James A. Mangum and Emma Conner.
INT. HOTEL ROOM - DAY.
A scatter of personal belongings are spread liberally around the room: various camera equipment, a rucksack, a British passport. Propped on the bedside table is a framed photograph of a little boy, approx six years old.
The owner of this curious collection is JANE, 30, who is seated on the edge of the bed, still weary from the long flight but excited nonetheless.
The adventure is about to begin.
EXT. MOUNTAIN RANGE - TEXAS - DAY.
Jane is fiddling with her camera, arranging and re-arranging it on the the tripod and adjusting the settings.
She peers through the view finder and we are afforded our first look at the view: the red rock mountains look like they belong on the surface of Mars. Yet they were only a plane journey away.
Jane takes a minute to savour the landscape before pressing the shutter button.
EXT. MOUNTAIN RANGE - TEXAS - EVENING.
The sky is festooned with the fiery reds and oranges one would expect to see at sunset, yet coupled with the landscape it is also unlike any sunset Jane has ever seen before.
She presses the shutter and captures the image.
EXT. INTERNATIONAL BRIDGE - EL PASO - NEXT DAY.
Tracking shot of Jane crossing the bridge into Juarez.
EXT. JUAREZ - MEXICO - DAY.
Jane is approached by a MEXICAN BOY of approx 8 years old.
Chicle! Quieres chicle?
I’m sorry. I don’t understand. No comprende.
Chicle...goom, senorita...goom. Uno quarter, por favor?
Oh, gum…yes, gum, por favor…here’s a quarter.
She is now surrounded by a dozen Mexican children and a CHORUS of: CHICLE, CHICLE!
Again, Jane finds herself in another world. Across the river from the most prosperous country in the world is one rife with poverty.
The contrast is staggering. Jane spares one last look at the Mexican Boy before pressing on. A great deal of the world, regardless of wealth, wears little or any make up and to pretend otherwise is naive.
So Jane captures what she sees, the ugly and the beautiful: child beggars, houses with dirt-flooring and no electricity, parents tending lovingly to their infants.
EXT. INTERNATIONAL BRIDGE - EL PASO - DAY.
Jane has been stopped by a CUSTOM'S INSPECTOR.
Step this way, ma'am.
Is there a problem?
Just need to ask you a few questions. United States citizen?
No, officer. British.
She hands the Inspector her passport.
I could've guessed that. What was your business across the border today?
I'm a photographer.
She holds up her camera to show him.
Well, we’ve received intelligence that all beautiful British women need to be stopped and questioned.
Jane gives him a, "yeah, right" look.
May I see some of those pictures.
This seems rather intrusive. After a long beat, Jane hands it over.
The CUSTOM'S INSPECTOR looks at a few before handing it back.
You have a nice day, little lady. And, by the way...Juarez is a very dangerous place. I strongly suggest you never cross the border alone again. Here’s my phone number.
He tips her a wink.
Jane smiles politely in return, but she remains unimpressed.
INT. HOTEL ROOM - NIGHT.
A laptop screen is open in front of us. The photograph of the boy is propped beside it.
Jane is typing what appears to be a diary entry to someone called JAMES. We cannot read much of the text, but Jane understandably has a lot to tell him.
She finishes up and saves the document. She flicks a glance up at the photograph as she does so.
She looks at it for a long moment.
INT. HOTEL - RECEPTION - DAY.
Jane is checking out of the hotel at the front desk.
She is on the move again.
EXT. MARFA - TEXAS - DAY.
This landscape is very familiar - we have seen it in countless films. Now Jane is snatching a brief window of time to show it to us through her own lens.
EXT. BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK - NEXT DAY.
We are back to where we started.
Moutains, lakes, rock formations. We see them through Jane's view finder as she takes some last shots. Some for the road, you might say.
When she is done, she steps up beside her camera, still mounted on its tripod, and just admires the view.
The photograph rests at her feet as though the child is admiring the view along with her.
FADE TO BLACK.
Created: May 10, 2012Emma-Conner Document Media