The Burial Of Kojo (2018) Script

[wind chimes ringing]

[church bell echoing]

[clock ticking]


[clock continues ticking]

[ticking fades]

[waves crashing]

[Esi as an adult] My father Kojo had had the same recurring dream for 7 years.

The dream where the sea swallows the earth and a raging fire burns.

[haunting flute music plays]

He never told anybody about this dream.

He never told anyone it wasn’t a dream at all.

It was more like a memory.

A tragic memory he could never forget.

My father believed only the water could cleanse the past.

So before I was born, he moved to a village surrounded by nothing but water.

A village far, far away.

This is where my story begins.






[water lapping and birds chirping]

[Esi continues narrating in English] The village surrounded by water was like no other place known to man.

Legend has it that the Snail God carried the people on its shell, and brought them to the middle of the lake where they built their homes on stilts.

This is where my father met my mother.

[frogs croaking]

It is said that on the day that they met, the frogs sang a melody so beautiful, the pond lit up and the flowers bloomed.

Right there and then, they decided to get married.

[plucky string music plays] [frogs croaking]

♪♪ The bride price was one bottle of whisky, two bags of yam, six pieces of wax cloth, one sewing machine, and one large calabash of palm wine.

My father sold everything he owned to pay the bride price.

Not long after that, I was born.

[baby crying]

On that night, my father said he saw a vision so magical he couldn’t explain it.

The sky lit up and golden droplets rained from the heavens.

There I stood, illuminated by the light that poured from above.

My father asked all the soothsayers in our village and they all confirmed his vision.

I was supposed to bring prosperity and good luck to my family.

♪♪ However, things did not turn out that way.

[solemn music plays]


[birds chirping]

[in Twi] So--

If you had the chance to go to any big city, where would you go?

I don’t know.

Accra, Kumasi, Takoradi, anywhere.

I don’t want to go anywhere.

I like it here.

So you don’t mind seeing the same thing everyday?

[Esi] No.

And you?


So you are going to leave me?

Why would you say such a thing?

I’m never going to leave you.

If you leave me, I'm going to turn into the wind, disappear into thin air and find you.

You don’t have to turn into the wind and go anywhere.

I won’t leave you.

I promise you.

[crickets and birds chirping]

Sit down and lets go home. Your mother is waiting.





[thunder rumbles]

[Esi in English] My mother had lived her whole life on the village surrounded by water.

She longed to see the world beyond the lake, but my father never had any money.

She grew tired of his empty promises and decided--

[in Twi] I’m leaving.

[Esi continues] So she left and came back.

And left and came back.

And left again.

And every time she left, my father waited for her in the same exact place they first met.

But this time, No frogs sang, and no flowers bloomed.

[birds chirping and water lapping]

[Ama in Twi] What do you think?

We can sell the things we don't need.

Your outboard motor.

I think we can get a lot of money if we sold it.

[Kojo] You want me to sell my outboard motor?

Why don't you sell your sewing machine?

But you know this is what feeds us.

[Kojo] So I don't contribute anything?

I won't sell anything of mine to move to the big city.

My mind is made up.

[birds chirping]

[Esi in English] I spent most of my time with my father.

He told me so many interesting stories.

The beginnings only made sense if you knew the ending, and the endings were never quite what you expected.

And so one day, just like my father's stories, a blind old man no one had ever seen came to our village.

He told us he was from the realm in-between where the sky meets the earth and people walk upside down.

He said the Crow that ruled this realm was trying to capture the sacred bird and only a child with a pure heart could keep the bird safe.

My father did not believe a word the old man said.

Please-- No.

I am trusting you. Take care of it.

[Esi continues] But he didn’t want to offend him so he let me keep the bird.

That night I dreamt of the Crow who ruled the realm in-between.

[dramatic music]

[frantic flute music plays]

[discordant strings screech]


♪♪ [thunder rumbles]

[loud screeching noise]





[music stops] [loud screeching noise]

[low rumbling]


[thunder crashes]

[breathing heavily]

Ama. Ama.

[Esi breathing heavily]

Ama. Ama, wake up.

Ama. Where is her medicine?

[labored breathing]

[rain falling]


[Esi gasping for breath]

[wheezing breath]


[Esi narrating] Another stranger visited us.

But this was no ordinary stranger.

This was my uncle, Kwabena.



[Kojo] So how is mother?

That’s why I’m here.

She’s not well.


What’s wrong with your food?

I don’t want fufu.

I want rice.

Here you go.

Kwabena-- No.

Buy whatever you want.



[monstrous screech]

[spooky violins play]

[frantic music plays]


[screeching noise]


[in Twi] The Crow is here to capture the Sacred Bird.

Don’t let him take it.

[bugs chirping]

[Kwabena] I'll be waiting for you in the big city.

[bugs chirping] [water lapping]

[clock ticking]

[ticking grows louder]

[ticking becomes muffled]

[muffled ticking slows]

[muffled ticking stops]

[insects buzzing]

[Esi] That night my father had the same dream he has had for 7 years.

But this time he remembered it exactly as it happened.

It was the night my uncle married the beautiful bride Adwoah.

People came from far and wide to witness the spectacular wedding.

Now everybody knew my father loved Adwoah.

But she chose his older brother, and it broke my father´s heart.


[car horn blares]

[crash] [woman screams]

[water lapping] [bug buzzing]

[birds chirping]






[man vocalizing]

[frantic flute playing]






[woman vocalizing with flute]


[music stops]

[sound of match striking]

[percussive music begins]



[drumming continues]



[drumming stops]

[radio static]

[man speaking English on radio] The Vice President went to China with a plan to leverage some of our gold site deposits to tackle the program for industrialization.

[in Twi] This place has changed.

This is where the old filling station used to be.

That’s moved too?

Oh, long time. neither against mining nor against the Chinese.

[radio crackles]

[Kwabena] You see those Chinese men?

They run things now.

[dog barks]

Everywhere you go, they are there.

[brakes squeak]

[traffic noise] [people talking]

[engine running]

[traffic noise fades]


[thunder rumbles] [rain falling]

[heavy rain falling]

[somber horn music playing]






[crickets chirping]

[Kojo in Twi] Ama.


Ama wake up. I have something to tell you.

Wake up.


[crow caws]

[crow caws]

[crows continue cawing]

[Kwabena in Twi] You are here already.

So you finally told her what happened.

[Kwabena chuckles]

Can you believe it?

It’s been 7 years.

[Kwabena sighs]

I’m sure that I’m the luckiest person right now.

Celebrating my wedding and funeral anniversary on the same day.

[crows cawing]

[Kwabena sighs]


I forgot.

You don't drink anymore.

Well, I’ll drink for us.


[crows continue to caw]

[music plays on TV]


[theme song plays in Spanish]

[Esi in Twi] So Alejandro and Jose are brothers?

[Esi's Grandma] Yes.


[Esi] So why are they fighting?

[Esi's Grandma] Sometimes brothers fight each other.

[phone rings on TV]

[in English] It is I, your one true love.

He is watching us

Stay away from her.

You took something from me brother.

It is time for me to take something back.

I swear, I will kill you.

[in Twi] So when my father and uncle were children did they fight?

A lot--

When they were children.

One day, if I didn’t arrive early, your uncle would have drowned your father.

[in English] Jose is under a lot of stress.


[yelling] It's always about Jose!

What about me?

Do you care about me, Mom?

[in Twi] So will Alejandro and Jose stop fighting one day?

I don’t think so.


Because they both love the same woman.

Oh, really?



[traffic noise]

[in Twi] Remember where I used to work?

Altra Gold?

I heard they stopped work a long time ago.

It's true.


Before they closed down, they found gold.

They found a lot of gold.

But they couldn't get all of it before the company closed down.

So, if you're interested we can go try there.

Altra Gold-- right now?

It sounds dangerous.

I don’t think it's going to help me.

I'm just looking for something small to get back on my feet.

Not Altra Gold.


It's just an idea. If you're not interested, no problem.

How many guys work for Apalu?


You can find him at his usual place.

Sisi’s Bar?

[upbeat music plays]


[Esi in English] Apalu was my father and uncle’s oldest friend.

They grew up together in the big city.

He had had a tough life.

He never knew his father.

When he was only two months old His mother abandoned him in a hotel room and disappeared.

It earned him the nickname Apalu, which was the name of the hotel they found him in.

[baby crying] [childlike music playing]

[Esi continues] But Apalu didn’t let any of this stop him from enjoying life.

He run an illegal mining outfit that my father used to work for.

Of course he was surprised to see my father back.

[in Twi] To tell you the truth, since you left, no one has found much gold.

The chiefs have sold all the land, and the Chinese have brought their heavy duty machines.

We can’t compete with them.

All the polluted rivers you hear about--

It's them.



[frantic flute music plays]

[loud, discordant screech]

[flute music plays]


[screeching noise]

[crows cawing]

[music continues]




[crows caw]

[Esi in Twi] Father I swear, the crow came here.

If we don't move, it will come back to find us.

[Kojo] I don't believe you.

It's just your wild imagination.

[dove coos]

Hey-- Hey

I've found some.

You found some?

True. True. Here it is.

Here it is.

[excited yelling]

[in Arabic] The goods haven't arrived yet.

What's the reason?

That’s not acceptable.

I owe people money.

I have a deal to close.


You have to finalize this operation the best way possible, okay?

Wait a minute.

[in English] 400 Ghana cedis.

Take it or leave it.

[man] 400?


[in Arabic] Finalize this operation and let's see what we can do.

[man in English] We'll take it.

[in Arabic] Hold on--

We need to finalize.

[man continues in Arabic] Let's see what happens.

Let's finish, by all means, and finalize.

Let's settle it.

Let's settle it.

[match strikes]

[crows cawing]

[in Twi] I told you, that’s how much they pay.


That money is for me, you and the rest of the boys to share.

That’s the price these days.

So why did you come to the village to find me?

No reason.

I missed my little brother.

You’ve been gone too long, brother.

You’ve been gone for far too long.

Forget about everything that happened and move forward.

I moved forward. I moved forward.

You coming back has brought my mind back to it.

You haven’t moved forward.

You’ve been hiding.

Hiding and moving forward, There is a difference. It’s not the same thing.


Whatever happened, you should be able to forgive me.

Not a day goes by that I don’t think about it.


Brother forget about it.

I won’t forget about it. I have to say it.

I know what happened wasn’t right but...

So right now what are you going to do?

I think about it too.

But what are we going to do?

The person is dead and gone.

There is nothing you can say to bring her back to life.

You see?

So forget about it and move forward.

As for us--

We are waiting for you to come and join us.

[birds cawing]

[loud screeching sound]

[Esi gasping for breath]

[Kojo] I told you, I don't believe in those spiritual things.

[Ama] Your mother said the pastor has healing powers.

What's the harm in trying?

My mother is old.

If you told her to sit in church all day, she would.

Otherwise she just watches telenovelas.

I will take her.

You can join us if you like.

[ominous muffled music plays]

[crow caws]

[bus accelerates]


[singing and clapping]

Hallelujah. [all together] Amen.

[in Twi] We are going to talk a little about Joseph.

[Pastor] Amen. [all] Amen

[Pastor in Twi] There's a message in it that can transform your life.

If your relatives reject you, and the world turns it's back on you, The one true God will be with you.

[all] Amen.

Will be with you. [all] Amen.

Will be with you. [all] Amen.

24. They took him and put him in a hole.

The hole was deep but there was no water in it.

And they sat down to eat.

[Pastor] Amen. [all] Amen.

[Pastor] Amen. [all] Amen There were some travelers passing by.

And when they got to where the brothers were, they had a sheep they wanted to sell.

I mean Joseph.

So they took Joseph out of the hole and sold him to be a slave in another land. Beloved, listen.

[music drowns out voice] You will not be a slave till the end.

[pensive guitar music plays]


[water gurgling]






[Pastor in Twi] To be a slave in another land. Beloved, listen.

You will not be a slave till the end.

[all] Amen.

[muffled rumbling, breathing]

[birds chirping]

[in Twi] I think it was the Crow.

The Crow?

The Crow is who killed the Sacred Bird.

What do you think the Crow really wants?

I don’t know.

When you find out what the Crow wants, come and tell me.

[traffic noise]

Don't touch that cockroach.

[motorcycle revving]

[inaudible over motorcycle]

[in Twi] Really? Yes.

Why didn't they test it before they took it?

I tell you--

Almost 100 thousand U.S. dollars.

They exchanged for the fake gold.

And you know why they couldn't go to the Police?

Because they didn't have a mining license.


These white people are not smart at all.

It's surprising.


[tense music plays]

[frantic string music plays]

[dog barking]


[engine revs]

[woman speaking Chinese on radio]

[engine revs]

[Kojo in Twi] Now what?

[Kwabena] Forget Apalu.

He's a coward. Don't mind him.

What he's saying is true.

I don't think it's a good idea to go back.


This is our last chance to go to Altra Gold.

Our last chance.

I already told you, Altra Gold is too dangerous.


What are you afraid of?

If we go and find gold-- fine.

If we don't find any-- we don't lose anything.

It's dangerous.

It doesn't matter.

If you're brave you will find some.

I know there's gold there.

I'll think about it.

You’ll think about it?

[cheering on TV]

When you think about it-- Remember.

[muffled rumbling, breathing]

[music on TV]



[in English] No, no don’t worry.

He's my brother.

He is not going to do anything.

Calm down.



[solemn flute music plays]




[water bubbling]





[music intensifies]



[music softens]



[crows cawing]

[crows cawing]

[in Twi] How deep do you think it is?

I don't know.

Did you bring a rope?


Please, Kwabena.

Please, Kwabena. Please, help me.


[Kojo yells]

[discordant music plays]


[sewing machine runs]


[clock ticking]

[ticking continues]

[knocking on door]

[Esi in English] My mother and I went to the bar where my father and uncle would usually meet.

There we saw Apalu.

[in English] Good evening.

[Esi continues in English] We asked him if he had seen my father and he said no.

But when I asked him about my Uncle, he grew very confused.

He said my Uncle had been gone for seven years.

[percussive music plays]



[thunder rumbles]

[wind whistles] [thunder crashes]

[crows cawing]

[in English] I don't know if it happens like that.

I don't know what to say.

You wanna come home, we'll talk. Okay?

[in Twi] I will call you later.

I will call you.

[in English] Alright, bye.

[in Twi] We will send a search party to find him.

But it's very difficult work.

[radio chatter in background]


We have to motivate the boys.

You understand?

You have something small?

Sir, I don't have any money.

Bring your voice down.


Why are you being so loud? Hmm?

[clears throat]

You don't have anything-- small?

I don't have anything, Sir.


I don't have anything.

[officer in English] Okay.

[fan whooshing]

[birds chirping]

[traffic noise]

[horns honking]

[woman on TV in Twi] We just heard from our reporter about the illegal miner who went missing.

The sad news is that by the time they found him, He was dead.


[upbeat percussive music plays]





[truck engine revs]

[thunder rumbles]



[whispers in English] Okay. Okay.


Okay. One... two...




[breathing heavily]




[sobs in pain]

[breathing heavily]

[in Twi] No-- I can’t die here.

[shuddering breath]


[muffled reverberating noise]

[muffled noise continues]

[high-pitched ringing noise]

[wind blowing]

[bug crawling]

[breathing heavily]

[breathing faster]



[gasping breath]




[fly buzzing]

[Esi in English] Word spread fast about my father's disappearance.

The radio and newspapers said the police were not doing enough to find him.

The police called in one of their best detectives from a neighboring town.

His name was Detective Koomson.

He did everything by the book.

Within 24 hours he had arrested the Chinese men he believed were responsible for my father's disappearance.

[siren chirps]

But, by the time my mother and I arrived at the station, the Chinese men had been processed, released, and already left the country.

[clock ticking]

[ticking stops]

[somber music plays]

[Esi continues] On the 7th night, I dreamt about my father.

I finally realized the true meaning of the vision he had when I was born.

The night the sky illuminated, and golden droplets rained from the heavens, I was the only one who could save my father.




[wind blowing]


[whooshing sound crescendos]

[crow cawing]

Uncle Kwabena--

[in Twi] Are you the Crow?

I am whatever your mind tells you I am.

Where are you hiding my father?

Your father is where he has always been.

Where people who suffer from guilt are.

Me and Adwoa had an accident.

I said, where are you hiding my father?

Me and Adwoa had an accident on the day of my wedding.

That night we died.

Your father was supposed to die too.

But he lived.

We have waited for him for a while.

We are now at the land where the sky meets the earth, and people walk upside down.

If your father is not with us, we can’t cross into the afterlife.

So right now we are waiting for him.

We are waiting for your father to come and join us.

So if you are dead, how are you alive?

I am dead.

But in your father's mind, I am still alive.

But the truth is, I am not among the living.

Your father jumped into the mine all by himself.

What mine?


I can’t tell you.

But if you want to save your father, then time is running out.

You will have to hurry up because you don’t have time.

Where is the Sacred Bird?

[match strikes]

[discordant screeching sound]

[tense music plays]








[water dripping echoes]

[dove coos softly]

[Esi in English] I realized, the Crow was my Uncle, and the Sacred Bird was my father.

I set it free, and it journeyed through time and space, through earth and sky, until it showed me where my father was.

[wind blows]

[solemn music plays]






[police radio static]

[in English] Sir, it's him.

You won't believe it.

[church bell chimes]

[monitor beeps]

[beeping continues]

[beeping continues]

[beeping continues]

[voice over PA]

[in Twi] Father, I know what the Crow wants.

He wants you to come and join him.

Don't go.

Father don't go.

Father don't go.

Don't go.

Don't go.

[woman vocalizing]


[Esi in English] That night my father died.

I could hear the crows everywhere.

There were no celebrations.

No triumphant chants.

[birds cawing]

Just a solemn welcome for my father by those waiting to cross into the afterlife.








[Esi continues in English] Whenever I think about my father, I think about the good times we had.

The stories he told me, and the world full of magic he introduced me to.

And I know he is always with me.






[upbeat jazz drums]

[jazz ensemble plays]

[funky music plays]



[music stops]