First-Place Winner, November 2011 - April 2012
Screenplay Contest - Teleplay/Short Series
"A Lament of War"
Written by Praveen J. Collins
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Praveen J. Collins is a Sri Lankan American screenwriter, film director, and producer. Born in Newark, New Jersey, Collins was an avid fan of animation, which eventually developed into a love for filmmaking. He graduated Tisch School of the Arts in 2011 and is currently in post-production on a short film that will enter the festival circuit by the end of 2012.
Additional Writer Information:
World War II. Fighter Ace Rick Bannon has just crashed behind enemy lines in rural Germany. Though the war continues miles away, Rick is caught by a lone Nazi Colonel who plans to use him in his bizarre scheme.
Deep in rural Germany during the height of World War II, a United States fighter plane crashes. Staggering out of the smoking debris, Ace Rick Bannon takes in his surroundings – it's a long way back to base. Without hesitation he starts his trek, distancing himself from the crash before anyone arrives. Unfortunately, he is met with a curious Nazi Colonel named Ludwig who happens to be wandering by himself, far from all the action. With his Luger aimed at Rick's skull, Ludwig gives him an offer: he will let Rick go only if Rick agrees to shoot him in the leg. A loony chain of events involving a drunken farmer, a blonde bombshell, and Fate itself follow this bizarre encounter as we discover the reasoning for Ludwig's unusual request.
The A Lament of War screenplay, copyright, and story idea below are owned by Praveen Collins. No copying of any of the below pages is allowed unless approved by owner.
B & W STOCK FOOTAGE - WORLD WAR II PLANE FLYING
We see BLACK & WHITE stock footage of a WORLD WAR II FIGHTER
PLANE soaring through the sky, dodging white hot bullets
whizzing by from all directions.
Its wing gets clipped. It struggles to stay in the air
before it changes course for the ground.
FADE TO BLACK.
SOUND EFFECT - EXPLOSION
’SOMETIME DURING WORLD WAR II...’
EXT. HÜRTGEN FOREST - DAY
We are in a rich and colorful forest. It’s a serene Autumn
day, the complete opposite of the previous chaos.
’HÜRTGEN FOREST, GERMANY - 1944’
A U.S. FIGHTER PILOT in a burnt and tattered uniform
staggers into frame, dragging a BEAT-UP PARACHUTE. This is
ACE RICK BANNON (40).
Rick tosses his cracked goggles and abandons his parachute.
His nose is bloody. The rest of his face is caked with dirt
and oil. He trudges through the bush and shrubbery, tired
EXT. HÜRTGEN FOREST, PATH - DAY
Rick reaches a dirt pathway in the forest when...
Rick turns around to face the voice.
Behind him, about 20 feet away, is a sleazy looking NAZI
COLONEL aiming a LUGER at Rick’s head. The Colonel barks in
a THICK, GERMAN ACCENT. His name is LUDWIG (35).
Are you zhe pilot of zhe plane?
Rick takes a deep breath. He’s at the end of the line. He
sticks his chest out and his chin up, refusing to answer. He
possesses the swagger of The Duke himself.
ARE YOU ZHE PILOT OF ZHAT PLANE!?
Rick hawks up and spits to the side.
Maybe I am... maybe I ain’t...
Are you armed?
Well now, I can’t spoil the
Ludwig approaches Rick until he’s at point blank range.
Take out your weapon.
Rick studies Ludwig with a cold glare. He complies and takes
out his REVOLVER, handing it to Ludwig.
No no no. Keep it.
Rick is confused. Ludwig takes a few paces back and closes
Now I am going to spare your life,
Mr. Yankee Doodle. But you have to
do me a favor.
...what might that be?
I want to you shoot me in zhe leg.
Wait... wait, what?
Shoot me in zhe leg, preferably
above zhe knee, but below zhe hip.
Rick is dumbfounded.
You can come closer if you are too
far. I’d rather you not take zhe
Ludwig takes out a silver CIGARETTE CASE from his pocket.
Now why in the world would I shoot
you? How do I know there ain’t some
sniper ready to pick me off once I
lift my gun?
Are you joking? You’re in farming
territory. Zhere isn’t another
soldier for miles.
Ludwig lights his cigarette and closes his eyes.
Whenever you are ready.
Rick looks around the forest. No one in sight. He lifts up
his gun and aims for Ludwig’s leg. He pauses and aims for
He can’t do it. He puts the gun down.
Now why the hell do you want me to
shoot you in the leg?
Do you really want to know?
It’d help, yeah. Make things a
little less suspect.
Ludwig takes a long drag from his cigareete and walks up to
Well, zhree nights ago I was on
patrol in zhe Rhine. I was off duty
one day, so I went to a restaurant,
where I met zhis beautiful
fraulein. Gold hair, full lips, big
He makes the gesture for breasts.
Later zhat night we made love. It
was zhe most tender love I’ve ever
experienced in my life. It was so
good zhat I don’t zhink I will ever
experience zhat ever again with
another woman. And I believe zhat
zhe only way cruel Fate will allow
me to continue my primal nirvana
with zhis, zhis, zhis angel, is if
I paid Him my dues in some other
aspect of my life.
Rick is still skeptical.
So what do I do? Wait? For what? A
tumor in my brain so I become an
idiot, unaware of the pleasures
zhis woman provides me? Or gangrene
on my frankfurter, so I have to
amputate and never experience zhis
bliss again? No no no no. I must
beat God to zhe punch! Zhat is why
I want you to shoot me in zhe leg.
Just because this is the best
you’ve had in your life?
Zhe best in zhe world, Yankee
Doodle. Zhe best in zhe world.
I ain’t ever been with no woman
good enough to make me wanna shoot
Honestly... you know what? I will
Whoa whoa whoa now. You get near me
and I’ll beat the brains out yer
No! You idiot. I will show you
Odelia! Mein fraulien! You have to
see what she does!
What? I mean, I don’t need to see
Not me two, you two! You will
experience Odelia for yourself!
I will take you to zhe cabin where
we are staying right now.
Ludwig points the gun at Rick’s head and steers him off.
EXT. HÜRTGEN FOREST, HILL - DAY
Rick and Ludwig enter frame.
Zhere is zhe cabin.
You’re really okay with this? If I
had me a frow-line as good as the
one yer yappin’ about, I wouldn’t
let nobody ever look at ’er.
Honestly, whether you are a German,
Yankee, or even Jew, it would be a
sin on my part if I told you about
it and did not let you partake.
Well, you have the gun.
The two start walking towards the cabin.
It’s been a while since I’ve
partaken in frow-lines.
INT. CABIN ENTRANCE - DAY
Ludwig opens the door and enters, signalling Rick to come
inside with a big smile.
At last, I introduce...ODELIA!
Rick stands just outside the doorway, immediately hit by the
sight of Odelia (offscreen). He is speechless.
What did I tell you, eh?
All of a sudden...
...BLOOD EXPLODES out of Rick’s arm. Before Rick can
register what just happened -- BOOM! -- his head explodes.
Rick falls to the ground, dead.
OLD MAN’S VOICE (O.S.)
Ha ha! Grundgütiger!
Ludwig looks at Rick’s dead body, trying to process what
just occurred. He then steps outside to look for the voice.
EXT. CABIN ENTRANCE - DAY
Far in the distance is an old and fat HUNTER (56). This is
Johann waddles as fast as he can towards Ludwig, RIFLE in
I’ve gotten him! I’ve gotten him!
Yes... you have...
Johann inspects Rick’s body, finding a flask.
Are you okay? Has zhis American
Good thing I showed up, eh? Ha ha
What were you--
Johann sniffs the flask and then takes a swig.
I was hunting and all of a sudden I
hear a big (imitates plane falling)
ERRRRRRRRRR BANG!! I went to look
’Where? Where was zhis zhings?’ and
I found zhe big mess. Of what? An
American plane! Hmph!
Der hund. Der hundsohn.
Ludwig stands with his arms crossed in deep thought.
Well...uh...Danke. But, uh--
Can I ask you a favor?
Ha! From zhe look of zhis cabin I
know what you’re asking! Sure! Come
stay at mein farm! It’s not far
away. I will radio zhe other patrol
to pick you up. I will cook. I will
let you have a bath. Anything for a
fighting German. Heil Hitler!
He does the thing they do with that.
Listen... can I ask you to do me
What is it?
Ludwig hands him his Luger.
Can you shoot me in zhe leg?
Johann looks at the Luger, puzzled. He looks at Ludwig. He
let’s out a hard, hearty laugh, patting Ludwig hard on the
AHAHAHAHAHA! What a sense of humor!
Come! Come! We shall go.
INT. CABIN ENTRANCE - DAY
Johann looks inside at Odelia. He takes off his hat.
You may stay as well, mein
Johann turns around, spits on Rick’s dead body and walks
off. Ludwig follows him.
INT. JOHANN’S GUEST ROOM - NIGHT
We are in Johann’s guest room, furnished with a big feather
bed and a giant carved wardrobe.
Odelia sleeps peacefully, turned away so we only see her
THICK, BLONDE HAIR. Ludwig sits at the foot of his bed,
Luger in hand.
Oh cruel FATE, why must you torment
He aims the gun back and forth between his right and left
leg before settling it at the middle of his right shin.
He turns to Odelia and takes a deep breath.
He turns to his leg and takes a deep breath.
His hand trembles. He tries to steady his gun to no avail.
He closes his eyes and takes a deep breath.
INT. JOHANN’S GUEST ROOM - NIGHT
Ludwig opens his eyes one at a time. He looks at his leg...
...it’s completely unharmed.
But right next to his foot there’s a hole in the floor. He
can see through it.
START LUDWIG’S POV:
Through the hole in the floor he sees a chair knocked over
and a pair of FAT LEGS sprawled on the ground; a POOL OF
BLOOD grows bigger and bigger underneath them.
END LUDWIG’S POV.
Ludwig hops up and bolts out the door.
Odelia pulls up her blanket, sound asleep.
INT. JOHANN’S DINING ROOM - NIGHT
Ludwig rushes into the dining room to see Johann dead on the
floor with a bullet entry wound in the TOP OF HIS HEAD.
All of a sudden we hear the SOUND OF A PATROL CAR pull up.
The DOORS OPEN and CLOSE. FOOTSTEPS grow closer and closer.
Ludwig looks at the front door in terror.
Nein, nein, nein!
The door opens and TWO GESTAPO OFFICERS enter the room.
Is this the house of Johann-- AH!
Ludwig stands stupidly over Johann’s dead body, Luger in
BLACK & WHITE STOCK FOOTAGE - INT./EXT. GERMAN PRISON
1940s stock footage of a large German Prison.
INT. PRISON - NIGHT
We see a disheveled Ludwig in prison garb standing behind
(NOTE: The following narrator speaks in FRENCH)
And so, cruel Fate caught up to
Ludwig in the end, asking for
something of equal value to what
was the ’Best Sex of His Life’.
INT. PRISON CELL - NIGHT
We see Ludwig’s shivering SILHOUETTE inside a prison cell.
He spent the rest of the war in
military prison for the murder of
the farmer, though accidental. And
it would be in this military where
Ludwig would experience...
We see the silhouette of a large MUSCULAR MAN walking up
behind Ludwig. Ludwig cowers in fear as the Man gets closer.
...the ’Worst Sex of His Life’.
Credits. THE END.