A Dose of Happiness (2019) - full transcript

The real story of the journalist Vesela Toteva (in the role is her daughter -Valentina Karoleva) searching for her own happiness during the dynamic and uncertain 90's in Bulgaria. A tale about drugs, fall, fear and redemption.

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Chasing happiness has claimed
an unbelievable amount of victims.

Happiness is like the devil
it has many faces.


For God himself has said, I shall never
leave you, nor forsake you.

That's precisely
the secret of happiness.

Knowing that God shall not leave you,
and He shall not forget you.


- Vessy!
- I want us to break up.

Don't say that.

Tony, these people
have brainwashed you.

- Vessy, this is a test.
- Cut the crap, will you?

Us or the Church?

Valya, tone it down a bit.

These last years
have been awfully boring.

Have you considered
taking up a job?

- Yeah, like a cleaning lady.
- Vessy!

Who will hire somebody like me?

I'm 20 years old with a 3-year-old,
no secondary education.

Didn't know he'll turn out to be
such a looser.

Can't stick around in that church,
praying to God.

Mom, where's daddy?

- He's away, Valya.
- Is he far?

Don't worry, Valya.
Everything will be all right.

- Six more.
- No problem.

You're hot stuff, Vessela.
Like you've been working here forever.

Truth is, this is my first job.

- Then let's give you one on the house.
- Let's!


One, two, three!

- Well done, you're a quick learner.
- Yeah! One, two, three!

Get up.

- Are you proposing to me?
- Hush, Beetle Bug.

Come live here with your daughter
and then we'll see.

The second key
is for the ladder, right?

Look outside.

- You're kidding! For me?
- Who else?

Wait a bit.

- It comes with conditions.
- Right.

You quit your job.

- Are you serious?
- And finish school.

Let's drink
for the high school diploma!

Well done!


- Mom!
- Valya, please, be a bit quieter.

We'll be late for the kindergarten.

Still sleeping?

Going to work?

Then, see you tonight.

- Going to the bar again?
- Yeah. Talked to Krassy.

What am I supposed to do all day?


- Cook.
- Yeah, right.

Mom, you coming?


- Daddy!
- Valya! Come here!


Come, Valya.

You can't keep her away from me.

I can. You made a choice
not to live with your daughter.

Just listen to me, please.

Don't you start yammering
about God's plan for you.

Just want to talk.

If you ever take Valya
to your nutjobs in the sect again,

I'm going to have your rights
of custody taken away!

Come, Valya.

Go play with the others.
Hello, Valya!

- Don't let this man take Valya.
- This is beyond reason.

Will you tell me
if you see this man here?

Yes. He's my dad.

Her former dad.

- Where's Krassy?
- Out back.

Nice to meet you, I'm Joro.

- What's that? It sucks!
- Come on, keep smoking. You'll see.

It'll do you good.

That's malarkey.
Can't feel anything.

- Give me a vodka, will you?
- Enough with that, Vessy.

Why are you so tense?
Sit with us, have a smoke.

- Your turn, Fory.
- Yeah.

What's up, Beetle Bug?

You're going to make me cry.

It's hard as a rock. Totally inedible.

- Can I drink the vodka then?
- We'll see.

In the shape of a heart...


Get up!

- Come, Valya. Tell mom goodbye.
- Goodbye, mom!

The others are already here.

- Choose already.
- Can't.

One can always make a choice.

Good one!

Even now, when one doesn't choose
anything, that's a choice on its own.

Krassy, give me a cig.


We're just fooling ourselves
that we make choices.

Truth is, we don't have any choice
at all. Roll one, will you?

Say no more.

Rousseau and Sartre...
those guys had choices.

The most important thing is to give
yourself time to think.

- Time to find out what's important.
- And what did you find out?

I found out this.

While we exist,
we may very well cease to exist.

In the East, people live their lives
more meaningfully.

There, you're in the right direction if
you've set a foot on the path.

It's not the end that's important.

They think the most valuable thing we
have is our own life.

What that means is,

there's nothing more important
than how we live our lives.

Take this, for example.
I made a choice to be happy.

- What's going on?
- I'm shivering cold.

- You're drenched in sweat.
- It's probably the awful flu.

Mom, you okay?

Ivan, be careful not to catch it.

- Take Valya to the kindergarten.
- All right. Come, sweetie.


It hurts, dammit!

Dude, I feel like death.

I have the perfect medicine.

Don't know
how I managed to get here.

- Should've stayed in bed.
- Have a puff of this.

- A puff? I feel awful, you know.
- I know.

We can understand each-other's pain if
we share the same reality.

This will make you feel better.

What the hell was that?

This is heroin, sweetie.

From now on,
you're going to have to pay for it.

Don't worry,
we're not leaving you without a fix.

That's why Milen's here.

And your sugar daddy
will fill your pockets.

- You've become a bit expensive to run.
- What? I'm going to the grocery.

What's got into you?
Calm down, I'm joking.

Spend whatever you want.
Hope it's enough.

You keep going to the grocery
but the fridge is still empty.

- Give me a hug.
- Wait until I come back.

- Go later.
- Be right back.

What's going on, Beetle Bug?

- Nothing. Why do you ask?
- What are you thinking about?

Because it's sure as hell
not about me.

Come on. Don't worry, I'm here.
This is for you.




Sis, what's up?

- Didn't forget to pick her up, did I?
- She has a fever.


What happened, sweetie?
Come, give me a hug.

They called you several times
from the kindergarten.

- They ended up calling me.
- Want some chocolate?

- Is that your medicine?
- What else?

- Why didn't you pick up the phone?
- It never rang.

- Are you drunk?
- What the hell are you talking about?

- What's happening?
- Nothing.

Let's bring down her fever.
Do you have vinegar and sheets?

- We'll be fine.
- Mom used to treat us with vinegar.

Is she here?

Tell her to come back from Russia,
to treat her with vinegar.

- That's outdated nonsense.
- I'll make her some tea.

Vessy, the electricity's out again!

What's that crap you're smoking?
It reeks of them everywhere!

Are they cheap, or what?
I'll give you mine if I have to.

I'm sick of this stench.

You come home and it stinks.
Those wretched stairs!

They cut the power again, didn't they?
Why always us?

I want you to be mine,
and mine only.

There's a flu epidemic.
Want me to take your temperature?

- We can go to the doctor's...
- Sis, I'm a junky.

- You're a what?
- A junky.

Hold on, I'll take your temperature.
Where did I put the thermometer?

- Leave that, sis.
- You're fine.

Been smoking five grams of heroin
a day for a year.

A thermometer will do me no good.

Give me the flour.

- What?
- I said, give me the flour!

Can't bake this without it!

Listen. It hurts like hell if I don't
smoke. I can't live like that anymore.

- How will mom and dad take it?
- You won't say a word about it.

Not a word to anyone, our parents,
Ivan, no one! Bistra!

Bistra? Come with me to the doctor's,
please. Can't go on my own.

I'm prescribing her Morphine pills.
She's going to take them for five days.

At that time she has to take two
Neurobex pills three times a day.

Get her some sort of multivitamins.

After she's finished with the Morphine
she's going to take Tetragol.

And one paracetamol pill
four times a day, for the pain.

And the vitamins. In a few days
on that program, come back here.

300 Leva.

Vessy, give me the money.
The money.

Here you go.

Can't break away from heroin,
mark my words.

The only thing that will help you
is strong will.

The Morphine pills
and all that are just in case.

- Gave you the money, didn't I?
- What?

- Vessy?
- Don't you worry. She's a junky.


Come on. Pull yourselves together
and get out.

- But...
- Goodbye!

What am I supposed to do
with her now?

The hell should I know?

- Did you eat?
- Yes.

Well done!

Is mom sick?

- What?
- Is mom sick?

Yes, sweetie, she is.
But she'll get better.

Why is she crying?

- Which story do you want me to play?
- About Alice.

All right.

It was a hot summer's day.

- Good night, sweetie.
- Good night!

... because some songs you can sing in
your mind and few people know this.

All I want to do is to go somewhere

where no one has been before.

I know not where is this somewhere

where no one has been before.

Beetle Bug, what happened here?

- I thought you were at...
- Finished earlier.

- Did Bistra call you up?
- No, why should she?

Finished working and now I'm home.

- What's with these pills?
- I take them.

- Why?
- I'm not well.

- The flu?
- Yeah.

- For my nerves.
- For your what?

- My nerves.
- What nerves?

I'm treating my nerves.
I have an anxiety.

You little minx! What are you
talking about? What anxiety?

You have problems, or what?

Is it about your sister bringing your
daughter home while you lie around?

Are you paying the bills?

Which other 22 year-old girl
has everything she's wanted?

Don't stare at me! Tell me!

Are you sure?

Heavens' doors have opened
for the darkness.

Silently it pours down
like into a deep abyss.

- Have you tried shooting up?
- No.

And lays heavy on the land.

Shadows thicken and emerge
from earthly pores filled with gloom.

The poplars lose the sun's soft touch,

their silhouettes are dark
and scattered as a graveyard.

Give me a cigarette.

Fields and plains lay bare,
gray, and eerie, sullen.

Night is lurking
from the trenches in the clouds.

Cold air starts blowing in whirls

and in the murk it bends the shrubs.

And there it rattles, see...

the final gleam of light has perished.

Let go.

Vessy? Did you hear me?

- Yeah.
- What did I tell you?

I didn't.

They're looking for waitresses
at The White Swan.

Just picture me working there.

- All right.
- This is for you.

We'll be fine.
Don't worry, we'll be out of here.

Don't say that.
I like you two being here.

Don't tell me our parents
are coming back.

Why don't you give them
a call for once?

What are we going to talk about?
About my break-up with Ivan?

What should I tell them? That I got
bored of him? That he got on my nerves?

- Should we talk about that?
- I don't mean that.

Don't want to talk on the phone.

I'm taking this.

- You're all right, aren't you?
- Yeah, I'm just fine. Can't you see?

So the doctor's treatment is yielding

Yeah, it's superb.
It's working wonders.

- Here you go.
- Thanks.

Here you go.

- Do you want another one?
- No, thanks.


- Did you score some big tips?
- Yeah, I did.

- How are you?
- I'm fine, thanks. And you, sir?

We can do away with the 'sir',
if you want.

I'll get going.

See you tomorrow.

- What?
- Who was that guy?

He's my boss.

- I see.
- What do you mean?

Did you get the tips from him?

I'm sorry... Come here.

My yellow monster.

Today I almost got caught.

I've got to quit.

I love you so much.

- One more time, one last time.
- One last time.

We're here for half a horse.

Come in.

- Dad?
- What?

These guys.

- Have you shot up before?
- I have.

- How much do you want?
- Half.

All right. Sabke!

- Hey, Sabke!
- What?

Bring me half a horse.

- Come on, mom!
- Shut your trap, junior!

Always wailing for his mom.

Quickly! Can't stand
so many people here.

- Can't I do it here?
- You can.

- Shoot up here. It's cold outside.
- Stay here for the warmth.

Hey, Missy.

Come on, junior.

What the hell's going on?

- Missy?
- Hey!

- Leave her. Leave that filthy junky.
- Told you she'll pass out.

Don't worry. If she dies we'll throw her
away with the garbage.

No one will be ever wiser.

- I know her.
- Don't care!

- She has a child!
- Don't care!

Teddy Bear, give me her purse.
What a tramp!

Sabke, look there.

Give me her wallet.
How much?

What's that? Is it gold?

- Dumb whore!
- What will we do when you go stiff?

Why shoot up if you're not up to it?

- Piece of shit!
- Wake up.

- Wake up!
- Hit her harder!

Wake up! Don't want any stiffs here.
Wake up! Stupid tramp!

- Wake up!
- That's not your whorehouse!

What are you doing here?
What's going on, sis?

You've been gone for three days.

Haven't gone to work,
haven't picked up Valya.

Nobody knew where you were.

What's he doing here?

He's here because all of us
were worried about you.

You've started again.

What have I started?

- Vessy! No more lies.
- Why lie to you?

Don't look at me, nutjob.

Vessy, please.

Please! Please, stop.

I found your syringes.
Your sheets are smeared with blood.

Can't understand
what are you accusing me of.

- Vessy, let's go the doctor.
- No! Won't go to her ever again.

- Tell me how can I help you?
- I don't need any help!

- I'm fine.
- All right, go, kill yourself then.

Go away and kill yourself
once and for all!


But, mom, she has a child!

Yes, but she may be exaggerating.

- You know what she's like.
- I saw what I saw.

You'll see, you're wrong.

Mother, what's going on?

Vessy, what have you done?

What do you think I've done?

I'm a junky.

Since when?

- Not long ago.
- It's two years now.

- Who knows?
- Only we do.

Everyone knows.

What are we going to do?

- What will people say?
- Calm down.


- Sorry, are you?
- What do you want me to say?

I want you to stop lying.

I want to know Valya
is all right when I go home.

- Valya?
- You really don't know, do you?

- What don't I know?
- Enough! Stop!

- Why didn't you tell me earlier?
- I'm to blame now, am I?

Enough! We'll fight it off!

You'll get better.

She was supposed
to get better before.


Don't worry. We'll send you to a clinic,
and not to some...

Oh, honey...

My dear Lord!

Vessela. Come back inside.



My Lord!

I'm clean.

- Your illness cost me dearly.
- Sorry. Didn't know I had bad kidneys.

Is that right?

Truth is, our clients keep asking
about you.

Don't know how you woo them
but I'm fine with it.

Does that mean that...

It means if your kidneys go bad again,
you're out.

- For good.
- Thanks, Lenny.

Don't mention it.

Be careful. Suit up.

Swing me more!


- Swing me faster!
- Sorry.

- Do you have it?
- Yeah.

- What took you so long?
- Had to wait a while for him.

Where's the car?

- Valya, we're going.
- All right.



Listen, I feel awful.

Can't breathe.
Won't make it until we get home.

- Sweetie?
- Yes, mom?

Mom has to take her medication.

Otherwise it'll hurt me a lot.
You understand, right?

- You've got to help me.
- I don't know how.

Close your eyes
and don't open them up.

- Vessela?
- Yes, Lenny.

Thank you, sweetheart.

Vessela, how long have you been
working for me?

- For two years. Why do you ask?
- Two years. ..

The student asked the wise man,
How can I learn to read people?

Who can I trust
and whom should I be wary of?

The wise man said,
Fear those who conceal themselves.

Those who bow before you.
Swear in fealty and embrace you.

Those are the people
you should be wary of.

Did you know this fable?

I didn't.

What were you doing at Sevastopol
last night?

Nothing. What do you mean?

I'll ask you one more time.

Vessela, what were you doing
at Sevastopol last night?

- Are you on drugs, doll?
- Bullshit...

Be careful how you talk to me.

Take off your jacket.

- Lenny, please.
- The jacket.

Roll up your sleeves.

Take your stuff and get lost.

- Lenny...
- Vessela.

- Please, Lenny.
- Vessela.

Get lost.

Attended another funeral,
didn't you?

Perhaps we'll be burying you too
not before long, Vessy.


You promised me.

- What now?
- Get away from here.

- What's got into you?
- Can't stand the sight of you.

- Your father should take care of you.
- No need to bother him.

If you don't want to bother us,
don't do it.

- You're an embarrassment.
- Right.

- People's opinions are all that matter.
- Egotist!

You cost me my two daughters.

- What do you mean?
- Bistra went abroad because of you.

You're destroying everything,
even Valya.


Vessy! Please.

I beg you!


Are you all right?

If there ever was anyone who could
get away from this shit, it was him.

But even he couldn't.

What does that say for the rest of us?


Vessy, that's what we can do.

- Why isn't mother here?
- She's still in the hospital.

- We had such high hopes for you.
- And now you don't, I guess?

My girl, why don't you quit
and go to the university?

Quit what, dad?

Vessy, please don't.

Don't what?

Give Valya to Tony until...

If you take Valya away from me,
I'll overdose.

It was twice as much when I left it,
that's why I'm asking.

Look at me!

Answer me or I'm going to wreck the
house, even though Valya is sleeping.

Don't lie to me.

Yes, I'm on smack.

I take from yours.

Please, quit it.

I beg you, promise me to quit it.
Don't want to drag you down as well.

Leave this stuff to me
and promise to quit it.


I promise.

I just want this last time
to shoot it up with you, then we quit.

For the last time.

For the last time.

I want to draw your attention

to the fact that they do not take
proper care of their possessions.

After art classes their workplaces
are a proper mess.

I was embarrassed by them
when the cleaning ladies came in.

Please. Talk with them at home.

They should know how
to be clean and tidy.

- So gradually...
- Mom!

- Mom, are you all right?
- Valya, what's going on?


I work nights.



- Mom!
- Yes.

Where's my jacket?

- What jacket?
- The leather one.

- It's there.
- It's not here!

Mom, are you all right?

- Valya, fetch me my belt from my room.
- All right.

That son of a bitch!

Filthy junky.

Here it is.

Thank you.
Go do your homework.

I'll do my homework with daddy
when he picks me up.

- Go pack your things.
- Okay.


- Valya, where's your mom?
- She's resting.

Let's go.


Mom, are you all right?

You promised me.

Get away from here.

Bastard! Give me back my key!

Get away from here!
Told you not to steal from me!

Thieving piece of shit!
Steal from me?

- Vessy...
- Where's my key?

- You cannot live without me.
- Yes, I can!

Never again tell me to go away,
did you hear?

Never! You'll never get rid of me,
you hear?



How can you go on
putting up with me, Tony?

If a man owns a hundred sheep,
and one of them wanders away,

will he not leave the ninety-nine and go
to look for the one that wandered off?

And when he finds it,

he's happier about that one sheep than
about the 99 that didn't wander off.

I'll never stop, Tony.

I'm sorry.

God won't leave you.

Even if you wander off your way,
He'll look for you.

I've been waiting for you for ages!

Come now!

- Is Assen here?
- He is.

Assen, come out!

- Coming.
- Come on.

Vessy! So you came.
Knew it.

- What'd you bring me?
- Found a ring.

This won't be enough
even for a quarter.

Why didn't you bring clothes
from your kid?

Don't have any.

That won't do.
You're going to bring clothes.

Shoes, clothes, what have you.

- Don't have any.
- You'll find.

- We can think of something else.
- We can!

- Throw in something extra?
- We can, even if you don't want it.

Well done, Vessy!
You'll come back again.

Valya, what are you doing?
What are you doing?

I'm making your medicine.

I'm sorry, little one.
I'm sorry.

Good day.

Come on in.

- What's your name?
- Vessela.


- Have you tried a treatment before?
- Yes.

- Tried everything.
- Everything...

Except methadone.

How much do you inject?

One gram a day.

You know that we're full.

- We can't take any more people.
- Decided to ask anyway.

I don't believe anyway.

What don't you believe in?

Mom, may I stay here?
I'm afraid to stay outside.

- We're going. I'm done here.
- Will mom be all right?

- What's your name, sweetie?
- Valya.


Mom will get better.

- But you've got to help her, right?
- Yes.

Change your syringes daily.
Don't want you contracting anything.

We start next week.

You're ready, aren't you?

- I am.
- Thank you.

Sit here.

- Which number?
- 325.

Here, take this.

Water! Have some water.

That's right.

Sign here that you've taken it.
Here. Good.

That's it.
Tomorrow, more of the same.

- Here you go.
- Thank you.

- Valya, how's school?
- It's good.

- Zhenny, is your arm better?
- Oh, yes. Look what I can do.

- See you next week!
- Bye!

I miss you.

I'm going.

Stay with me a bit longer.

One last time. I promise.

You won't see me ever again.

Seven years of my life, Tony.

I can't understand
how that happened.

I feel like I've been branded.

Just don't know
what road should I take.

Vessy, I believe there's better life
in store for you.

You can't have it, however,

if you don't take the first step
and make a sacrifice.

God sacrificed his Son's life
to deliver us from our sins.

He gave us life eternal
if we choose to believe.

He gave us free will
to make a choice.

If we want to.

I just wanted to see her.

I know, my girl.
Try to understand her.

- Mom?
- Velly.

Our girl's learning to become
a journalist.

All right.

Are you still on that poison?

What poison?

The methadone.


- Don't be like that.
- Like what?

She just switched her poison.
Is that the way out?

I'm sorry, mom.

I'm so, so sorry, mommy.

- Lyulin.
- Where?

We'll need visas to go there.

What is a doll like you
going to do there?

- I'm interviewing for an internship.
- There? What type of internship?

- To be a TV journalist.
- That sounds like complete hogwash.

Don't waste your time
with stupid cable TV.

I'm driving you
to the National Television.

- It's scheduled.
- Money's in the National TV.

But I don't want you to stammer
and shy away.

I want you to be confident,
to say 'This is the news'

if you want to be a news anchor.

- Okay, let's go.
- That's it!

- I might get thrown out.
- Throw you out?

Such a pretty girl... to be thrown out.

If they throw you out,
I'll have a word with them.


I love you.

Shall we go?


The devil has many faces.

His most alluring one
is the face of heroin.

For me,
it's a live being beyond matter.

It's a strong and evil spirit
that changes you when it enters

and never leaves you the same after.

Actually, 'after' is a rarity.

I can say I'm completely clean.

I'm a new person with hope and faith.

God has always been with me,
watching me.

He's been watching me
through my daughter's eyes.