. The nooses are hanging in the wind. Camera zooms
in, then moves down to three men digging a grave into the
ground. Suddenly, one of them stops and stands up. Medium
shot of him.
                       DIGGER 1 (Gazing into the distance)
Guys, stop digging! I hear them
The others stand up up too, looking in the same direction.
Cross-cut to a big flock of crows, flying towards them.
Medium shot back to the men.
                       DIGGER 2
Someone is going to die again...
                       DIGGER 1
Let's hope it's not us...
Cross-cut to the birds again. Now they're landing on the dry
ground, fighting over a carcass. The camera zooms into the
epicenter of the fight. Medium shot back to the men, still
gazing to the birds. Suddenly, an angry voice comes from
outside the frame. The three men turn around. Cross-cut to
the Russian lieutenant Piotr Demetriov, who is coming the
way up to the gallows.
                       P. D. (Angry)
Aren't you three crumbums done
working yet? The captain is going
to be here any minute and you are
not even done digging a hole into
the dirt? You'll hurry up or
you'll be the ones buried instead!
Dolly shot follows the lieutenant all the way to the three
men, who are working again. He suddenly stops, looking at
the birds. Close up to his face.
                       P. D. (A little disturbed)
What is happening over there?


He is getting no answer. Cross-cut to the crows, who are
agressively fighting now. Three different close-ups to the
black birds. In the meantime:
                       P. D. (Hidden from camera)
Crows are obvious signs of death.
Since ancient times, crows are
seen as flying devils.
Medium shot of him.
                       P. D.
I have got to make them disappear,
before the captain comes...
Quiet drum noise can be heard.
Cut to a new scene. Camera focused on one of the nooses,
hanging in the wind on the right side of the frame. In the
background, a bare surface. The drum noise is getting
louder. Suddenly, two soldier columns appear from underneath
the hill.
Fast focus change on the front left soldier.
Close up to his face. Static camera, in a row are the
soldiers passing through the frame.
Cut to a central bird's eye view from where the soldiers are
coming from, the two columns are coming from the lower
corners of the frame. Further above in the center, the two
gallows and the four men. The lieutenant is standing in
salute position. In the background, the flock of crows is
getting bigger. The drum noise is much louder now.
Low central shot from between the columns. A group of
officers is passing through the frame, followed by a man in
a black suit, wearing a black hat. He is held from both
sides by two other men.
Tracking close up shot of the man's calm face. His bright
eyes are gazing into the distance. Meanwhile, drums and
soldier steps stop suddenly.
Large, high shot of the hill, the man is still in the center
of the frame, not moving anymore. The soldiers are
positioning themselves in two rows.
Medium shot of Otto Klapka, the czech captain, and Apostol
Bologa, a Romanian officer.
                       A. B.
Why such a big expense for a
simple execution?
Close-up to Klapka, turning his head towards Bologa.
                       O. K. (Critically)
It's not a simple execution. It's
the big moment of desertion
punishment. The whole army should
have stood by the execution of


                       O. K. (cont'd)
Svoboda, so that they realize the
consequences of treason!
Same shot. Camera follows Klapka moving towards Demetriov,
who appears in the frame too.
                       O. K.
Is everything done, lieutenant?
                       P. D. (Still in salute position)
Yes, captain!
                       O. K.
How about the chair, where Nikola
Svoboda will be standing on?
                       P. D.
There is someone on the way to the
village to get one. He will be
here soon.
                       O. K.
Well, he'll better hurry, the
ceremony is about to begin.
Cut to a large, high shot of the hill. Svoboda is still in
the center. Slow zoom towards his face. Mysterious violin
music resounds. Svoboda moves his head to the right side.
Cross-cut to the flock of crows, which has become
threateningly large. Dramatic music. Suddenly, all sounds
are interrupted by the captain, shouting:
                       O. K.
Take your hat off!
Close-up shot of Svoboda's face, facing the camera. He
slowly moves his hand to his hat and takes it off.
                       O. K.
Nikola Svoboda!
Cut to large shot of the crowd. Svoboda is standing in the
center, still facing the camera, Klapka is standing behind
him, surrounded by the soldiers. Svoboda turns to the
Medium shot of Klapka.
                       O. K.
You betrayed the Austria-Hungarian
nation by revealing our secret war
tactics to the Russian army! The
military court has decided: You


                       O. K. (cont'd)
will pay with your life, traitor!
Same shot. Two men arrive on the top of the hill, holding a
wooden chair in their hands.
Medium shot of Klapka and the two men.
                       O. K. (Angry)
A dining chair? Didn't you find
anything better?
The two men want to return.
                       O. K.
Wait! We have not much time left.
Put it under the gallows!
The men move to the left.
Continuity cut to the gallows. The men put the chair below
the left one.
Medium shot back to Klapka, who looks at Svoboda.
                       O. K.
Traitor! Do you have anything to
say, before you die?
Cross-cut to a close up shot of Svoboda's face. Short moment
of silence.
                       N. S.
No... I have nothing to say
anymore. Everything I ever wanted
to say is said. Just hang me
Slight zoom out. Mysterious violin music again. Svoboda is
grabbed by two men on arms and dragged to the gallows.
Tracking shot of his face. He is gazing to the right the
whole time.
Cross-cut to the crows, who are fighting over the carcass
Cut back to a medium shot of Svoboda, being lifted on the
Medium shot of Klapka and Demetriov.
                       O. K.
Lieutenant, put the noose around
his neck, fast!
                       P. D. (Saluting)
Yes, captain!


The camera follows Demetriov walking to the gallows.
Precariously, he ascends next to Svoboda on the chair. Small
shot of their faces. Demetriov tries to put the noose around
Svoboda's neck and Svoboda is still staring at the crows.
                       N. S. (Absend-minded)
Do you see these crows?
Demetriov looks for a second to the crows and continues
                       N. S.
They are beautiful... They're like
a beautiful dream, I never want to
wake up...
Pull back shot. Demetriov is done putting the noose around
Svoboda's neck and descends from the chair. From the crowd
appears an old Orthodox priest.
Medium shot of him, taking out a big prayer book and
searching a certain page. Background music is getting
Jump cut to a close zoom shot of Svoboda's face, staring
into the distance. Meanwhile, the captain orders Demetriov
to overturn the chair.
Jump cut to a close up of the priest's prayer book, being
leafed through. Background music is getting more and more
Jump cut to a zoom shot of Svoboda's face.
Cross-cut to the crows fighting.
Zoom shot of Svoboda's face again.
Cut to black.

Slow motion shot of the chair tipping over. Svoboda's feet
are now hanging in the wind. Discordant music.
Close up shot of Svoboda's face. His eyes are still widely
open. Meanwhile, the priest is speaking a prayer.
                       PRIEST (Solemnly)
Recieve, o Lord, the soul of...
Point-of-view shot from the dying Svoboda (2 seconds): Shaky
cam shot of the crows and the bare hills, both blurry. The
discordant music mixes with a loud rustle in this shot.
Close-up zoom shot of Svoboda's face. The priest is praying.
... the soul of Nikola ...
Point-of-view shot from the dying Svoboda (1 second).
Close-up zoom shot of Svoboda's face.


... of Nikola, Nikola, Nikola,
Nikola, ...
      (Voice fades away)
Nikola's face blurres out.


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