Memory Box (2021) Movie Script

The blizzard started just before 3 am
and it's been snowing since.
It's too much snow.
The city can't handle it.
We're ok!
I just did the tree with my aunt.
It's cool, isn't it?
Nice tree!
It's snowing here too.
My cousins can't remember
where they parked the car.
I'm off to my grandparents'
for Christmas.
They say the blizzard will hit Montreal
later today.
We'll see.
Hi, everybody.
You're lucky!
I'm so bored before the storm.
Dad's in France with his new family,
Mom's at work, I'm alone.
I have visitors.
Time to make some new friends...
Lynn, don't tell the others,
but I can't get over him.
I can't forget Jonas.
I miss him.
I look at our photos,
I eat,
and I get fat.
Look at my thighs.
Freely adapted from the correspondence
of Joana Hadjithomas 1982-1988
It's freezing out.
- You're early, Teta. Sorry, it's a mess.
- It's ok, it's ok.
So where's your mother?
Working, as usual.
As usual?
Working today of all days.
She could have made an effort
for this evening.
Wash your hands first.
Wash them properly.
Here, take this.
You obviously never ran out of water
in your life!
Are you still upset?
A little.
Sweetheart, the guy who can upset you
hasn't been born yet!
Use a bit of this...
Do this one. I'll stack them.
Like this?
Don't overfill it.
Because of the rice.
- It swells?
- Yes, it swells.
Your Grandpa Adel's favourite.
Rest his soul.
He always asked for these at Christmas.
Like this.
Don't be like your mom.
She can't judge a man.
You can judge a man
by how he eats vine leaves.
A man who swallows them two by two
is a selfish glutton,
unaware of our hard work.
You understand your Teta?
You understand me?
I understand everything.
Your mom should've made you
speak better Arabic.
Look at you!
25 years here
and you still don't speak French.
Who do you expect me to talk to?
Who ever spoke to me anyway?
- It's my daughter...
- After.
Mom, where are you?
We're waiting for you.
- Who's that?
- No one. I'll be home soon.
I'll call you. See you soon.
A parcel for Maia Sanders.
She lives here?
She's my mother.
Could it be a present?
- It's not for us.
- It is.
I'm her mother.
- She doesn't want it.
- What?
- What do we do?
- I'll take it.
Sign right here.
- Thank you.
- Perfect.
Happy holidays.
What's wrong?
Tell me!
Help me.
What is it?
Let's move it.
What is it?
- From Lebanon?
- It's nothing.
Help me.
Haber? Who's Haber?
I'll tell you after we move it.
We can't leave it here.
Who's Haber?
For God's sake!
Just give me a break.
Liza Haber.
A friend of your mother's.
Happy now? Push!
Why refuse it?
Tell me why.
The past drives your mom crazy.
She'll be sad
and it'll spoil all our hard work.
Is it something bad?
It's bad memories.
Help me.
Let us celebrate Christmas in peace.
We'll tell her tomorrow.
I promise you.
I promise, but help me.
I can't manage on my own.
I swear.
Let's go.
Behind the basement door.
I love your hair this time.
That colour's nicer.
Don't grow it long.
It makes your face thinner.
Crap Christmas, Lynn.
I miss my dad. You're with your families
and we're here alone.
And here, the photos
brought out on special occasions,
Mom's brother and my grandpa,
both killed in the Lebanese War.
We eat with the dead and ghosts.
So, sweetheart?
Well, that went well.
Right, honey?
She was such a big help.
We rolled the vine leaves.
She set the table, fixed the tree
and even offered me her bed for tonight.
It's natural.
You darling.
I'd love to stay,
but I prefer to go home.
If the blizzard lets me...
What's that?
Mass on the 40th day following the death
of Liza Haber
If only you could be with us...
Youssef and Eva
You knew Liza was dead?
Answer me!
Since when?
Since when?
I heard in late November.
I can't believe it!
When were you planning to tell me?
After the holidays.
After the holidays?
How did she die?
She died, that's all.
That's all, you say?
Answer and stop smoking.
A car accident...
I didn't tell you
so as not to upset you.
You hid my notebooks too?
How dare you?
You always have to interfere
in my life.
I didn't want to spoil
the Xmas meal I made with love.
For who?
A girl we haven't seen
in 25 years.
30 years even!
I just wanted to protect you...
It's not about love,
or dinner or protecting me.
Enough lies!
I told you
that box would spoil Christmas.
Bye, darling.
Teta, stay.
No, let me go now.
Good night.
Good night.
Sorry, Mom, I didn't want to lie.
Teta told me it would upset you.
What are these notebooks?
Alex, go to bed, please.
Just tell me what they are.
They're notebooks
I wrote in Lebanon during the war
to a friend who had moved to France,
Liza Haber.
She was my closest friend.
Can I look at them too?
Just go to bed, please.
Just a little...
No, I can't show you.
- Why not?
- Just go!
Why won't you?
Just a few photos.
Just some photos...
Or a notebook.
Why are you so upset?
How come you never mentioned Liza?
Leave me now.
We share nothing...
Stop it!
- I miss her!
- Where is she now?
- No news since I got back to Beirut.
- No sign on Facebook.
We were inseparable.
My second family.
I will be your eye
Over the moon, happy,
funny, cool, good!
Dreamy, nostalgic, so-so,
depressed, down, help!
Mood June 1982
Liza, a first notebook to keep
the promise made before you left.
I'll write every day,
I'll photograph everything.
I'll tell you all!
Thighs and zits
She had the same hang-ups as me!
Did she look like you?
Yes! We're the same!
Lucky you! I'd love to read
my mom's teenage diary!
Just for you
"The Jump" by Maia
Listen to tape N1
Scratch and sniff
First meeting
The Famous Five
I love this song.
I listen to it non-stop!
Liza, I miss you!
I'll tell you what happened.
The bombing lasted all week.
We had to flee the school.
Mom wanted to go to her village,
Dad wanted to stay
to protect the school.
He's the principal now.
They fought over and over again,
"Your work, your ideas cost me a son,
I want to protect our girl."
With the radio on as usual.
I couldn't even flee to my room.
I heard it all!
Liza, we're in the village.
We left Dad and brought Samia
who was alone at her grandma's.
We wander the village streets.
I put on my pink skirt.
Samia took my "Relax" T-shirt.
It's too short, but she doesn't care.
Michelle and Reina weren't at home,
but we found them on the square.
Three women, three destinies
She said she never smoked!
The hypocrite!
I know nothing about her!
Liza, so much has happened!
We were hitching to go for an ice cream
when they passed by.
They were listening to loud music,
songs I love.
I tried to take photos on the sly.
That's why they're out of focus.
Look at the driver.
He's so cute!
His name's Raja.
He's a DJ with radio 211.
His gang is the coolest!
Yesterday, they kept driving
back and forth.
Then they invited us
to go for a picnic tomorrow.
This is the best day of my life!
You know how romantic I am.
Love can strike anytime.
For me, I've decided
it's this boy, Raja.
He has incredible eyes.
When he smiles, my heart stops.
I don't know if he likes me,
but I like him.
It was the Italy-Brazil game,
but the power was off as usual.
So Raja and his friends
hooked the TV up to the car battery
and we all watched the game.
I pretended to take photos,
watching him discreetly.
And then we moved closer...
That night, things went wild.
The city was in flames.
Shelling and fires,
like in a movie.
Mom jumped with each explosion.
I was thinking of Dad under the bombs.
He stayed to protect the school.
He's trying to stop them
putting a canon in the yard.
I was scared for him,
and so sad...
Maia, Merry Christmas.
Let's not argue today.
Don't open the notebooks.
The past stinks.
Remember, we can't tell Alex anything.
She wouldn't understand.
But if you want to talk
to Liza's parents,
I found their number in an old diary.
01 331 820.
It's up to you. Bye, sweetheart.
Hello, you've reached the Haber family.
Please leave a message.
It's the anniversary
of my brother's death.
Six years today.
Hear that?
Hear my parents crying in their room?
Will I ever get over his death?
Mom and Dad never will.
I'm afraid I'll forget him.
I was so happy with Raja and the others
this summer, I feel guilty some nights.
I'm alive
and he's no longer here.
Former principal,
defender of secular education.
Murdered at home on April 3, 1987.
He had survived an earlier attack
that claimed the life of his son, Chadi.
Attack Adel Abboud
Murder Adel Abboud
Hi, Alex.
Knock first! It's my room!
Stop shouting!
- I've told you time and again.
- Calm down!
I'm sick of Mom's nagging...
Yes, Mom?
Yes, I'll tidy my room.
- Alex, where R U?
- Answer us.
I have to tell you something.
Every Saturday, I argue with my parents.
They won't let me go out.
I lied.
I said I have to study with Samia.
We'll go to the movies to see
"Phantom of the Paradise".
If you haven't seen it,
go as soon as you can.
- Samia's on the phone.
- What for?
I don't know. Talk to her.
Samia wants to talk to me.
They say we can't be happy for long.
That it's neither natural nor logical.
Whenever I'm happy,
something happens.
Turn the light off!
I hate her! She won't let me see Raja!
I've had enough of their shitty life!
No one will stop me from seeing him!
She has read them, hasn't she?
I told you she hasn't.
They're still in the basement.
I don't understand.
Why did you and Mom argue?
Stay out of it.
- Why didn't you like Liza?
- It's not poor Liza.
Those were difficult times.
We came to Montreal with nothing.
I know...
I worked day and night:
cooking, cleaning, sewing...
I want to understand.
So your mom could study.
That's over. Our life is here now.
Hold on, she's sleeping.
I'll call you back.
Ok, honey.
I'm going crazy here!
They won't let me see Raja.
They say he's not good enough for me,
but don't know him.
They heard he's a hoodlum
close to a militia group.
Dad hates militiamen
and their violence.
He says they killed my brother.
They won't listen.
For them, Raja is dangerous.
Raja and I lie. We lie all the time.
We meet in secret around the city.
He sends me messages
via Radio 211.
Secret appointments.
I can't wait to hear them.
Raja on Radio 211.
This song is from M for B:
"Remember our love."
From Kamal to Zeina:
"Wait for me!"
From Souheil
to those fighting for freedom.
From R to M...
"Nothing can defeat our love.
Usual place, tomorrow at 4."
With Raja,
I feel alive again.
He makes me happy.
He gets me away from the sadness
at home.
Mom's killing me.
She keeps harassing me.
She's afraid of everything:
car bombs, snipers, shelling...
She's always at the window, worrying,
listening to her crap radio!
Her fear rules us.
I'm suffocating.
I want to live.
We want to dance!
Have you lost your mind?
How can you do this to me?
Are you that irresponsible?
Get out of my sight!
You too!
Liza, it'll be autumn soon.
Things are sad here.
The final year of high school is tough.
Everything is collapsing:
life, security,
Even the Lebanese lira.
The city is increasingly divided.
Raja and I still meet in secret,
in isolated places.
He shows me other parts of the city.
Beirut is so destroyed...
Liza, you wouldn't recognize it.
I don't really know what attracts me.
I can't stop.
I feel I want to see it all,
photograph it all.
I'm scared the city
will vanish before my eyes.
Whatever happens,
I'll be a photographer.
It's my passion!
3rd day of captivity.
We can't move or go out.
The bombing is violent.
We all ran down to the shelter,
barefoot, in pyjamas.
Samia was sleeping here.
The neighbour in his shorts
is not a pretty sight!
The bombing has lasted 18 hours now!
4th day of captivity.
The atmosphere is unbearable.
We sleep on mattresses on the floor,
when we sleep
with all the radios on.
I counted five!
My mom's is the loudest, of course.
The endless talk and whispering,
the explosions...
Outside, chaos, disorder...
First, they say the army is in control,
then that the same army
has surrendered...
5th day of captivity...
No, imprisonment!
List of what we want to do
before we die.
Go on, Samia.
I don't want to die a virgin.
Me neither!
We want to travel, we never did.
We can't die
without seeing Rome, Paris or Egypt.
I want to take photos every day,
become a great photographer
and kiss Raja in the street...
- And you, Samia?
- I want food!
I want to eat!
All Samia thinks about is eating.
Jell-O, an apple, strawberries,
fish, a cake...
Ice cream, ice cream...
Shell launches and strikes
Samia, launch!
155 mm: strike!
Same horrible day, three hours later.
I record just to stay sane.
I only want the noise to end.
Hear that?
Everyone smokes,
but I can't in front of my parents.
I collect cigarette ends.
I'm scared.
Such a violent fear...
I can't stop crying,
tears stream down my face.
I'm scared of dying.
We're all gonna die.
6th day: we went out...
Lynn, are you there? I can't sleep.
Answer, please. Answer me!
Why did you message me at 4 am?
Can't you sleep or what?
Why don't you answer
our group's messages?
Still reading your mom's notebooks?
Stop, it's driving you crazy!
Meet me at the caf.
I'll take care of you.
I have to go out a bit.
- Listening to that?
- I like it.
See you later.
Ok, see you.
Yes, I'm less active in the group.
I want to read and listen to it all,
to know the rest.
I don't recognize my mom.
She's changed so much.
She was so passionate about photography,
Raja, Liza...
She never mentions them.
What can she be hiding?
She lies all the time.
My mom's really strange.
When were the photos taken?
Thirty years ago.
They might be fogged.
Give me an hour.
See you later.
Liza, Raja and I don't see things
the same way anymore.
He thinks he must get involved
and resist.
I say there are other ways,
but he wants to fight.
He says I do nothing,
that I'm a coward and a pacifist,
like my father.
I refused to listen.
My father resists by educating people!
Raja says we need to survive now,
not educate.
I yelled that my brother died
cos people thought that way.
I lost my mind.
He left, furious.
I tried calling him all night,
but the phones never work here.
I finally managed to talk to him.
We both cried.
We're so lost...
Yesterday, I saw Raja at a checkpoint.
Liza, he lied. He told me
he no longer hung out with them.
Seeing him there was a shock.
I felt shame in front of my parents.
The roadblock is humiliating enough.
I didn't know what to do.
Your papers!
Everything is screwed up.
We don't know who or why we fight.
All beliefs and ideology are gone.
Our corrupt, pathetic leaders
only care about power.
It's hard to define
the border between good and evil.
Thank you. It's so cute.
It's simple,
but I thought you'd like it.
- Thank you.
- You're welcome.
We're all lost, longing for ideals,
"illusions" my father says,
after believing in them all his life.
Some of our friends die, or go missing,
and others leave.
I'm scared for Raja.
He swore to me
he'd handed in his weapons.
But, each time we part,
I wonder if I'll see him again
or if he's going to fight in secret
and someone will come
to tell me he's dead.
And you, Liza, where are you?
When will you be back?
You feel so far away.
I miss you.
No, I didn't knock.
Because you don't give a damn
about my private life!
I told you not to touch my notebooks.
That's why I put them away.
It's my fault?
Alex, stop it!
I asked about your past,
but you never told me a thing.
You're absent, busy or tired!
All you ever do is lie.
All your life is a lie!
But it's not my fault!
The war wasn't my fault,
nor losing Raja and Liza,
or your brother!
It's not my fault your life sucks now
and you have no passion left!
Tell me what happened.
I need to know.
It's strange.
I recall our home
as if I left it yesterday.
I remember every little detail.
It was a sad place.
We tried,
but we couldn't get over
my brother's death.
My room was my refuge.
That's where I wrote
and recorded tapes for Liza.
I told her everything.
What I told her,
I was also telling myself.
When I reread it,
I didn't recognize myself.
I felt scared.
I stopped.
Raja was my first great love.
He had become my whole life.
Back then, girls were harassed
about their virginity and reputation.
I didn't give a damn.
I saw no harm in loving him so much.
I think our love
saved us from the madness around us.
Then, one evening,
Raja disappeared. He left me.
No, he didn't leave me.
He was forced to leave me.
His parents put him
in the boot of a car
and sent him to study
in the USSR.
On vanishing,
he took everything with him.
I never heard from him again.
My father died
before the dogs of war killed him.
When the school closed,
he was out of work.
He believed in education
as a way to change things.
But he saw only violence and death
around him.
I saw my father sinking
but didn't know what to do.
He fled the apartment and his despair.
He was haunted by my brother's murder,
killed instead of him.
So, little by little, he gave up.
He abandoned his ideals
and us too.
Poor Teta...
She tried to act...
as if we still had
a normal life.
And I only thought of Raja.
Those nights, Mom looked for her husband
and me for a sign of Raja.
The country was looking for itself.
We were all looking
for something we'd lost.
I was so angry...
Then Liza came back for the summer.
She did now and then.
Seen the time, Maia?
You're late.
- It's ok, Mom.
- Go to bed.
Good night.
Seeing them, I felt pity for my father,
for his state,
for myself and my helplessness.
I shared everything with her,
but I didn't want to tell her that.
I felt betrayed,
as if she were using our friendship
and closeness
to interfere in the dark side of my life.
So when she left, we stopped writing.
I stopped writing to her.
From that point on,
I don't know. I can't remember.
I don't really remember things.
Sometimes, I feel...
that I reinvent things.
I don't know what's real or false.
Where things begin...
How I end them...
Sometimes, it's like I dreamed it.
Then they killed my father.
But you know that story, Alex.
Yes, I know it.
My father's death devastated people.
He was given a hero's burial.
For many, it was also the death
of what he had always defended.
God rest his soul.
Just after,
Teta decided to leave Beirut
for Cyprus and then Canada.
We knew we were leaving for good.
I remember the crossing so well.
The airport was closed then.
We were in the dark
to avoid being spotted and bombed.
Once we were out of range,
life began again.
And my world vanished forever.
Don't look! Look at me!
Your father didn't kill himself.
We must remember him as a hero.
Step outside, sweetheart.
Wait for me outside.
Crazy, everything's rebuilt.
- Can you go via Sanayeh?
- Of course.
This is where we lived.
It was razed to the ground.
This fancy building stands in its place.
Teta, how are you?
Hi, Alex.
Hi, Mom.
Liza's in the same cemetery
as Grandpa and Uncle Chadi.
- But we can't find the graves.
- You can't?
Listen, Maia...
Yes, Mom.
Stand with your back to the church.
Then go five metres to your right.
This way?
Try that way.
Second or third...
Now to the left a bit...
To the left?
Try that way.
Everything has changed.
I don't know where they are.
Let me see.
- You can't find them?
- No, Teta.
I don't understand...
We've looked everywhere.
We can't find them.
Mom, we have to go. It's starting.
- We'll come back tomorrow.
- Ok.
Alex, listen, sweetheart,
take photos of Beirut for me
and of the sun too.
Don't forget the sun!
Jose's here.
He hasn't changed.
- Michelle is still with Halim?
- It seems so...
Is that Samia, Mom?
- Is it?
- Yes!
Is that Raja?
- Yes.
- It's him?
Don't turn round.
- Stop it.
- It's ok, don't worry.
- I've missed you so much!
- Me too.
I've missed you!
How are you?
Michelle, Halim,
you're married now?
Your daughter?
Where is she?
To Liza!
Look how happy she is
Look, Teta...