вторник, 1 юли 2008 г.
Chinese lady in Istanbul (work title)
The film is about several centuries of wandering of two Jewish families that lose contact and find each other in various places and in various times. The story will be told retrospectively, with a broken rhythm that does not follow the natural event chronology. The film will begin with the last episode in Istanbul, in the present day, and will slowly and chaotically go back through time and lands to 15-century Spain.
For the purpose of clarity, this synopsis will present the story in its chronologic continuity. The jigsaw pieces of events will be scattered later during the development of the script and according to the director view, just to be put back in place in the viewer’s mind.
Chronologically, the story starts in the wake of the expelling of the Jewish community from Spain during the 15th century. Isaac tells Sarah that he loves her. She makes a joke with the young man and makes her friends tell him that she has left the city. She hides in a cave near the city for three days to make Isaac believe the lie. When she comes out of her hiding and goes back to her neighborhood, she finds out that all Jews are gone. It turns out they were all expelled. Her parents had no choice but to leave her and had departed to save their lives. Sarah is desperate and walks around the city, begging people for bread and water. The only one who pays her any attention is a Chinese merchant who takes her to his house. On the next morning, he sees her sitting in a dark room crying, and he offers her to marry him and go with him to Beijing. Sarah accepts, the two get married and join a party of spice traders. The way goes through the Ottoman Empire, where the family of Isaac had settled. In Istanbul, they almost meet each other on one of the markets where the newlyweds go by. On one of the roofed markets, where the Chinese merchants stops to sell some of his spices, Sarah starts playing with a small kitten. The kitten runs away, Sarah follows and find herself in a small street near a synagogue, where a wedding is going on. Sarah sees that the groom is Isaac. The girl starts crying and runs back to the market and the traders continue on their way to China.
Isaac gets married and together with his Turkish-wife goes to her uncle in Plovdiv, then a part of the Ottoman Empire. The sultan send out a vizier to find him a new wife. Isaac is hired to draw sketches of the contenders as he is the best artists in the empire. On the way to Plovdiv, bandits raid the caravan and kidnap Isaac’s wife. Isaac stays in Plovdiv, where he paints portraits of rich Turkish families to support himself. The sultan cannot find himself a Bulgarian wife, but Isaac does. While doing a sketch of the daughter of a rich local craftsman, he falls in love with her. Her parents however refuse to accept him as their son-in-law and the couple runs away to a village in the Rhodopes.
During the pro-Nazi regime in the 1940s, authorities expel Isaac’s grand-grand-grand daughter from Sofia. In Vidin, her family lives in extreme poverty, harassed and humiliated by the Bulgarian authorities. While they wait to be loaded on a train, along with tens of other Jewish families, and taken to a concentration camp in Poland, Eva falls in love with Rasim. Every day, the Turk brings her food – cookies, baklava, Turkish delight and other pleasantries. The Jews never get on the train – Hitler loses the war and communists take power in Bulgaria. Powers that be change but their dislike for those different remains the same. Eva’s family and other Jews are given the humble opportunity to emigrate to the newly-founded state of Israel with only the clothes on their backs and a suitcase with the most necessary things. Eva refuses to leave and marries the young Turk Rasim, despite the objections of her family. They threaten to cut all connections with her and they do it for a number of years, more the easier as the ruling Communist Party forbids all contacts with an enemy state like Israel. Rasim wants his wife to have a Turkish name so she starts calling herself Zainep. Forty years later, Rasim and Zainep are standing in a very long line of refugees at the Bulgarian-Turkish border. The names ion their passports are different. Eva has her Jewish name back and is happy about it, but authorities force Rasim to change his name to the Bulgarian Raicho. Their son, Sefaidin, is now married to a Bulgarian woman who refuses to move to Turkey so Sefaidin stays in Bulgaria. Eva and Rasim emigrate to Turkey. Ten years later, their other son, Angel, decides to emigrate to Israel. he is depressed by the gloom realities and the lack of future in Bulgaria, he even has to save a gypsy boy from a bunch of skin-heads. He leaves for Israel and stays at a kibutz where he realizes that he is in something very similar to a concentration camp. The two supervisors in charge of the immigrants spend the aid money, that the state had given him, do not allow him to leave the fenced area and to make calls to Bulgaria. They promise him, that in a few months he will have to go at the front in the Gaza Strip. Angel runs away and starts looking for some relatives in Tel Aviv. He finds out that address he has is false and he has nowhere to go. He goes to a public park for the night where he is being mugged. He is desperate and decides to join the army. He is sent to Gaza. During a punitive mission against Palestine terrorist he is captured and sent to a Hizbullah camp in Lebanon. To save his life and because of his strong desire to get rich, Angel changes his identity and gets involved in drugs and arms trafficking. He settles under false identity in Istanbul and runs the local office of the Arab mafia and of the Al Qaeda terrorist network. During a raid, he has to take a group of tourists as hostages. In the sultan palace, where the hostages are being held, he falls in love with a Chinese tourist, who, inexplicably, goes under the Jewish name Sarah. He tries to save her but gets killed by his fellow terrorists. Sarah is saved but is very unhappy as she rides the tram to Beyoglu, a neighborhood of Istanbul. It is raining and rain drops run down the glass of the tram.