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FADE IN: EXT. MEXICAN COUNTRYSIDE - DAY On a dusty road between fields of corn, two groups of YOUNG CAUCASIAN MEN (15-25) face off. One group wears OVERALLS, the other wears JEANS. JOHN DUECK (20), an earnest-looking young man in OVERALLS, steps forward from his group. FRANK REMPEL (17), a brawny young man in JEANS, steps forward from his. After a moment pregnant with anticipation-they LUNGE at each other-and their groups quickly follow suit. Eventually, the dust clears-and John lies on the ground, severely beaten. Frank sneers at him. FRANK (in Low German) Altkolonier pig. He then turns and walks away with his group, leaving the men in overalls to take care of their fallen leader. FADE OUT. OVER BLACK: A sad, but soothing VOICE clears its throat. MISSIONARY (V.O.) Once upon a time, in a faraway land, there were two feuding villages that few outsiders even knew existed. FADE IN:
EXT. MEXICAN ROAD - DAY A beat-up old SEDAN drives along a bumpy road in the middle of rustic farmlands. I/E. SEDAN - CONTINUOUS A LONE MAN dressed in SHORT SLEEVES and a TIE, an EVANGELICAL MISSIONARY (30’s), drives the car. The radio emits some sort of tinny Mexican Mariachi music. The Missionary tries to sing along. MISSIONARY (V.O.) The first village belonged to the Altkolonier, or Old Colony, Mennonites. EXT. FARMLAND OUTSIDE ALTKOLONIER MENNONITE VILLAGE - DAY The sedan approaches a small, rough village and parks far enough away that it won’t be seen by anyone. The Missionary gets out of the car, loads his arms with a Bible and a bunch of pamphlets, and begins to walk toward the houses. He passes fields with MEN IN OVERALLS working in them. Some have TRACTORS WITHOUT RUBBER TIRES that they are driving to harvest their crops. A few of them notice the Missionary and look at him askance as he walks by. MISSIONARY (V.O.) The Altkolonier mostly keep to themselves and are left to their own devices. EXT. ALTKOLONIER MENNONITE VILLAGE - DAY This village could be from any time period as far back as the 1800’s. One would also be hard-pressed to tell at first glance that this is Mexico, because the VILLAGERS are all fair-haired and fair-skinned. MISSIONARY (V.O.) This is how they’ve been for hundreds of years. The Missionary approaches the door of the first house he comes to and takes a deep breath.
Then he knocks, pulls out a pamphlet, and puts on a smile. A WOMAN (25), wearing a HEAD-COVERING and a DARK DRESS WITH BRIGHT FLORAL PATTERS, answers the door. She holds a BABY, and has a SMALL CHILD (2) clinging to her skirt. MISSIONARY (CONT'D) (in Low German) Good morning. The woman nods. Then she glances at the pamphlet and narrows her eyes. WOMAN (in Low German) You Evangelical? The Missionary broadens his smile. MISSIONARY (in Low German) Yes, I’m here because I’d like to invite you to our upcoming revivalThe woman SLAMS the door shut in his face. The Missionary sighs and leaves a pamphlet propped against the doorknob. BEGIN MONTAGE: A FAT WOMAN (50’s), dressed almost exactly the same as the first woman, SLAMS her door in the smiling face of the Missionary. He leaves a pamphlet. A TEENAGE GIRL (14), again dressed similarly to the previous two women, SMILES - but then CLOSES her door in the face of the Missionary. He leaves a pamphlet. An OLD MAN (75), NARROWS his eyes from behind his barelycracked door, then PUSHES it shut in the Missionary’s face. The distinct CLICKING of a LOCK is heard. The Missionary sticks a pamphlet under his door. END MONTAGE. The Missionary is no longer smiling. CUT TO:
EXT. DUECK HOUSE - LATER There is one last home on the far side of the village that has a bigger yard than the rest. A big VEGETABLE GARDEN filled with tomato and cucumber plants takes up the entire side yard, while a LARGE TREE with a TREEHOUSE reaches its branches to just below the second-storey windows. TWO SWEATY MEN IN OVERALLS, HENRY DUECK (60’s) and DAVE FRIESEN (17), are hard at work DIGGING A WELL on the other side of the house. They hit a STONE that won’t come loose. Dave pulls out a sharp POCKET KNIFE and uses it to cut at the dirt around it. Then he returns the knife to his pocket and pulls out the stone. They resume digging. The Missionary approaches them and Henry looks up. HENRY (in Low German)
The Missionary puts on a smile and reaches out to shake Henry’s hand. MISSIONARY (in Low German) Hi! My name’sHenry looks at the proffered hand, but does not take it. HENRY (in Low German) What do you want? The Missionary looks from Henry to Dave, then pulls out a pamphlet to hand to them. Dave glances it over, then gives it to Henry. DAVE (to Henry, in Low German) Evangelical. Henry lets out a big sigh, takes the pamphlet, and hands it back to the Missionary. His thumb leaves a big, dirty print on it.
HENRY (to the Missionary, in Low German) Okay, listen here. I am the Head Elder of the Altkolonier church. I have no use for you Evangelicals. You’re worse than the Sommerfelder, as far as I can tell. (chuckles) Don’t even know why you guys bother to say you’re Mennonites. He makes a shooing motion toward the Missionary. HENRY (CONT'D) (in Low German) So please leave my yard. And stay away from my people. The Missionary doesn’t say anything. He just looks toward Dave, who averts his eyes. Then he looks around the yard, and notices a GIRL, MARY (15), smudged with dirt and sweat, crouched by the tomato plants in the garden. She is watching him with curiosity. He smiles at her. Henry notices this and picks up his shovel threateningly. He steps toward the Missionary. HENRY (CONT'D) (in Low German) Get out of here! The Missionary jumps and complies. But after both Henry and Dave have stopped paying attention to him, he carefully drops a pamphlet while he’s walking past the garden. Mary stealthily picks it up and slips it into her apron pocket. CUT TO: I/E. SEDAN - LATER The Missionary again sings along to the Spanish radio. Another village can be seen in the distance.
The car drives past a field where a tractor with normal tires, driven by a MAN WEARING JEANS, is harvesting. MISSIONARY (V.O.) The second village belonged to the Sommerfelder, literally Summer Field, Mennonites. They’re a little less conservative than the Altkolonier. EXT. SOMMERFELDER MENNONITE VILLAGE - DAY The sedan pulls up and parks in front of a house with its own car parked on its lawn. The Missionary climbs out and again fills his arms with his Bible and pamphlets. MISSIONARY (V.O.) Each type of Mennonite looks down upon the other: the Sommerfelder think the Altkolonier are too legalistic, and the Altkolonier think the Sommerfelder are too liberal. The Missionary walks up to the door, knocks, pulls out a pamphlet, and puts on a smile. MISSIONARY (V.O.) (CONT'D) In short, they each think the other is damned and going to Hell. The door OPENS. A WOMAN (25), wearing a HEAD-COVERING and a SOLID-COLORED DRESS, opens the door. She’s holding a BABY, and a SMALL CHILD (2) clings to her skirt. MISSIONARY (CONT'D) (in Low German)
She narrows her eyes. WOMAN (in Low German) Evangelical? He opens his mouth to answer. She SLAMS the door shut.
MISSIONARY (V.O.) (wryly) But no one else would really be able to tell the difference. CUT TO: EXT. FEHR HOUSE - LATER A small home, with a SMALL GRAVE beside it. The headstone reads, “HELENA FEHR.” On the street in front of the house, a GROUP OF TEENAGERS including Frank (from the first scene), stands hanging out by the DONKEY CART of an OLD MEXICAN MAN who is selling sweets. The Missionary approaches them. MISSIONARY (in Low German) Hey - are you guys interested in coming to our revival? The teenagers just laugh. FRANK (in Low German) You got a funny accent, man. The Missionary smiles. MISSIONARY (in Low German) I’ve just come here from Canada. Just then, another BOY, JAKE FEHR (17), emerges from the house they’re standing in front of. He looks pale and worn, but smiles when he approaches his friends. Frank claps him on the shoulder. FRANK (in Low German) Hey man, this guy’s from up north. Jake’s eyes widen and he looks at the Missionary with awe. JAKE (eagerly, in English) You from the United States? His friends laugh.
MISSIONARY (smiling, in English) Sorry - I’m Canadian. Frank puts his arm around Jake’s shoulders. FRANK (in Low German) This one’s obsessed with Americans. He wants to grow up to be one some day. Jake shrugs him off and the Missionary hands him a pamphlet. MISSIONARY (to Jake, in Low German) Well, my wife is American, and she’ll be at this revival, if you’d like to meet her. Jake blushes and glances at the pamphlet. Frank elbows him. FRANK (in Low German) Hey man - here’s your chance. You can seduce this man’s wife, and then run away to America. TEENAGER 1 (in Low German) Yeah - she’s probably way better than Susie anyway. Jake ignores them. He moves to give the pamphlet back to the Missionary. JAKE (in English) Thank you, butFrank grabs the pamphlet from him and looks it over. Then he shows it off to his friends. FRANK (in Low German) Aw, come on! What do we care what our parents think about Evangelicals? The rest of the group shrugs. Frank throws an arm around the Missionary’s shoulders.
FRANK (CONT'D) (in Low German) You don’t seem so much like a sinner to me. And it takes one to know one, right? His friends guffaw knowingly. FRANK (CONT'D) (in Low German) So we’ll come. Right Jake? Jake shrugs. The Missionary smiles. MISSIONARY (in Low German) Great! The teenagers laugh and take turns rambunctiously shaking his hand. Just then, a car pulls up to the Fehr house. Jake notices and leaves the group to meet it. The Missionary recognizes his cue. He takes a bow. MISSIONARY (CONT'D) (in Low German) I will see you folks Sunday then! The teenagers all wave him off. Jake helps his limping FATHER, PETER FEHR (60’s), carry groceries into the house. INT. FEHR HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - CONTINUOUS A small, plain room with threadbare furniture and only a few family photos on the walls. Jake and Peter walk through and into INT. FEHR HOUSE - KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS Cupboards that have been around since the ‘70’s and curling linoleum on the floors. A German tear-away calendar with a picture of a little girl holding a kitten on it hangs from a nail. Today’s date is circled.
The men set their burdens down on the Formica table top and begin to put the food away. PETER (in Low German) I hope we have enough food for later. JAKE (in Low German) It’ll be fine. Just our family, right? PETER (in Low German) You can invite some of your friends, too, if you want. Like Susie Thiessen. Jake doesn’t look at him. JAKE (in Low German) Papa, we can’t affordPETER (in Low German) Never mind that. It’s your birthday. Bring your girlfriend. Jake just clamps his mouth shut and puts a pack of tortillas away in the cupboard. Peter notices he’s quiet and looks at him. Then he puts a twenty-pound bag of pinto beans away. PETER (CONT'D) (in Low German) All your brothers, sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews - they’ll all be coming. Aggie’s baking a cake. They’ll want to meet her. Jake shrugs. JAKE (in Low German) Well, they’re not gonna. (mumbles) She’s dating Neil Hiebert now. Ah. PETER
Peter pats his shoulder. After a moment, he clears his throat and pulls out several six-packs of bottles. PETER (CONT'D) (in Low German) I couldn’t afford to get you the Fanta, so I got Jarritos instead, okay? Jake just nods and forces a smile. CUT TO: INT. DUECK HOUSE - KITCHEN - LATER Probably the biggest room in the house, and every cranny is stuffed with dishes, pots, and pans. Mary stands waiting while her mother fills a bowl of homemade chicken noodle soup and hands it to her to put on a tray full of food. CUT TO: INT. DUECK HOUSE - UPSTAIRS HALLWAY - LATER Mary holds the tray of food and knocks on one of several bedroom doors. HENRY (O.S.) (through door, in Low German) Come in! She opens the door and walks in. INT. DUECK HOUSE - BOYS’ ROOM - CONTINUOUS Several twin-sized beds line the walls. In one of them lies John (from the first scene), eyes closed and still recovering from the fight. He is very pale and has labored breathing. His face and body are covered with cuts and bruises. Henry sits on a chair next to him, reading his Bible. Mary approaches with the tray of food and sets it on a side table next to John.
MARY (to John, in Low German) Mama made your favorite - noodle soup. John doesn’t react. Mary brushes his hair aside --- and jumps when she notices that it’s matted with BLOOD and is covering a nasty, infected GASH. PUS oozes from the wound. Mary grabs a towel and dabs at the laceration. Then she glares at her father. MARY (CONT'D) (in Low German) He’s getting worse. HENRY (in Low German) But he will get better. MARY (in Low German) You don’t know that. Henry looks up at her. HENRY (in Low German) No doctors. MARY (in Low German) But he’s in pain! HENRY (in Low German) It is not our way. Mary clamps her mouth shut. Henry returns to reading his Bible. HENRY (CONT'D) (in Low German) If it is God’s will, he will get better. Mary lets out a frustrated sigh and walks out of the room, shutting the door behind her.
The soup remains on the side table, untouched. CUT TO: EXT. DUECK HOUSE - DUSK Mary slams out of the front door of the house and stalks through the yard to leave. Dave, meanwhile, is still working on the well. But he drops what he’s doing when he sees her. DAVE (in Low German) Mary? Where are you going? She freezes. Dave wipes off his dirty hands and jogs to where she’s standing. He takes note of her angry stance. DAVE (CONT'D) (in Low German) SweetheartMary whips around toward him. MARY (in Low German) Do NOT call me Sweetheart! You don’t have that right yet! He holds his hands up in a gesture of defeat. DAVE (in Low German) Okay! Okay! I’m just trying to comfort you. She sighs. Dave reaches out cautiously and touches her shoulder. She doesn’t move away. DAVE (CONT'D) (in Low German) Where were you going? She looks up at him, tears in her eyes.
MARY (in Low German) To get revenge.