Stowaways (1997) - full transcript

A port in the north of Europe. Sandu, a 13-year-old gypsy, wants to get to Canada. He is not the only one. Five other men and a woman are also stowaways. Six people, six lives, six destinies and one single wish: to reach the other side, where life is better. The voyage normally takes a week - a week to hide in a container, thirsty, hungry and above all afraid. Afraid of cracking up, going mad, and worse still of not arriving. Ever. A kind of hell. The ship's engine breaks down. With nothing to eat, the stowaways are tempted to leave their hideaway. But the crew is on guard. Their orders are clear: no stowaway must ever reach Canada.

Got the money?

- It's all there.
- Come on.


Get out of here!
I told you never to come back!

You messing with me?

- Where'd you steal this?
- I bought it.

- You bought it?
- Yeah, I bought it.

Let's go. We're done.

We've wasted enough time.

Follow me.

Come on! Hurry up!

Come on. Come on, quick.

Come on.

Come on, quick.

Come on.

Come on! Hurry up!

Without food? No way.

- Where do you want us to go?
- If they don't come,

we're finished.
- They have nothing. You take them.

- We'll get caught.
- If you want to share,

that's your problem.
Don't count on me.


Thank you.

- Are you from Poland?
- No.

- Romania. And you?
- You know,

I won't always be able to share.

She's Svetlana, and I'm Dora.

I'm Halima.

I'm not your cousin.

- What's that?
- My space.

The whole boat will hear her.
Make her be quiet!

Pass me the bag.

- I'd rather you didn't stay there.
- What's your problem?

- You don't like Arabs?
- Are you Arab?

Write it on your forehead,
because I couldn't tell.

Hey! Wait a minute.
Did you rent this space?

Is it yours? Is it?

That guy thinks it's his villa.
What is this?

He had no problem settling in.

You should do the same.
Go over there.

Thanks, princess.

Thanks a lot.

Can't you turn down the sound?

- How old is Svetlana?
- 10.

- She seems younger.
- That's because of her illness.

She's strange, isn't she?

Strange? No.

She just can't hear well.

She'll have an operation
when we get to Canada.

It's free there.

I know. I went to hospital
in Canada.

What do you mean?
You were there?

So what happened?
They deported you?

Tell us.

What's Canada like?


That's why I'm going back.

It's very cold, with lots of snow.

I've never seen so much snow.

And lots of money.

- What did you do there?
- I was a mechanic. I fixed cars.

Chryslers, Cadillacs,

- Impossible.

You're too young to have
done all that.

How old do you think I am?

Not everyone can find work.

You have to know people.

I can drive trucks.
Do you think I could find work?

There are lots of trucks there.

They must need drivers.

Is it true, about the hospital?

In Canada, the hospitals
are like the cars:


You seem to know
Canada well, gypsy.

- I'm not a gypsy.
- You could write a guide:

the Liar's Guide.

I'm turning the light out.

Hey! One sip, that's it.

Thank you, Halima.

Thank you.

You know, I have a husband,

and he was supposed to come
with us.

Everything was all ready,
and then...

then he got kicked out of France.

What was I supposed to do?

Will you help us?

You can't abandon us!

Are you done complaining?

You can survive for 6 days.
We've seen worse.

You can't do this.

You can't let Svetlana
starve to death!

Don't count on me. I warned you.

Go ahead, cry. Cry.

"It's not fair.

"It's the system's fault."

What is it?

Shit! We hit something.


We left 4 days ago.
We've only made it to England.


Damned smuggler.

He tricked us all. All of us!

Shut up, OK? We knew what
we were getting ourselves into.

The smuggler never said
it would be a pleasure cruise.

Are you an idiot or what?
You're an idiot.

We haven't started crossing the ocean
and I should be happy?

We have almost no food left.

You're doing it too fast.

You have to go slowly.

Why are you looking at me?

It scares you, doesn't it?

Can you imagine if we got deported?

And had to go back to the village?

In handcuffs?

Never. Not like that.


When I go back,
it'll be a big day.

And everyone who laughed at me

will regret it.

You have it all figured out.

A Mercedes,

a BMW,

maybe a Peugeot 504.

You'll be a big shot,
with a suit

and shiny shoes?

Don't talk to me like that, OK?

I'm not a whore.


Forgotten your mother tongue?

Fuck off!


That could've been good too.

What do you do with those?
Eat them?

Fine. Don't answer me.

Do you have anything left to eat?

Hey! Cockroaches got your tongue?

How old are you?


- Where are your parents?
- I don't need anybody.

Know how to play strip poker?

- Want me to show you, gypsy?
- I'm not a gypsy! Don't say that.

- I'm not a gypsy.
- Calm down!

How would you feel
if I kept calling you "Arab?"

Would you like that?

I'm not a gypsy. I'm Sandu.

Sandu. I'm Sandu.

Where is it?

If you're looking for something, ask.
I've no more food.

Give it back to me.

I swear...

I'm not going to let amateurs
like you steal from me.

Give me my sausage.

Give it to me.

You'd better give me my sausage.


You're like every other gypsy.

You're all the same.

That's enough!

It's just a sausage.

Did you eat it?

Was it good? It was good, wasn't it?

You ate it, you and your retard.

You'll give it back,

even if I have to get it
out of your stomach.


I didn't do it on purpose.

Hurts, doesn't it?

I didn't mean to.

I didn't mean to do that.

I'll get my own back, I swear.

And you, Arab,

don't keep your eyes closed too long.

Otherwise you might not wake up.

Thank you.

Is it painful?

That asshole really hurt me.

You didn't hurt him.

Why won't you say where you're from?

I'm Swedish. Isn't it obvious?

Don't get mad.
We're just having a chat.

I already know your questions.

"Where are you from?

"I'm your brother,
you're my sister."

It's always the same.

What did I ever do to you?

We're Arabs, you and me.

Arabs should help one another. God
knows what's waiting for us there.

- Do you know anyone there?
- No.

That's why I'm going.

What did you do, before you left?

Walid, I've crossed out my past.

Crossed it out?
Are you a Catholic now?

I was asking because...

in the beginning, it's easier
if you're not alone.

What are you going to be?

Secretary to the Prime Minister.

A cleaning lady like everyone else,
you idiot.

We're Arabs. We should...

Go back to the village
if you want to be with Arabs.

Go back and do what?

If only there was something to do.
But there's nothing.

You wake up in the morning,
stand up,

light a cigarette

and wait for death to take you.

That's it.

Whatever you do,

your neighbor, the baker...
everyone knows all about it.

And when things go wrong,
you're never on the right side.

In Canada, I'll ask for
political asylum.

Political asylum?

You need a past, a real one.

I haven't had papers for 5 years.

My country refused to give me
a passport.

Do you think the Canadians
will make inquiries?

Call every Arab country to find out
where I'm from?

No embassy will recognize me.
It's as if I don't exist.

Where can they send me?
To the moon?

It's as if I was born
on this boat.

They must've heard hundreds
of stories like that.

In Canada, they need people like me.

I have a degree,
I can drive a truck...

They can't turn me away.
They know it.

They have to take us.

They have to.

How can you be so naive, Walid?

You couldn't do anything
in your village or in Europe,

so what do you think you can do
in Canada?

I told you. I'll drive trucks.

Did you hear that?

We've been stopped for 6 hours.

What are they doing?

Hey! What are they doing?

We should've arrived a week ago.

- 1 week ago!
- How much did your smuggler friend

make you pay for this fools' cruise?

He didn't make you work too hard,
I hope.

It's nothing.
The ship's just broken down.

How do you know that?
Do you have X-ray eyes?

The Atlantic, my dear,
takes 7 days to cross. 7!

We left England 4 days ago.
7 minus 4

makes 3.
We're in the middle of the ocean,

we've broken down.

- It's easy to understand.
- They don't abandon boats.

Someone will come save us.

There's a phone on the boat.

"There's a phone. I'll just call.

"SOS. Help us, please.

"We've broken down. Call a tow."

Amateurs. None of you thought about
what the trip would be like.

If we die here, it'll be your fault.

Pathetic losers.

I've had enough of you. Bye!

Yeah. Get lost, you monkey!

It'll be better for everyone.
Go away.

I can't take it anymore.

Halima, what's going on?

What's going on?

You drive me crazy.

Swallow your pills
or come back down to Earth,

but stop bothering me.

Hey! Give them some water.
The girl is sick.

I don't have any more.

And the other moron
is driving me nuts.

My daughter has a hearing problem.
She's not a moron.

There are healthy people there,

and even they can't find work.

And we're coming with a moron.

This can't go on.
You can't do this to us.

Do what?

Watch us starve.
What are you trying to prove?

I didn't bring you here.

OK, but now you have to share.

"Share, share, share..."

You know, in my country,
we shared for 70 years.

Since I was a boy, we always shared.
We shared everything.

Now all we have is poverty.

You want to share?

What do you have to share?


How do we share your principles?

We cut them in 6 pieces
and eat them?

Fuck you, you selfish bastard!

And who are you? What are you?

Why didn't you stay
in your little country

to help your old mother?

To save your skin, your own skin.
You're selfish,

like me. You're no better.

Here it's everyone for themselves.
It'll be exactly the same there.

You gave everything
to those 2 idiots,

and now you'll suffer.


You want to eat this?

It looks like you have good teeth.

"The wisdom and generosity
of the British government

"toward the nation of France

"were fully recognized.

"It preserved its laws,
its language and its religion."

CANADA, Empire of Wood and Wheat

Give me the box.


Give me the box with the dates.

- There are none left.
- I don't care.

There are none left.

Don't eat the butts.
They're bad for your throat.

One day, they found 50,
in a container like ours.



50 blacks.

The captain threw them overboard.

He said sharks didn't eat blacks.

It's not true.
The sharks ate them up.

They ate them all.
All of them. 50 blacks.

Stop it! Shut up! Shut up!

If they find us,
they'll do the same to us.

They'll throw us overboard.
If they don't find us,

we'll die dry, like poisoned rats.

Shut up!

Know where we are?

Floating without a rudder
on thousands of liters of water.

Shut up! Shut up!

We don't even know where we're going.
Does the boat know?

Maybe it's going to China,
or Russia.

Or back to the village.

That's even worse.


It's going back to the village!


I'm hungry!

No one else is sharing.
I have no choice.

You've given food to Svetlana.
I know it.


In exchange for what?

If you won't give it to me,
sell it to me.

Isn't that your new system?

Business. You buy, you sell.
Every man for himself, right?

Here. Take it.

Now give me something to eat.

It costs more than that.

I'm hungry.

You don't like that?

Forget about it.
Everything has a price.


It's good.

You want me to get there
with blood on my hands?

You want me to be a killer?
Your killer? Is that it?

What would I tell Immigration?

"Hello. It's me, the murderer.
Can I come live here?"

" all...

"thy sons...


"With glowing hearts...

"we see thee rise,

"The True North..."

Are you a man or not?

"From far and wide..."

More visitors?

That's nice.

Do you want to see the doctor?
Do you need help?

Last time wasn't enough for you,

He gave me tetanus.

Fucking Russian.

The fucker wouldn't give us
anything to eat.


Come on. Come on.

Come on.

I feel the wind blowing in my belly.

The same wind as in the village.

I can feel it in my gut,

in my stomach.

I could even draw its shape.

We have to get out of here.
They have to get us out of here.

We have to get out of here!

Open up! Open up!

We have to get out!

Hey! Open up!

Open up!

Open up.


There's that much room.

Good luck.

Wait. Don't move.


Wait. Wait.

- Hurry, hurry, hurry.
- Get water. OK?

Don't forget.

Be careful. Watch out.

Come back, OK?

Come back.

Go on. Go.

Here, little one...

One, two.

I'm sick. I need a doctor.


I'll lose my arm.

It smells like bacon.

No, Sandu! No pork!

What time is it?

This is my space.


Go over there.


- Walid!
- Leave me alone.

Leave me alone!

Leave me alone.
Don't touch me.

Don't touch me.

- Don't touch me.
- Walid...



What's wrong with me?

What is it?

- Nothing.
- What's wrong with me?

- What's wrong with me?
- Nothing.


It hurts. It hurts.

Tell me what's wrong with me,

It hurts.

A bare foot...

Halima, the blood...

It won't stop bleeding.

I know, Aïsha.

I shouldn't have left.

I should've stayed.

You need me,

not the money.

I'll feed you.

It hurts!

Don't leave us.

- Did you see the sun?
- No. It's nighttime.

It hurts.

Don't leave us.

We're almost there.
Hang on a little longer.


Walid! Wake up, Walid!

Walid! Walid!

Walid... No!

How many days until we get to Canada?

I don't know.
Two or three days, maybe.

We're going to make it, honey!

Where's your daughter?

Where did you hide your daughter?

She must've gotten out.

"My dearest Aïsha,

"I know you haven't heard from me
in a while.

"I apologize for not writing

"As you can see from the stamp,
I made it,

"finally. I'm here.

"It's so different from home!
The day after I got here,

"I got a job in a big company,

"and soon, I'll buy a car.

"I've rented a small room,
but not for long.

"I'm sure you won't believe me,
as usual,

"but I've changed, Aïsha.
And this time, it's for good.

"The future is bright here.

"I've decided I can't live
far away from you

"and that I'll do everything
so that you, Abdul,

"Yasmina and I can be together

"We'll spend the next Eid-el-Kebir

"I'm sending you all my love.

"Kiss the children for me.

"Your husband who loves you

"and who misses you every day,


We request...

political asylum.

Every year, dozens of stowaways try

to reach Canada,
hidden on shipping vessels.

Those who make it
obtain refugee status

or are deported
to their home countries.

Others are not so lucky.
They can't tell their stories...

Subtitles: Eclair Media