Excerpt

LE CIRQUE NOIR
a
screenplay

by C. Rosalind Bell

EXT. DAY-DOWNTOWN CAP HAITIEN, HAITI

SHOUTING and CHANTING for the ouster of PRESIDENT JEAN CLAUDE DUVALIER,legions of CITIZENSS press through the streets, their arms waving, their fists clenched in defiance of the machine gun, club-wielding TONTON MACOUTES, the PRESIDENT’S SPECIAL SECURITY FORCE. The TONTON MACOUTES, dressed in blue denim uniforms and protected by riot gear, hurl tear gas into the crowd Bricks crash through parked cars that are over turned and torched. The CROWD grows. More GUN FIRE pierces the air. TEN TONTON MACOUTES break down the door to an office and emerge with THREE MEN dressed in suits. THE MEN are thrown into the back of the pickup truck which screeches away, the TONTON MACOUTES riding with aimed and ready to fire weapons. Some of the CROWD run after the truck and are struck down by a hail of bullets. More CIVILIANS pick up bricks and stones or throw whatever they can get their hands on at THE TONTON MACOUTES, some of whom are on foot firing at close range. A THUNDEROUS VOLLEY of SHOTS fell nearly 70 PROTESTORS as their shocked and angry comrades carry their wounded and lifeless bodies off the street. The streets are red with the flow of blood.

INT. DUVALIER’S OFFICE-THE NATIONAL PALACE DAY

Several ARMY OFFICIALS, AN AIDE DE CAMP and the JAMAICAN SOCIAL SECURITY MINISTER sit or stand. Several PHONES RING simultaneously while the giant screen t.v. inaudibly flashes scenes of increased violent demonstrations in the provinces. Several of the ARMY OFFICIALS huddle over a map.

THE PRESIDENT, JEAN CLAUDE ‘BABY DOC’ DUVALIER, lays stretched out on a sofa, cold slices of cucumber circles set over his closed eyes. U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE, GEORGE SCHULTZ is being interviewed on the ABC TV program, GOOD MORNING AMERICA.

SCHULTZ (on t.v)
We believe, as is our view around
the world, that the way to start
out of these problemis to have people
running the government who are put there
by an electoral kind of process.

Jean Claude stretches his hands beyond him clasping them together but otherwise making no move from his recline.

SCHULTZ
We are calling for the type of
government there and elsewhere…

Jean Claude sits upright on the black leather sofa and places the cucumber slices on a tray next to him.

Blue-black circles surround his half-dazed eyes. His pants and sweater show evidence of having been worn thru a night of urgent meetings. HE moves toward the Aide while SCHULTZ’S voice continues from the t.v.

SCHULTZ
…that is put there by the
democratic process.

JEAN CLAUDE
Call the embassy and arrange
for an immediate dialogue with
the Americans.

JAMAICAN MINISTER
I don’t see in the Schultz declaration any invitation to
dialogue.

JEAN CLAUDE
But this is all very strange.
This nonsense Schultz speaks is incredible. Do they think they can march up here in my country
and tell me what the rules are?
They are tearing at our insides.
They cannot do this to me. Turn that
off.

An AIDE turns the t.v. off with a remote control.

JEAN CLAUDE
No. Not the picture. The volume.

JEAN CLAUDE turns to another aide.

JEAN CLAUDE
Get me through to Cap Haitien.
I know how to put an end to this.
I have been too leniant.
But I’ll solve it. Hurry now with the phone.

The AIDE picks up the phone, punches numbers and hands over the phone.

THE AIDE
Excellence. Lieutenant Colonel
Jodesty in Cap Haitien.

Jean Claude takes the phone from the AIDE. HE listens for a few seconds.

JEAN CLAUDE
From this point on your orders are
to shoot without mercy. I have
to put an end to this violent madness.

Jean Claude hands the phone to an AIDE who speaks for a moment into the phone before hanging it up. JEAN CLAUDE is walking about the room speaking softly to himself.

JEAN CLAUDE
This has gone too far.
Anarchy. Hooligans…this savagery in the streets.

The Jamaican Minister, who has become increasingly agitated by Jean Claude, stands.

JAMAICAN MINISTER
To crush dissent with brutal force
is not an option I think wise Jean Claude.

Jean Claude opens the door to a well-stocked refrigerator and removes pre-sliced cucumber rounds from it. He places them over his eyes and reclines once more on the sofa.

JAMAICAN MINISTER
It is time to consider your options
Jean Claude.

JEAN CLAUDE I have considered little else.

JAMAICAN MINISTER
No one would like to see the slaughter of innocent – unarmed people. The U.S. will not tolerate
it Mr. President.

JEAN CLAUDE

Do they think they can treat me like Grenada? It’s the professional agitators out in the streets. The Haitian people love me.

MINISTER
There is no single voice out there Jean Claude. It is every voice.
It is time my son.

JEAN CLAUDE (softly)
I’ve left Haiti only once you know.
This is all so hard. Do you know what would happen to them if I am not here to take care of them?

JEAN CLAUDE sits up and takes the cucumbers from his dull, puffy bloodshot eyes.

JEAN CLAUDE

Consider the fate of my people? Do you see my eyes?

JEAN CLAUDE begins to walk around the room.

THE NATIONAL PALACE

In a darkened room lit only by three candles, SIMONE DUVALIER, JEAN CLAUDE’S MOTHER and the widow of FRANCOIS DUVALIER, sits alone staring at a large picture of her husband in full military dress. SHE stands and runs her hands slowly across the mantle above which the picture hangs and stands back to gaze. There is a KNOCK at the door. She seems not to hear it. Slowly the door opens.

GEORGES SALOMON

Simone?

Her back still turned, SIMONE continues to look at the picture of her husband.

SIMONE

You were good to come back here
and get yourself involved in this.

SALOMON goes closer to SIMONE.

SALOMON

Will you let me get you something?
You need to close your eyes for a
few hours.

SIMONE

If the loas had not warned
me against it I would put a bullet
through my heart.

SALOMON

Simone…

SIMONE

Francois would have had her
exterminated. I hate myself for
not sliting my throat the day her feet crossed the sill of my door. From that day to this I have only been flesh.

SALOMON gives SIMONE a long hug and kisses the top of her head.

INT. MICHELLE DUVALIER’S BEDROOM SUITE DAY

MICHELLE, is stepping out of the jacuzzi grabbing a towel from her attendant. SHE lets the woman attendant wipe her off and lays out on a table for a massage. SHE is on her stomach.

HER good FRIEND, JOHNNY SAMBOUR, sits crossed legged on her bed, a phone and a notepad spread before him. The ATTENDANT begins the MASSAGE. The PHONE RINGS. SAMBOUR answers it on the first ring. HE hands it to MICHELLE.

MICHELLE

Who is that?

SAMBOUR

It is your father.

MICHELLE sits up and drapes a towel around her. SHE motions to her ATTENDANT to bring her the gold rimmed mirror sitting next to SAMBOUR. MICHELLE makes several lines from the small mound of cocaine and as she listens on the phone, snorts through a solid gold straw.

MICHELLE

How do you know that? Who told you that?

MICHELLE drops the phone and takes the video of her

charity ball out of the vcr and turns on the t.v. There before her is a picture of rioters holding the brass and gold fixtures from her country house which is burning in the background.

MICHELLE

Look at those greedy niggers!
Where are the TONTONS? They are supposed to protect us. Look at my house!

MICHELLE is up roving around the room in a kind of hysteria. She begins to cry and almost as quickly starts to laugh as teenage boys come out of the house dressed in her high heels and sequined gowns. JEAN CLAUDE enters the room as SAMBOUR regains the cocaine. JEAN CLAUDE, his back against the bedroom door, stares at MICHELLE.

JEAN CLAUDE

I have never been so tired in
all the days of my life.

SAMBOUR goes to JEAN CLAUDE and offers him the cocaine.

JEAN CLAUDE

No. Not right now. Who is she
talking to?

SAMBOUR
Bennett.

SAMBOUR points to the burning images on the t.v.

JEAN CLAUDE
I know. I know. I know. I know.

JEAN CLAUDE goes up to a distraught MICHELLE. SHE hangs up the phone and SAMBOUR immediately uses it.

JEAN CLAUDE

I just got word Cap Haitien is out in the streets.

MICHELLE moves to her dresser and sits down inspecting her face.

MICHELLE fools around with a pimple on her nose.

MICHELLE

This is all I need right now.
Merde!
MICHELLE begins to cry. JEAN CLAUDE goes over to her dressing table. As MICHELLE takes in two of the several lines of cocaine, JEAN CLAUDE picks up a
brush and brushes her still wet hair. MICHELLE chases the cocaine with cognac and pulls on her cigarette when it is not resting on a large marble ashtray.

JEAN CLAUDE

If Port-au-Prince rises up smash
their heads with cocomacas. If
Gonaives rises up, buy them off
with gourdes. But if Cap Haitien
rises up, pack up your suitcases and go.
That is a truth Michee.

MICHELLE swings around and pulls the brush from JEAN CLAUDE’S hand.

MICHELLE

You are not going anywhere. No way
we are going to leave what is ours.
There is no one who can make us leave here. No one.

MICHELLE inspects JEAN CLAUDE’S face and makes a disgruntled one with her own. SHE runs her hand over HIS face.

MICHELLE
Tu as une sale guele (you look like
shit).

JEAN CLAUDE

You did not listen to me Michee.
Cap Haitien is burning.

MICHELLE unzips JEAN CLAUDE’S pants and makes circles around his zipper with her knee.

MICHELLE

Cap Haitien Jean Claude? Je m’en tamponne le coquillard, je m’en fous, m’en branle, m’en bats loeil, la queue,

MICHELE (con’t)

je n’en ai rien a` foutre about Cap Haitien.
(I could give a damn, a shit, a fuck about Cap Haitien. Did you see what has happened to our house? Did you see how all of our hard work is gone? I’m telling you this is too much. It is time for you to put an end to this shit Jean Claude. If you keep acting like a pussy there will soon be nothing left of us.

JEAN CLAUDE

Gallimore is downstairs.

MICHELLE
Again? He is back?

MICHELLE takes JEAN CLAUDE’S right hand and places it inside her robe rubbing the inside of her thigh and upwards until she moans.

MICHELLE

Look at me Poochie. Stop
acting like a fucking pussy. You
go downstairs and tell Gallimore va te faire foutre! ( to go fuck himself). You are the President
for Life. I married the President for Life. We are going to leave our home?
For what? This will all be over as soon as you demand that it stop. The world must know.
Come here.

MICHELLE kisses JEAN CLAUDE and whispers.

The PHONE RINGS. SAMBOUR goes to answer it.

MICHELLE

If that is his mother…

JEAN CLAUDE waves her quiet.

SAMBOUR

Namphy wants to see you in his office.

JEAN CLAUDE casually comes back to reality and stops playing under MICHELLE’S robe.

JEAN CLAUDE

When am I going to sleep?

SAMBOUR

He said it is urgent.

JEAN CLAUDE

As usual lately, it is urgent.

MICHELLE

That’s bullshit! They think they
can bully my baby is what they think. Le diable m’emporte si they
do. (I’ll be damned if they do).

She tries once more to stick her hand inside JEAN CLAUDE’S zipper. There is a knock at the door.

VOICE (OS)

Mr. President! Excellence!

Mr. President!