First Person Singular

by Eric Priezkalns
+974 33191443
+44 7958 467273
(c) Eric Priezkalns 2010

Fade IN:

EXT. CAR PArK - DaY

A car park with a few cars and no people.  A man's feet walk into the shot.  He is X.  The camera pulls back to show the rest of X as he walks across the car park towards his car.  He carries a business case.  There is nobody else in sight.  As X walks he takes out his mobile phone and makes a call.

Mr. X

Hello Darling.

(pause)

It's me, of course -

(joking)

were you expecting somebody else?  I'm just leaving work...

(pause)

Yup, I'll do that.

X gets into his car.

Mr. X

Are we still on for tonight?

(beat)

Good, then I'll see you then.  Bye for now.

INT. Inside the Car - dAY

X places his mobile phone on the passenger seat beside him.  He puts on his sunglasses, using the rear view mirror to check how he looks and to adjust his hair.  We see a close-up of his face in the mirror.  We look at X from behind, seeing the road ahead from over his shoulder, as he pulls off.

X drives his car.  We see other cars driving around, but never close enough to see anyone inside them.

We see a close-up of the mobile phone, on the passenger seat, as it starts to ring.  The display says the caller is unknown.  X looks at the phone but he does not answer.

INT. Car PARK - DAY

The car pulls into the underground car park of a residential apartment block.  X parks, gets out and walks to the elevator.  We follow from behind.  As X is walking, his mobile phone rings again.  He looks at the display and he decides to answer.  He lifts the phone to his ear, and with his free hand he presses the button for the elevator.

Mr. X

Hey!  What's happening?

Friend on PHone (V.O.)

Right now?

(joking)

Well, nothin's happenin' right now.  That's 'cos you're not here like you said you were gonna be.  Where are you, man?  I thought you were gonna come by and collect your gear - maybe hang out and stuff.

Int. Elevator

X gets into the elevator.  He is alone in the elevator.  We see him from the front, in close-up.

Mr. X

I just arrived back home.

(looks at his watch)

Sorry, I didn't notice what the time was.  I'll come up to your place and collect my things in ten minutes.  But I can't stop - I have plans for tonight.

int. Corridor of Apartment Building - DAY

X steps out of the elevator, pulls his keys from his pocket and enters his apartment.

INT. Apartment - DAY

X puts his case down on the ground and walks around to the kitchen to pour himself a drink of a clear liquid.  We do not see the bottle, so do not know what exactly he has poured; it may be water.

X returns to the living room with the drink, picks up the remote control and switches on the TV.  X sits down, and flicks through channels, settling on the news.  We see X from the side; we hear the newsreader's voice but do not see the screen.

Male Newsreader (V.o.)

(quiet)

In other news today, three people died after a young driver lost control of his vehicle and collidied with a car coming in the other direction...

(the newsreader's voice becomes inaudible)


There is a hammering sound from the wall X shares with the neighbouring apartment.  X turns up the volume of the television using the remote control.

Male Newsreader (V.o.)

(louder)

... the US Ambassador had been called to meet with the Foreign Minister following allegations of commercial espionage.  The allegations were made after a local businessman...

X is distracted by the sound of children playing in the corridor outside his apartment.  We see X sitting and trying to concentrate on the TV, with the door of the apartment in the background.

CHILDREN (O.S.)

(singing, running, laughing, and the sound of a bicycle being ridden)


Neither X nor we can hear the news over the noise of the children.  X turns his head away from the TV towards the door. There is the sound of an accident in the corridor, of somebody falling from their bike outside X's door.

CHILDREN (O.S.)

(screaming, crying)


X quickly gets up and hurries to the door to see what has happened outside.  We follow X from behind.

int. Corridor of Apartment Building - DAY

We are looking down the corrider.  All noise stops the instant that X opens his door.  He looks outside, but there is nobody in the corridor.  There is no bicycle, nor evidence that any children were there.  X turns his head to look up and down the corridor.

SERIES OF SHOTS:

A: The camera sees the corridor from the X's perspective, rapidly panning to look in each direction.  The corridor is empty in all directions.

B: X turns back to his apartment door.  We see him in the corridor, pulling his door closed from the outside, and locking it.

C: X goes to the stairwell and walks up one flight.  We follow X from behind.

D: X comes out of the stairwell at the next floor up.  We continue to follow him from behind.  X knocks on an apartment door.  A sign saying the apartment number is '2705' is plainly visible on the wall.  X waits.  Loud music can be heard playing behind the door.  X puts his ear to the door, then bangs it again.  Then X tries to look the wrong way through the door's peephole.

E: We see X's eye from the side, in close-up, trying to look through the peep-hole.

F: We see the peep-hole from X's perspective.  A bright light comes through the peephole.  Everything is blurred, making it impossible to see any detail.

G: We see X from behind.  X loudly bangs the door with the palm of his hand, and shouts.

Mr. X

(shouting loudly)

Hello?  Hello?  Are you in there?  Can you hear me?

G: Close-up of X's face as he shakes his head and angrily walks away.

Int. stairwell

X walks back down the stairs.  We follow from behind.  Half way between floors, his mobile telephone rings.  X stops.  He takes his mobile telephone out of his pocket, and answers it.

Friend on PHone (V.O.)

Hey man, where are you?  I thought you said you were gonna be ten minutes?

Mr. X

What do you mean: "where am I?"  Where are you?  I was pounding your door just thirty seconds ago.  Didn't you hear me?

Friend on PHone (V.O.)

Sorry man.  I guess I must have my music on too loud.  I'm going deaf in my old age (laughs).  I swear I didn't hear a thing.

X turns around and walks back towards the camera, back up the stairs.

INT. Corridor Outside of Apartment 2705 - DAY

Loud music still plays behind the door of Apartment 2705.  X bangs loudly on the door.  We see X from behind, as he stands facing the door.

Mr. X

Okay, I'm here!  Open up.

There is no answer.  He rings the bell repeatedly and then bangs again.

Mr. X

Hey!  Open up!

(sarcastic aside)

Incredible.  This guy really knows how to waste my time.

X pulls his telephone out again, and makes a call.  He turns a little more sideways and away from the door so we can see X's face in profile.

Mr. X

You really need to turn that music down.  I'm right outside.  Can't you hear me banging?

Friend on PHone (V.O.)

What are you talking about?  I'm standing outside my apartment waiting for you.

Mr. X

(confused)

What?

Friend on PHone (V.O.)

Have you got the right apartment?

Mr. X

Is this a joke?  Of course I've got the right apartment.

Friend on PHone (V.O.)

I'm in apartment two-seven-zero-five, yeah?

We can see that X is standing right by the sign that says apartment 2705.

Mr. X

If this is a joke, I don't think it's funny.

(bangs door once with closed fist)


Friend on PHone (V.O.)

Man, I don't know what your problem is.  There must be something wrong with you.

(hangs up)


We hear a disconnected tone.  X looks at his phone, then puts it in his pocket.

SERIES OF SHOTS:

A: X walks quickly back down the stairs.  We follow from behind.

B: X walks up the corridor towards and then past the camera.

C: X walks towards the camera and towards his apartment door.  He turns and unlocks his door and is about to go back into his apartment.  Then he stops and looks down the corridor, roughly in the direction of the camera.  The camera pulls back and up to reveal what X is looking at: a small children's bicycle is lying on the floor; it was not there before.

INT. APARTMENT - DAY

X sits back down to watch TV.  He sips from his drink.  As he does, there is a knock at his door.  We follow from behind as X goes to the door and looks through the peephole.

We see X's eye from the side, in close-up, as he looks through the peep-hole.  X blinks.

We see from X's perspective through the peephole.  There is nobody outside; the corridor looks empty.

We see X's eye from the side, in close-up.  He rubs his eye and looks again.

We see from X's perspective through the peephole.  As before, there is nobody outside; the corridor looks empty.

X turns back to sit down but as he does, there is the sound of knocking at the door.  X instantly flings open the door.  There is nobody there.  X looks down the corridor again.  The corridor is empty, except for the bicycle.  X closes the door and goes back into the apartment.  His mobile phone rings and he answers.

Woman (V.o.)

Hi, it's me.  Where are you?  I'm waiting for you outside your apartment.

Mr. X

Sorry?

WOMAN (V.O.)

Yeah, I know, I'm early.  I wanted to surprise you for once.  It seems like I'm the one who got caught out.  You said you'd left work.  Did you get stuck in traffic or were you being naughty - stopping for some smokes on the way home?  Anyhow, how long will it be before you're back?

Mr. X

I'm home already.

WOMAN (V.O)

(puzzled)

You are?  Then let me in.  I'm right outside.

X opens the door.  The corridor is empty.

Mr. X

Where outside?  Outside the building?

WOMAN (V.O.)

Outside your apartment.  Listen - this is me ringing the bell.

The doorbell rings.

WOMAN (V.O.)

So come and open the door please, sweetheart.

(beat)

Are you in the bathroom or something?  You know I hate it when you answer your phone whilst... you know.

Mr. X

I don't understand.  I'm standing at my door right now.  There's nobody here...

WOMAN (V.O.)

Darling?  What are you talking about?

Mr. X

Is this a prank? (laughs nervously)  It's pretty clever.  How did you manage to make the bell ring?

X looks at the button for the doorbell and presses it as he speaks, making it ring again.

WOMAN (V.O.)

What's wrong, darling?

(beat)

You sound... I mean you don't sound your normal self.

Mr. X

I'll leave the door unlocked.  You just come straight in when you get here.

X allows the arm holding his phone to drop to his side.  He lets the door swing closed behind him, and he steps back inside his apartment.

WOMAN (V.O.)

(worried)

Darling, darling, is there something the matter?  If there's...

(disconnected tone)


X hangs up, cutting off the woman mid-sentence.  He goes back to sit in front of the TV.  We see X's face in close-up.  First X is confused, then a look of shock is expressed on his face.  X sits up and looks more closely at the TV.  The camera moves around to look over X's shoulder, bringing the TV screen into view.  We can see the newsreader on the TV screen.  The newsreader has the same face as X.

Cut To:

Close-up of the TV screen.  The newsreader looks identical to X and is looking straight ahead, into the camera.

X-AS-Newsreader

Is there a problem?

INT. APARTMENT - Night

X is asleep in front of the TV.  A woman is reading the news.  X is startled awake by more hammering on the wall.  He gets up and goes to the door.  We follow from behind.

int. Corridor of Apartment Building - Night

X goes to his neighbour's apartment.  We follow from behind.  The hammering noise continues.  X rings the bell of his neighbours.  The hammering stops.  X knocks on the door.  He waits.

Mr. X

(shouting)

Hello?  I know you're in there.  Can you just keep the hammering to daylight hours please?

We see X from the perspective of the neighbour's peephole.  X stands with his hands on his hips.  He is impatient.  He knocks on the door again.

Mr. X

Look, I just want to get along, OK?  Would you just open the door so we can talk about this like civillized people?

X waits, then gets frustrated and leaves.

MR. x

OK, suit yourself.

INT. APARTMENT - Night

X sits back down.  The TV is still on but he is not watching it; he is sipping from his drink and looking out of the window.  We can hear that a woman is continuing to read the news.  The camera moves around so we can see the TV screen, from over X's shoulder.  We can see a woman newsreader and X taking another sip from his drink.

INT. Surveillance Room - Night

The room is dark.  We cannot see anything about the room except that there are two men sitting in the room and they are watching a screen.  The two men wear white coats.  We only see them partially and from behind; we do not see their faces.  We see the screen that they watch from between their shoulders.  The image on the screen is in black-and-white.  On that screen is the same view of X's apartment as we saw in the previous scene.

First Man in White Coat

(quiet, like a stage whisper)

How well do you think the subject is performing?

Second Man in White Coat

(gruff)

I think he's doing just fine.  Let's take this to the next level.

INT. APARTMENT - Night

We see the same perspective as before, looking over X's shoulder as he sits and whilst a woman reads the news on the TV.  The camera slowly tracks sideways behind X.  The woman continues to read the news but the screen becomes obscured because X's head is in the way.  It continues to track slowly.  The woman's voice stops.  A male voice is heard instead.  As the camera's point of view looks over the other shoulder of X, we start to see the TV screen again.  The newsreader has changed.  The newsreader now has the same face as X.

We see a close-up of the TV, with the newsreader-that-looks-like-X looking straight ahead.

X-AS-Newsreader

Hello again.  In other news, your next door neighbour is about to start hammering on the wall again.  Three... two... one...

We see a close-up of X's face as he sits on the sofa.  He does not react to the newsreader's message.

The hammering starts again.  X turns his head towards the hammering.  Suddenly his face shows fear.  He turns back to the TV.

MR. X

What's happening?

INT. Surveillance Room - Night

We see a close-up of the black-and-white surveillance screen.  X's face is in close-up on that screen, the same shot as in the previous scene.

The camera pulls back.  We stay focused on the surveillance screen but as we pull back we start to see the surveillance screen between the shoulders of the two men in white coats.  The men in white coats look forward and we can only see their shoulders and some of the backs of their heads.

The men in white coats are watching X on the surveillance screen.  The image on the surveillance screen keeps changing, but it is always of X in his apartment, implying there are many hidden cameras in X's apartment.  On the surveillance screen, X appears very afraid.  X is looking around rapidly; sometimes he looks directly at the camera.

The camera pulls back further.  We see more of the men in white coats, but still from behind.  They continue to face forward.  They speak to one another without moving.

First Man in White Coat

It's going well.

Second Man in White Coat

No.

(beat)

There's been a complication.

The second man in a white coat slowly turns his body around to face towards the first man in a white coat.  The first man in a white coat is motionless; he continues to look forward at the surveillance screen.

The second man in a white coat keeps turning his torso until he faces the first man; he then rapidly turns his neck to look directly at the camera.  We see that the second man in a white coat has an identical face to X.  He reaches his arm out towards the camera.  He holds up a fist, pauses, and then he very deliberately brings it down to knock three times on the glass of the camera - the glass between us and the men in white coats.  Each time he knocks, we clearly hear the sound of his knuckle against the glass.

Fade Out.

THE END