After Maria (2019) Movie Script

I'm always dreaming of Puerto Rico.
I have dreamed of the town I lived in
with my friends.
In Puerto Rico,
I have happiness. I have stability.
Life in Puerto Rico
was beautiful, but also difficult.
But let me tell you,
the food, the people...
One day, I'll go back to my island.
She stormed in like a monster,
completely devastating Puerto Rico.
- Is it open?
- Yes, the door is open.
After the hurricane passed,
everything was destroyed.
It didn't look like the same island.
The first thing that failed
was the communications system.
There was no cell reception,
no ATMs, no bank system.
It didn't matter if you had money or not.
The government said,
"Prepare yourselves for two weeks."
Everyone prepared.
Most of the people did. I did too.
But I never thought that,
even two weeks in, it'd still be chaos.
I had never seen Puerto Rico like that.
You'd go out on the streets,
and you would see all the trees
without any leaves,
destroyed houses,
people crying and yelling outside.
By 5:00 or 6:00 p.m., night would come,
and it was very dark. Too dark.
So we gathered
and sleptin one room together, all of us,
to be safe.
Half of my house was exposed.
And then the rats and the snakes
started to turn up,
like they were fighting over who would be
the last one to survive.
FEMA arrived at my house two months later.
They told me, "You cannot live here."
I didn't want to leave.
I had my dog, Chico.
I had my best friend.
But I had no choice.
Things had to get better.
But I was prepared to come here.
Ten and a half
months since Hurricane Maria
devastated Puerto Rico,
nearly half the island
still does not have electricity.
The slow pace of recovery
has lead hundreds of thousands
of Puerto Ricans,
who are American citizens,
to relocate on the U.S. mainland.
Transitional shelter assistance
provides hotel rooms
for displaced PuertoRicans to live in.
And they've got until June 30th
before FEMA will finally
discontinue the program.
So they essentially will be homeless
at the end of June.
Pretty! Look!
And you haven't come to see me.
That's why I didn't show you.
Look at this one. You like the big ones.
Look how cute this one is!
- And you haven't come to see me.
- But I don't...
- I don't like silver.
- This isn't silver. It's gold, sweetheart.
Oh, are they bigger than these?
The bigger, the better.
Honey, these are
the biggest ones there are.
If they are bigger than these,
I'll buy them.
Where are you? At the park over there?
Are there more people there I can sell to?
I will sell these to everyone.
Oh, I've got this bracelet
that matches your eyes!
Six months, here in this hotel.
...for school tomorrow.
My husband and I share a room.
Between four walls...
all I could do was look out at the road.
But, little by little,
I began to leave the room.
- Come give me a hug.
- You're going to spray me!
Is there a stripper?
Is there a stripper?
Give me a hug and a kiss.
I met her here at the hotel.
They are like family to me.
No, no, no!
I am the crazy one in this friendship.
Kenia is very spontaneous. She always
does something that makes you laugh.
Sheila is a bit more serious.
She's like our anchor.
"Paint your hair yellow!"
- Let me make a wish.
- I wish to have an apartment.
I wish to have a five-bedroom apartment!
I wasn't just thinking about myself.
- Come on, do it!
- Five rooms for all of us.
The candles are moving.
- Move.
- Do it!
Just blow. What's with you?
- It's not your birthday.
- I hope my wish comes true.
You have reached
the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
For people who only
speak Spanish, say, "Spanish."
Good afternoon. How can I assist you?
I want to verify
when our hotel voucher is expiring, love.
Do we stay until June 30th
and leave July 1st?
Allow me to verify
so I can give you the right information.
- No problem. Don't worry, I'll hold.
- Thank you.
I've always been nice to them because...
what's the point of taking it out on them?
My heart'd be like...
And they'd be like,
"Sure, ma'am. No problem."
All right, ma'am.
You should be leaving July 1st,
but you should verify the check-out time
with the hotel.
- The 30th, I sleep here. The 1st, I leave.
- That's right.
- Right.
- Okay. Are there any updates?
That's the latest information.
Can I help you with anything else?
No. Thank you, love.
That'd be all. You're so kind.
Stay calm. Don't worry.
They're the ones in charge.
Let's hope for a miracle.
The evacuee
population that we work with,
we've seen an ongoing hurricane, right?
On the island, a hurricane passed.
It was devastating.
There were long-term consequences.
For the evacuees, that hurricane is being
renewed every month
because they are living
under perpetually precarious situations.
They're trying to seek a job
with a living wage,
trying to get their children's needs met
and healthcare issues met.
It's an ongoing survival mode.
There is an apartment
for rent. We should ask.
- What?
- It could be nice.
- "For rent"?
- Does it say?
Over there.
Please exit at the rear door.
We got married on June 7th, 2017.
Four months before the hurricane.
I've had my highs and lows in love
because I've had four partners before.
I asked God to bring a good man
into my life, and he showed up.
And he opened my heart to love again.
Come here.
After Hurricane Maria,
I sat down with my husband
and told himwe needed to leave.
Life's not easy.
I have tumors in my throat.
The hospital system was down,
there was no electricity,
and many doctors had left Puerto Rico.
This is the one you want, right?
Yes. I want a large.
Sounds good. I'll get it for you.
These are Louis Vuitton.
If you take two, I'll sell both for $25.
My husband works at a parking lot.
So I'm trying to make extra money
to help him out.
I try to be happy and cheerful.
How can we make it in this city
when it's so difficult to live here?
Look, Nilda Lee,
you just have to stay calm
when you're in school. Don't worry.
You aren't the one misbehaving.
It's the other girls who are bullying you
and stealing your cell phone.
You're very mature for being 11.
I want you to look pretty
and well put together.
This is the first time I've been bullied.
It didn't happen in Puerto Rico
because I had a lot of friends there.
They don't get along with me.
I don't speak English,
and I'm from another country.
I am not from their country.
They bully me and tell me stuff.
This is our stop.
She doesn't want to go to school.
God, it's not easy.
I miss my island. Oh, yeah.
We lived out in the country.
The air was natural, fresh.
It was completely quiet.
Only the sound of roosters.
I miss it.
I would bring the Puerto Rican flag
with me, even to the moon.
There are so many Puerto Ricans
here in the Bronx...
sometimes it feels like
you're in Puerto Rico.
You're walking, and the cars pass by,
and you can hear salsa music.
You go, "Oh, look at that boricua
with the music blasting!"
It reminds you that even though
you're in a strange land,
you're still on your island.
Those are the shoes
- for each person that died in Puerto Rico.
- Yes.
According to a new study,
the death toll from Hurricane Maria
in Puerto Rico
is more than 70 times higher
than officials claim.
With a death toll of 4,645,
Hurricane Maria would become the second
deadliest hurricane in U.S. history.
If you look at a real catastrophe
like Katrina,
and you look at the tremendous hundreds
and hundreds of people that died,
you can be proud of all of your people,
all of our people working together.
The governor
is now highlighting the differences
of the federal government's response
to other hurricanes.
My message to all political leaders...
If they really, truly want to end
inequality with Puerto Rico,
let's not only look at what happened
in the past year,
past couple of years in Puerto Rico.
Let's look at the long-standing history.
Puerto Rico is a colonial territory.
Puerto Rican-U.S. citizens
are second-class U.S. citizens.
We have the most populated
colonial territory in the world,
but we don't have the right to vote.
My ask is very simple:
Do you support
eliminating colonial territories
in the 21st century in the United States?
Do you support statehood for Puerto Rico?
All we're asking is to be treated equally.
The whole world is watching.
They don't have the courage to face us
and say, "This is what happened."
- Trump came to throw paper towels...
- Mm-hmm.
...for us to soak up our tears.
You don't do that.
I think that Puerto Rico
was an incredible unsung success.
It was one of the best jobs
that's ever been done,
with respect to what this is all about.
My father died
one monthafter I got here...
of natural causes.
But they didn't say why.
It was due to lack of light,
lack of hygiene.
No water, no communication.
We got here in November,
and he died in December,
and I couldn't go back to see him.
But I'm not going to cry.
I need to stay strong in my heart
to survive with my daughter.
How can I help you?
You speak Spanish, please?
I'm calling to see
if you have a two-bedroom apartment.
I don't have any right now,
but if you leave your name and number,
I'll call you when one is available.
Please leave a short, detailed message
so that we can get back to you.
Sorry, there is no space for recording.
This is the real estate?
Yes. Can I help you?
You speak Spanish, please?
No, I don't speak Spanish.
Okay. You have the apartment
for the two room?
- No, um...
- What?
No. No, we don't.
ending assistance for Puerto Ricans
as many still struggle to recoverafter
Hurricane Maria's devastating impact.
In a statement,
FEMA saidthe program was, quote,
"A temporary solution that bridges
survivors into more permanent options."
Permanent options tough to find
in the tight rental market.
Hurricane Maria survivors have to find
their own place to live
or receive a one-way plane ticket
back to Puerto Rico.
FEMA is letting us go.
We don't have the resources
to be ableto move forward
after we leave the hotel.
It's unfortunate to say
that there really has been no improvement
in Puerto Rico.
I think if you go there, you may see,
oh, there are some lights back on,
there's street lamps up,
some of the roads have been repaired.
Those are really superficial.
When you see the closure of hundreds
of public schools,
the cuts to the public university system,
the closure of health care clinics
and parts of hospital wings.
FEMA was offering just a one-way ticket
back to something.
It didn't include a home,
didn't include long-term housing.
Hello, Sheila. We invaded the room.
Hi. How are you?
Good and how are you?
Good. Honestly, I'm gonna tell you...
I'll tell you what they are talking about.
Please don't get your hopes up.
- This whole thing is upsetting me.
- Okay.
To be honest,
a solution by this weekend
would be a miracle
because it's so last-minute.
- Okay.
- Um...
I think the city
is trying to pressure people.
Pressuring them
to go to homeless shelters.
Since a lot of people don't want to go,
they'll instead go back to Puerto Rico.
That's the strategy I'm seeing.
So let's go to another hotel.
To another hotel, but it's going
to be for people that are homeless.
They have the resources to do something.
The thing is that they want most of us
to leave the country.
We just have to keep living day by day
and wait.
- Exactly.
- Strong together.
Right. We can't break down
because we went through worse
in Puerto Rico.
How long were we without water
and electricity in Puerto Rico?
- With no food.
- Here, we have water and electricity.
Where will we be?
We don't know. We just have to wait.
- God will provide.
- I wish I was you.
Mm-hmm. Exactly.
It's a slow process.
One day at a time.
- How many more days?
- Four.
That's right.
We need ice.
Nilda, can you get more ice?
She gets stuck on the phone.
I should take it away.
I live alone here. No one listens to me.
Nilda Lee, answer me.
- Oh, Lord.
- What?
There you are!
You're here! Great!
I'm happy you're here!
What time did you get here?
I was never gone.
What did you hear?
What did the doctor say?
What did he notice about her?
The doctor noticedthat
what she went through withthehurricane
hasaffected her emotionally.
That those memories aren't going to fade
until she has stability and security.
- Yes. Hi, Nilda Lee.
- Uh-huh.
Tell me how it went.
Come here so I can talk to you.
How did it go? How was it?
You tell me. How did it go?
- Where?
- The psychologist's.
I told him that I was in my house
the day of the hurricane.
I was young.
I thought it was coming to kill me.
I also told him
I've been clenching my fists.
I sometimes pull my hair.
I hide in the bathroom.
Sometimes I drive myself a little crazy.
I have told you that I want to help you
because you're like a daughter to me.
Kenia is like a sister to me.
I want to help youbecause when I see you
acting like that, pulling your hair,
throwing your fists,
or saying you're ugly
and that you have no friends...
Try this instead...
Breathe, calm down,
and go on about your day.
See yourself as you really are.
You are a very pretty girl
who is just starting to live.
You have to say, "I am beautiful,
and I'm going to conquer the world."
Keep pushing forward,
and you are goingto find not just one,
but millions of friends.
We have three days left,
and I'm in a bit of a panic.
I don't know if we'll get the assistance
we need to get a roof over our heads,
or if we'll be out on the street.
The one thing I know
is thatwe'll be separated.
We won't be together anymore.
No! Come here!
Happy Birthday!
It's from all of us!She's going to cry.
Come on, Nilda Lee!
This was not our idea.
We had a different idea.
Hurricane housing for
the victims of Hurricane Maria is over.
As of today, most affected families
will lose their hotel and motel vouchers
and have to find another place to live.
Do you want to take these to storage?
- How many bags do you need?
- About four.
Four bags. The big ones.
Discard everything.
I want to give these to you
because I have to move.
- I'll take them.
- You will?
Calm down. This is a process.
It's hard, but...
we'll see each other soon.
What's her name?
- My name is Sheila Moreno.
- Sheila.
- My husband.
- Alvarez. It's him?
Alvarez, my husband.
He's right there.
Come here.
Ask them
what day did they arrive in New York City.
When did you arrive to the U.S.?
- December 24.
- December 24.
We came to the intake office,
and they told us that FEMA would help us.
Did FEMA cover your moving expenses?
No, FEMA didn't cover
our costs to move here.
Those people aren't helping at all, Kenia.
No, FEMA didn't cover
any travel fare money...
They aren't doing anything.
They don't help with anything.
Do theyunderstand
why they're being transferred?
She says no.
Okay. So tell her
the reason why she's being moved
is because the government is not paying
for her family to stay here anymore.
For none of the families.
So tell her
that she's goingto go stay at a shelter.
We don't know how long
she's going to be there.
What are they thinking?
Are they going to just leave people
out on the streets?
Excuse me. Excuse me. Excuse me.
These people don't have a place to stay.
Glenda Martez?
Do you haveany
family you could stay with for a while?
Try to think of where you can go.
My son lives in Orlando
in a small room with my mom and dad.
I can't go there.
What about my husband's job?
Are they giving him a job in Orlando?
They haven't explained anything to her.
Where are you going?
She said, "You have family in Orlando?"
"My son is there."
"Then go to Orlando." I can't.
Christian lives in a studio.
He took in my mom and dad who are sick.
Try to talk to them
when they finish with Kenia.
They'll explain everything to you,
but I have to leave now. Yes, I'll go.
I need to go because otherwise...
- It's okay...
- Remember that this is only today.
Because she is saying
that she will find you some help.
Don't cry because that's what they want.
To destabilize us so that we take off.
- And that's not the case, okay?
- Okay.
- This is what's left.
- Yes, I know.
Nothing but dust.
First Hurricane Maria...
and then this ordeal.
I miss him, like I miss Mom.
I miss him looking after me
and my daughter.
I feel so lonely.
It's not that they just died.
They let them die.
And hurricane season is coming again.