This Place (2022) Movie Script

Ladies and gentlemen,
please return to your seats.
We are now preparing
for our descent.
Ladies and gentlemen, we are starting
our descent into Montreal...
When will we arrive?
KE , 1989
Okay, we'll take you to the back.
Come, let's go.
Hope they don't catch us.
I forgot my bag.
- Forget about it.
- Wait here.
- Forget about it!
- Wait here!
Show me your papers.
Oh, they are with my friends.
I go get!
TO , 2011
- A'ia!
- Ihstha, watch where you're walking.
I know, Mom.
- How was the laundromat?
- It was fine.
It wasn't too far,
but it's still annoying to have to leave
your house to do laundry.
See, you wanna move to the city?
Yeah, I have to make sure my next
place has a washer-dryer.
Your next place?
Yeah, I'll probably move again
before graduating.
I guess.
I don't understand why you couldn't have
just taken creative writing
at a school in Montreal.
Why'd it have
to be all the way in Toronto?
I don't know.
There's a good program.
There's other Indigenous people, too.
There's a big Iranian community, too.
Well, after you graduate,
you're coming back, though, right?
Hanio. Of course.
Kahnaw: ke will always be home.
I'm gonna miss you, kid.
I'll miss you, too.
I love you.
I love you, too.
Very, very much.
- How was school?
- Same old academic bullshit.
I mean, you're lucky to be in school
doing what you love.
I'm sorry. I didn't mean it.
Yes, you did. That's okay.
I'm not mad.
I mean, you could always go to school
and study something that you like.
You're not getting off grad school that
easy. Remember what your prof said.
Yeah, I guess, but who wants to go to
school for another two years? Not me!
- Two years? What about your PhD?
- You sound like an old Tamil man.
Yeah, my bad.
You are an old Tamil man.
Who is it?
- That's weird. What does he want?
- I don't know. I didn't pick up yet.
Okay, well... I gotta go to work.
Hey, Mom.
Did you get back home okay?
Yeah, I stopped in Ahkwesahsne for
a few hours, so it took me a bit longer.
Hey, did I forget my notebook
in your car?
No, I don't think so.
Shit! Well, if you see it, can you mail it
back to me? I can't seem to find it.
Yeah, sure. I'll keep an eye out.
So it's your grandma's birthday
on Sunday.
I'm gonna be making cornbread.
It's gonna be so weird here
without you this year.
You there?
Yes, Mom.
Okay, well, don't forget to call your
Tota and wish her a happy birthday.
- Hi.
- Hi, Amma.
I called you,
but you didn't pick up.
I've been busy with school.
I'm not well.
Will you come see me?
Next Monday, I'd like for everyone
to be more prepared, please.
I don't really like standing here feeling
like I'm talking to myself, you know?
Not bad at all.
But maybe try paying attention in class.
We all know you got this math
thing figured out,
but class engagement still
means something around here.
On that note,
have you given it more thought?
- It's...
- Don't play with me.
Any idea where
you'd like to go to school?
I was thinking I'd apply here
so I can stay bothering you.
All you students know how to do is that.
How was your day?
It was okay.
I talked to Dad.
What did he want?
He wants us to come see him.
- Why now?
- He's sick.
We already knew that.
No, he's, like... unwell.
He said he has cancer.
Will you come?
I don't want to go alone.
Yeah, I'll try.
Can you give me your word?
- I said I'll try.
- Okay, whatever. Do whatever you want.
Hi, that'll be $2.99.
- Excuse me?
- Sorry, I thought you were Iranian!
It'll be $2.99.
- Thank you.
- Thanks.
- Hey!
- Hey! Here, sit.
Oh, thanks.
Here you go!
- Back safe.
- Thank you!
How much were you thinking
for a reward?
It's no worries at all.
But you did save my notebook,
and it's my life.
The least I can do is maybe buy
you a coffee?
I wouldn't say no to a peppermint tea.
Excuse me?
I'll take a medium peppermint tea
and a medium Americano, please.
Thank you.
Thank you.
- Thank you.
- Oh, you're welcome.
So... what's your story?
I just moved here,
and I'm still adjusting to city life,
and I'm looking to connect
with some family.
Do you want to get out of here?
Maybe we could go for a walk.
I can show you more
of the neighbourhood
and help you get to know the city
a bit better?
Yeah, that'd be cool.
Okay, I remember
when the first one came out.
So what's your favourite movie?
It's called "Lila Says."
- I've never heard of that before.
- Nobody has!
But I think my favourite
thing is that it's based on this book
by an anonymous writer.
I mean, can you imagine that?
Just being okay with being forgotten,
or... unacknowledged?
I can.
Disappearing feels good sometimes.
I get it.
People reading my words
and my writing, it's terrifying.
That's exactly why I like math so much.
Numbers feel a lot safer than words are.
- Hello, Malai!
- Dr. C.!
Come in! Tea's on.
So, what's going on?
You wanted to see me?
I'm starting a study
around algebraic combinatorics
and I'm looking for researchers.
Malai, you're the first
person I thought of.
Thank you!
Algebraic combinatorics...
We really are nerds.
This isn't charity.
You've proven your work.
But the university
will only accept applications
to join their research
team from grad students.
I see what you're trying to do.
Everyone wants me to continue
with my studies, you, Ahrun,
but how do I let him keep paying the bills
while I do two more years of school?
We'd be able to negotiate pay
to some extent,
but you're right, it wouldn't be much.
You just have so much potential.
Malai, nice to see you.
Is she pressuring you again?
It wouldn't be a visit if she wasn't!
- Your reminder alarm went off.
- Thanks, love.
Have you told her yet?
It's nothing new,
but we've been trying for a baby.
That's great news!
But that's why I need you.
Think about applying.
- Hi!
- You came!
Of course I did. I said I would.
Unless you changed your mind
about the study date.
- No, not at all!
- Good.
So, what are you working
on today? More poems?
Yeah, for this poetry workshop.
A poetry workshop?
Yeah, I just joined this free workshop
series that they host here actually.
Figured it'd be a good way
to meet people and keep writing.
That's really cool. How's that going?
I haven't shared anything yet.
I get really nervous sharing my work
in front of people.
But I'm working on this piece
that I'd like to get feedback on.
What's it about?
Family, I guess.
Do you think I can hear
what you have so far?
Not ready yet!
You artists are so serious
about your shit.
My friend Dwayne's the same
with his music.
It's like y'all don't want to share
anything until it's just right.
I mean, you're not wrong.
So, what are you working on?
I don't know if I can call it something
I'm working on just yet.
What do you mean?
Do you remember I told you
about Dr. Campbell, my prof?
Well, she wants me to apply to grad school
and she's been really subtle about it,
until she literally just handed me
the application forms.
It sounds like she thinks
you have a good shot.
She does, and she's like that with all
her students. She's literally the best.
That must be nice, to have someone
in your corner believing in you like that.
It is, yeah.
So, are you gonna do it?
I don't know. It's not exactly cute to say
you're doing more school for math.
- I don't know, I think it's pretty cute.
- Oh, yeah?
I mean, I think you should do it.
I have a feeling
we're not gonna get any work done.
Probably not.
I see you're as comfortable as ever,
just walkin' in and creepin'!
I mean, you left the door unlocked.
That's on you.
Same old shit.
I see you're back at it again.
What do you mean?
It never stops!
Tell me about what you're working on.
It sounds beautiful.
Oh, thanks.
I got a gig composing some tracks.
Okay, it's... moving slowly, but I'm kind
of loving the direction it's going.
That's the best news
I've heard all day!
That's the best news you've heard all day?
Really? Your life must be boring as hell.
He's got jokes, eh?
No, I'm serious!
Like, I'm excited to see you composing.
You're so good,
and people need to hear you.
Thanks, M., I appreciate it.
You've been supporting me from time.
- Always.
- Alright, so what'd you bring me?
- Dumplings.
- Yes! You know me so well!
- I got you.
- You got it.
- It's all veg, just for you.
- Alright, proper. Excellent.
- There we go!
- Where should I begin?
- Try those.
- Alright.
How are your parents? And your dad,
considering how I am his favourite.
Funny you ask. I mean,
my dad actually called the other day.
He wants me to come up there and help
him paint the entire house.
See, that's what I love about your dad.
What, that he always has a project
for us to work on?
That he suggests you do things together.
Yeah. I guess.
Sounds corny, but only because
it's true. It really is the small things.
Yeah, kind of like all the small things
stuck in your teeth right now.
- Do you want a proper view?
- Don't do it! No!
I knew you were gonna do that!
You're so nasty.
- What did you expect?
- From you, nothing less.
- You still love me, though.
- That's true. I do love you.
I love you, too.
So... can I ask you something?
- Of course.
- Your name is Kawenniihstha.
- Where is that from?
- It's from Kahnaw: ke.
- It's a rez just outside of Montreal.
- So you're...
You're not what I thought a
Mohawk person looks like.
Well... what did you expect a Mohawk
person to look like?
I guess I expected what I've seen
in the movies.
I'm sorry.
Well, now you know.
My mom is mixed, and my biological
father is Iranian,
but I was raised in my community,
so I'm Kanien'keh: ka.
So, how did that happen?
That's kind of why I'm here,
to find out.
So, what's your background?
I'm Tamil from Sri Lanka.
- It's a small island south of India.
- I never even heard of it before.
It's okay. I'm used to it. Most people
just assume that I'm Indian.
My parents, they came here as refugees.
They were fleeing the civil war there.
It's crazy that we ended up here
in Canada.
What do you mean?
Okay, so the British leave
Sri Lanka in 1948,
and then the largely
Singhalese government,
they're the major ethnic group, end up in,
like, this decades-long civil
war with the large minority group,
which is us, the Tamils.
And no one can tell me
it wasn't in large part
because of the Brits'
divide-and-conquer bullshit.
Even after all of that, we somehow
end up in Canada,
where the Queen is still
the fucking Head of State.
Have you ever been back?
No, not yet.
None of my family has.
Maybe one day.
We'll see.
But it just doesn't feel right to go back
now, especially after the genocide.
So, I think you might be the first
Mohawk person I've actually ever met.
Not likely.
You probably just didn't know
they were Indigenous.
But you are for sure the first Sri Lankan
person I've ever met.
I don't like to refer to myself
as Sri Lankan, I'm Tamil.
I mean, it doesn't feel right
to call myself by the country's name,
not after what the government's
responsible for.
That makes sense.
I don't consider myself to be Canadian.
So let me correct myself.
You are for sure the first Tamil
person I've ever met.
Lies! You probably just thought
they were all Indian.
Seems like at some point in time,
we've both been mistaken for Indians.
Kwe, it's me.
I haven't heard from you in a while,
so please call me back
when you have a chance.
I want to know what you're up to.
I love you.
Hi, Dad.
My child.
Where's Ahrun?
He's working.
- Let me help you.
- Help?
- Amma, I'm so...
- I know.
- No, I...
- I know, it's complicated.
- After your mom...
- It's okay, dad.
When are you coming home?
Green Corn festival's happening
and you said you'd be here.
I'm not sure.
Are you really that busy?
I mean, kind of.
And I have my writing group.
Well, you know I'd love to see you
if you can swing it.
Yeah. I don't know if I can.
What's the matter?
Something is up with you. I can tell.
I'm just... I'm just feeling really
overwhelmed with the city. That's all.
Mom, I'm getting another call.
- Ihstha...
- I'll have to call you back, okay?
I love you, bye. Hey!
- Hey.
- Hi.
How's it going? How was your day?
It was okay. Long.
- I hear ya, trust me.
- Why? What happened?
I saw my dad for the first time in four
years. He's sick in the hospital.
How was that?
I don't know yet. It felt weird.
Like, I haven't seen him in so long,
but at the same time,
it somehow felt easy to see him.
I think what I'm learning,
or what's becoming clearer every day,
is that...
that we spend our whole lives trying
to overcome family.
I think I'm learning to make room
for forgiveness.
Who are you trying to forgive?
My mom.
For keeping me a secret from my dad.
And my dad... for forgetting her.
See, that's exactly why I love numbers.
It's not as complicated.
You just have to focus on solving one
problem, over and over again,
until you get it right.
Anyways, listen.
I was calling because I wanted to see
if you wanted to hit up a party
my friends are having tonight.
Yeah, that sounds really fun.
I'd love to go to a dance party.
- I'll text you the details.
- Okay, bye.
What's up?
Ihstha, this is Dwayne and Chanel.
You guys, this is lhstha.
- Hey, nice to meet you.
- New to the city?
- How'd you know?
- The way you keep looking around scared!
Hey, go easy on her!
Sorry, I gotta take this.
- Kawenniihstha.
- Man, it's been a minute.
- I know!
- Girl, where you been?
Busy. School. Family. You know?
- Yeah, I told you I'd call you back.
- What's the matter?
You stay pulling that disappearing act.
Hold up, when was the time
I seen you out?
Anyways, I needed a night out, so
I brought lhstha, my new friend.
- Yeah, eh?
- What?
- Friend?
- Seems about right.
- What do you mean?
- I mean, she's definitely your type.
- Okay, you both done?
- For now.
Okay, so we can get our wristbands
and go inside, please?
Yes! Come through!
- Something is up with you. I can tell.
- I'm gonna have to call you later.
Okay, I love you. Okay, bye.
- Oh, thanks.
- There you go.
- See ya!
- We're watching you!
- What was that about?
- Don't worry about it.
- Ready to head home?
- Not really.
Well, you can always come over
and chill or something.
- Yeah?
- Yeah.
Come on.
- Where were you?
- Out.
Malai, come here.
- I'm tired. I'm gonna go take a nap.
- Please, come here.
- What is it?
- Where were you?
I was out with a friend.
Were you drinking?
I just had a few drinks.
What's the big deal?
- What's going on with you?
- Why weren't you there?
To see dad.
I know he's sick,
but that doesn't make it easier.
But I shouldn't be the one feeling
for the both of us.
It's not that simple. You make it sound
as if you've had to do all the work,
as if I haven't given up a part
of myself to make sure we get by.
You get to go to school.
You get to do what you love.
I would love to be doing that right now.
But no, I have to work every night
and take care of everything.
I'm so fucking tired all the time.
Dad is sick like Amma was.
And you better
fucking believe it and face it.
The more that you have me feel
for the both of us,
the more your emotions
are just gonna eat you alive.
Why can't you just understand
I'm not ready?
From what I saw,
he really doesn't have a lot of time.
Hey, Dr. C., I got your email.
You wanted to see me?
Yes, Malai. Come in.
You haven't handed
in your last assignment.
- I...
- You're better than this. What's going on?
I heard from my dad.
He said he has cancer.
I'm so sorry.
- How are you doing?
- I'm fine.
Anyways, I will be sure to submit
those assignments in to you soon.
I have this desire to go back
and see Yalpanam.
Before, we had a simple life, amma.
Everyone lived close together.
Now, living here, so far away,
in these last moments,
it can never be like how it was.
But this is home for all of us now.
Nothing will ever be like our home.
It's not like we can go back
and live happily there.
Anywhere is difficult.
I have faith that one day
you will go and see home.
I hope so.
You definitely have to go.
It's like paradise.
I believe you.
I've seen pictures on the internet.
It's not the same
as on the internet, amma.
Tell me more.
Hello. How can I help you?
I was looking for Behrooz. I'm sorry,
I... must have the wrong address.
No, no, no, this is his house.
How can I help you?
Shahin, who is it?
Citizens of Chateauguay,
which neighbours Kahnaw: ke,
have burned an effigy
of an Indian at stake.
I don't understand.
I left everything because of war.
Some wars you run from,
and you had to run from yours.
You don't need to understand.
I don't want to lose you!
I know.
But right now,
I have to be with my community.
Everything in my body is calling
me home to Kahnaw: ke.
The Canadian military is now moving
onto the reservation...
I mean,
just look what's happening.
forcing Mohawks from Kahnaw: ke
to stand down.
If I don't go now, I will regret it.
It's like I'm being called home.
I'm so sorry,
but this is the only option for me.
I'm sorry to bother you.
I'm sorry Ahrun's not here.
I'm not upset with him.
I understand.
All my drinking...
When my dad passed away...
I never got to see him.
The guilt that I felt...
I don't want him to experience that.
Give this letter to him.
Please forgive me.
- Do you want some tea?
- Only if it's peppermint.
I'll bring it over.
Malai, I'm going back
to Kahnaw: ke for a bit.
I don't know how to be here.
Do you have to go right now?
I feel like I'm sinking.
I feel like nothing else really makes
sense for me to do.
It feels like I don't really
have a choice.
I really don't want to lose you.
Especially now.
I'm already losing myself.
I miss my mom more than ever.
I wish she was here.
I know how hard it is to navigate these
walls while dealing with my own things.
True. It's not fair, though.
You shouldn't be the only one doing
this kind of work. You have an actual job,
and then you have to deal with a bunch
of us running through your office
with all of our problems.
I'm glad you see it.
I'm here for you, Malai.
But just don't come knocking on my
door every day, okay?
I actually got work to do.
Hey! My girl, is everything okay?
You said you were coming home,
you didn't say what's going on.
What's wrong?
I found him.
Why didn't you tell him about me, ista?
You've never given me
a straight answer.
I tried my best.
I loved your father,
I thought I was going to spend
the rest of my life with him.
But then '90 happened
and... the community needed us.
I couldn't bring him back with me.
I chose us.
I chose our culture.
And as much as it killed me,
my love for being Mohawk
overrode my love for Behrooz.
And I don't regret loving him.
And I don't regret having you.
But I do regret having you with Behrooz.
Kawenniihstha, I'm already mixed.
I've had to defend our position in this
community because of my blood quantum,
so I needed you to be Kanien'keh: ka.
So I came to terms with letting him go.
And I rooted you to this place.
You were Mohawk.
You were mine.
But I never got the chance to be his.
I wish I could go back home.
Come here.
I love you.
Ahrun is here. Look!
You came.
You are so beautiful.
I dreamt about this so many times.
I was... just trying to imagine
what this would be like.
How long have you known about me?
I found your photos
and the letters you wrote ista...
my mom.
From the moment I saw you,
I knew who you were.
Maybe I always knew that I had left
more than your mother behind.
I had just left a war,
and your mother,
she wanted to return to one.
I didn't understand her.
I didn't understand her fight.
I had... left... everything behind.
This country...
has given and taken so much.
I don't know if I'll ever understand
what happened.
I'm just so glad to finally see your face.
This is so weird.
All that's left of him now is in this.
Reduced to dust.
Putting him in a coffin...
putting him in an incinerator
to cremate... it doesn't feel right.
After the funeral is finished,
the body is burned.
In the village, we take the body
to the cemetery grounds.
Then we put sticks on top
and light the funeral pyre.
That's another world, isn't it?
Maybe we could take his ashes back home
for him and scatter them in the ocean.
Bring him back?
Let him rest there?
But who knows when that will be, what
with everything that's going on there.
Hopefully soon.
Maybe it'll be safe for us to go back.
I hope so.
I've been thinking
about how he never got to go back.
Too many people live their lives hoping
that they'll see home again,
only it never happens.
Yeah, but... for people like us,
maybe home is a relative thing.
When you haven't got somewhere to go to,
you make home where you can.
That's what Mom and Dad did.
Back home, when friends
and family get together,
we sometimes read
The Book of Hafez.
It is a way to have your Fal read.
A Fal is like a fortune.
The person who can recite the best poetry
randomly selects a poem for each person
as they make a wish or think of something
they hope for.
Do you want your Fal read?
But first, make a wish.
"All your images of winter
I see against your sky.
I understand the wounds
that have not yet healed in you.
They exist because God and Love have
yet to become real enough
to allow you to forgive the dream.
You still listen to an old alley song
that brings your body pain.
Now chain your ears to His
pacing drum and flute.
Fix your eyes upon the magnificent
arc of His brow
that supports
and allows this universe to expand."
I just felt like...
like going would mean
I forgive him, and I didn't. I don't.
Yeah, it's complicated.
I'm still trying to. I want to.
At least he got to see you in the end.
He said your name
and he knew you were there.
- What are you doing?
- You need a hug.
And I thought the awkward, random
moment would ease the tension.
- You are so ridiculous.
- I know.
At least we have each other. At the very
least, mom and dad made sure of that.
We both definitely have room to grow.
And I think we both
definitely need therapy.
Well... actually... I made an appointment
to start seeing someone.
Wait, for real?
- You know I got some shit to work on.
- You're telling me!
Hey, watch yourself.
For real, though. I believe in you.
That's, like, the nicest thing you've said
to me in a long time.
You've been so moody lately,
and I know it's not just about dad.
So, what is it?
I met someone.
You think I don't know that?
Why else would you be sneaking around?
Is it 'cause it's someone I know?
Who is he?
Okay. I didn't know.
I always knew, but not really until her.
I thought you would react differently.
- You have so little faith in me.
- Clearly!
What's going on now?
Not much.
We both have a lot going on.
I don't know. I don't know where she's at,
and I don't want to make any assumptions.
Isn't that what you're doing right now?
So maybe...
it's time you reach out to her.
It's as good a time as any, you know?
It's not like you have any reason
to keep waiting.
And you really like her,
I can tell.
I do. She's super cool.
- What's her name?
- Kawenniihstha.
- I've never heard of that name before.
- Yeah, she's Mohawk and Iranian.
That shit only happens here.
- Oh, what, now you too?
- Get out of here!
No writing, only doodles.
So, last week, I asked everyone to bring
in a new piece they were wanting to share.
Who would like to share their piece?
"I dreamt of unopened doors.
Stuck in a place with nowhere to go.
I cut stencils of your eyes, mouth, and
nose from coloured paper from the store.
I had whispered conversations
and imagined your voice.
What's the meaning of being
a father at its core?
Are all hearts wells of void,
waiting, making space for more?"
Ihstha, that was beautiful.
Thank you.
Good work.
Who else would like to share?
When we were kids,
our dad had us do these timetable tests.
There were, like, 20 questions
and we had only two minutes to finish.
It was so ridiculous!
Ah, so your dad was training
you since the beginning?
That's a good memory of him.
It was a beautiful service.
- It was, wasn't it?
- How are you feeling?
Better. My brother and I are talking,
and he seems to be coming to terms with it
and realizing that maybe I was right in
some ways, which is new,
but a welcome change, for sure.
It's about time.
It's just so hard to believe.
So much has changed.
Hey, lhstha, right?
- Dwayne!
- Yeah!
Yeah, hey!
How are you?
I'm alright. I've been out of the
city for a little bit. How about you?
Yeah, word. I'm good.
You see Malai yet?
No, I just got back.
Right, of course.
Do you know how she's doing after...
After her dad?
What happened to her dad?
I'm so sorry, I assumed you knew.
- Who's that?
- I don't know.
You get it.
Hi! Wow, I should really learn
to call ahead.
Are you... Kawenniihstha?
Yeah! I am.
Is... Malai home?
What's going on?
What are you... doing here?
I'm sorry for just coming over.
I just wanted to see if you were okay
and if you wanted to talk.
Yeah, sure. Come in.
I ran into Dwayne,
and he told me about your dad.
I'm not even sure if you
and your brother would like this,
but I made kana'tarohkhn: we,
some cornbread.
Thank you.
I'm really sorry.
I wasn't there for you
like I wish I was.
And I told you that I needed space.
And I did.
I've taken it. I finally met my father!
Throughout all of this,
I realized that...
I want to be there with you through all of
your stuff and all of mine, because...
because I want to be with you.
But I get it if you don't
feel the same way,
and I can't even imagine
what your family's been through,
so if you need some time, I...