I Am Henryk
based on a true story
A Screenplay by George Hartman
OPENING CREDITS ROLL
MUSIC: An elaborate electronic space sound. Smooth and as continuous as the moving camera’s journey to earth.
EXT: Deep in the universe, far from earth.
At first what seems to be complicated microscopic images of glowing, duplicating cells slowly pans out into the vast universe. The connection of deep space and deep inner microscopic “universe” is made.
Camera begins weaving its way thru an intricate pattern of yellow, glowing lights connected to a huge bright energy source (Sun). There are millions of points of light connected and communicating with each other.
Flight of camera changes direction and moves down from the points of light. It begins an elaborate downward spiral thru galaxies, planets, gases etc which eventually end up in the Milky and then then earth.
The cameras flight is like that of a swift bird of prey circling the earth and then dipping into the Pacific ocean and quickly gliding across the 3,000 mules of the United States. Gliding across mountains, cities, forests, desserts etc until it reaches New York City and lowers itself even more. It does a 360 around Manhattan and ending up doing a slow rotation around the Twin Towers.
After the opening credits roll the music fades into a bustling aggressive honking street scene.
SLOW FADE IN OF TEXT ON MIDDLE OF SCREEN: “September 11, 2001”
INT: Lucyna’s kitchen
A small crowded Apartment in Queens New York September 2001. Henryk a strong Polish immigrant sits at a small breakfast table with his sister Lucyna eating a breakfast that she made.
He is a big strong man, unusually dark skinned for a Pole. He has a thick head of bushy black hair and wild black eyes to match.
Lucyna is a small humble woman with round glasses and her brown hair pulled back into a pony tail. She works two jobs and looks tired as she serves her brother bacon eggs and toast.
She pours a hot steaming cup of coffee that was on the table in front of her brother Henryk.
Lucyna: (thru the steam) It is going to be a beautiful day, Henryk.
Henryk: Yes! It will be good weather to work in.
Lucyna: (sits down across from him) I worry about you Henryk.
Henryk: I am fine sister!
Lucyna: You work too hard. New York is a crazy place.
Henryk: (looking down at his plate) This is good bread sister! It is not American sponge bread. Where did you get this bread!
(looks up and bites bread)
Lucyna: Stop changing the subject Henryk! Please be careful out there. You know no English and New York is dangerous. You have a family waiting for you in Krakow…
Henryk: (interrupting) Thats why I am here! I work like pig and send money to my family to build house. This….. because of you Lucyna. I could not do this without you.
Lucyna: Ok my dear, ok. Just be careful. (stands up and starts collecting the dishes on the table)
Do you remember you English lesson Henryk?
Henryk: (frowns in disgust) Awwwww. It is such a baby language! Stupid.
Lucyna: I know it isn’t easy but you must learn if you are to stay here!
That is part of the agreement for you to stay with me remember?
Henryk: Awwww Lucyna!
Lucyna: (loud) What was yesterdays lesson?
Henryk: Awwww I don’t know!
Lucyna: Come on, you remember!
Henryk: (jumps up and starts to walk to the door) I have to go sister!
Lucyna: (stands in front of him and blocks the door) Henryk!
Henryk: His face resigns and he goes into deep thought. Ummmmmmmm….
(after a while, in broken English)
G-G-Good. Morn. Ing. S-S-Sir.
Lucyna: Yes. Henryk! Again!
Lucyna: (grabs his shoulders and looks up sternly into his face) Again!
Henryk: Good. M-Morning. Sir. (smiles) Good. Morning Sir!
Henryk: I have to go sister. I will be late!
Henryk: Good morning Sir. Good morning sir! Good morning sir!
Henryk:: Good morning sir! (smiles) I have to go! I was late yesterday and I never heard the end of it.
Lucyna: (hugs him) I have to go too. Be careful ok?
Henryk: (pulls away) Yes my dear. And thank you for everything!
INT: Subway Hallway -Day- Long Shot
Henryk is walking swiftly through a large crowd of rush hour commuters. There is a old street musician against the wall playing Sinatra’s “New York New York” with an accordion. It’s very loud and off-key. He looks up at a clock sticking out from the tiled subway wall and it reads 8:03.
He walks quicker, then begins a half jog. The crowd of commuters around him thickens greatly as they approach a narrow stairway.
There is pushing, cursing in all languages, grunting, and Henryk himself gets elbowed harshly in the arm. He probably would have fell over but being in the middle of the crowd keeps him up. As the crowd moves up the stairs with grunts, groans and farts the camera pans into Heryks face.
CLOSE UP of Henryks face.
His face is distorted and his eyes are distant, THE CAMERA pulls back and suddenly Henryk is back in Poland having a picnic with his wife and two children on the side of a stream with bright blue skies and puffy white clouds.
Commuter: Yo Man. (louder) Man. (screaming)Yo man MOVE!
As quickly as Henryk was in the meadow picnic, he is back in the crown. People are jamming into a subway for standing room only. Some people push by Henryk as the doors begin to close. He tries to be the last one in but a big black man pushes him out of the way and takes his place. The subway doors close in front of him.
Henryk gasps and looks at the man that took his place bewildered.
The man smiles and puts his middle finger on the subway window and smiles as it begins to pull away.
Henryk slowly turns around and looks at another clock surrounded by a wire cage on the wall; 8:16.
Henryk: O kurwa
The camera pulls out from Henryks disappointed face and goes up to show Hebryk standing on a dark dirty subway platform with about five other people that couldn’t fit in the train. One of them an older Spanish woman suddenly begins screaming. There are about five rats scurrying across the platform in front of everyone.
Woman: (in Spanish) Oh my god. Oh my god. Get away from me!
One of the rats actually breaks away from the pack and approaches her squeaking loudly.
Woman: backs away screaming) Oh my god. Oh my god. Help!
(still working Continued)