Original screenplay: “Japonés” (The Japanese), 2022
"Japonés" (The Japanese) is a mystery feature film that explores the blurred line between reality and fiction. Dumas, a frustrated novelist, and Japonés (the Japanese), a retired smuggler, have been piloting private boats between Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay for years. But during a routine trip from Mar del Plata to Rio, Japonés mysteriously disappears from the boat, and Dumas cannot determine whether he is dreaming or awake. From this point on, Dumas embarks on a journey through Brazil, haunted by memories and surreal visions, in search of his enigmatic friend Japonés. Ultimately, it will be revealed that the line separating reality from fiction can be very blurry.
First 6 pages of Treatment are shown as preview:
Year 1990. 
Port of San Fernando. A cloudy afternoon that anticipates a summer storm. Two fishermen tie their boat to the dock and take out the nets and buckets of fish. Alfredo Dumas (54) watches them while smoking from the pier railing. He has a notebook in his hand. He opens it, looks at what he wrote. A sailor approaches him and tells him that someone in the bar can take him to the East. Dumas nods, closes the notebook and throws away the cigarette. He walks towards the bar.

The port bar is dark, foggy but typically Porteño, full of people, and has a long window with a view of the river. Japonés (42) is sitting at a small table against the window, smoking. Dumas approaches him; Japonés stands up, they introduce themselves, and greet each other with a handshake. They sit down. Japonés tells him that if the storm doesn’t start by nine, they'll go. He tells Dumas that everyone has been waiting in the port for two days to leave because a Pampero is coming, but he has to deliver the cruise ship to the boss for the weekend.

Dumas' phone rings, he asks for a moment and gets up to answer it. Dumas moves a few steps away and speaks quietly with a few words, nodding. Dumas says on the phone that he will arrive in Punta del Este in the morning, hangs up, and sits back down. Japonés asks him what he has to do in Uruguay. Dumas simply says that he is going to visit his daughter, and cash the money from a publisher. Japonés asks him if he is a writer. Dumas tells him that he wrote some novels, but has mostly worked in advertising. Japonés confesses that he is a fan of comics, that he always takes a stack to read on the boat, and he will show him the ones he has this time. Dumas asks him how long he has been working as a sailor; Japonés tells him he doesn't know, but many years for sure.

At night, Dumas and Japonés are on the cruise ship tied to the dock. They exchange some words about navigation, and Dumas reveals that he is a motor helmsman. Japonés responds with feigned admiration and tells him that it's better that way so he can rest. Japonés starts the motor and asks Dumas to cast off the moorings, which he does. They slowly leave the port. From the railing, a stevedore jokingly yells if they are carrying an umbrella. Japonés replies that they forgot it, but that they have food for the jellyfish!

Inside the boat's control cabin, Japonés is at the helm. Dumas stands next to him. They talk about some navigation technicalities. Japonés offers to do four-hour watches so that the other can rest. Dumas offers to steer, saying he's awake. Japonés sits in the armchair to read comics, although he is really observing how Dumas performs at the helm. Japonés looks at him with approval until he falls asleep. Dumas carefully watches the black waves through the glass while steering and lights a cigarette.

A strong jolt wakes Japonés, who is surprised to see Dumas looking at him while steering as if he had been calling him. Dumas tells him there's something weird on the barometer. Japonés gets up to check the barometer. He asks Dumas if he can swim well. Dumas smiles, then becomes intimidated. Japonés takes command with worried gestures. He says that the Pampero will catch them just before Piriápolis, where the swell is strongest.

Dumas asks if there is an inflatable boat; Japonés tells him that there is, but it doesn't work because it's collapsible and won't hold up in even a slight wave. He clarifies that there is also no anchoring and he told the owner, but there wasn't much that could be done. Japonés says the best thing to do is to head towards Piriápolis and stay close to the coast. Dumas agrees, saying they can always jump off if needed since the boat is insured. Japonés observes Dumas's marked expression of fear and tries to calm him by giving him tasks. He tells him there are two boxes of champagne below that he would like to save and asks him to tie the bags to the life jackets and bring them up.

Dumas goes down to the cabin, finds two life jackets, and ties the bags to them. A violent jolt makes him lose his balance on the stairs and he falls. Dumas gets up and goes back up with the bags and the life jacket.

The waves begin to violently hit the boat, which moves up and down on increasingly high waves. Japonés and Dumas smoke cigarrettes, both standing at the helm. It starts to rain and the storm becomes furious, with seawater and rain lashing against the yacht. At that moment, the radio goes silent and the instrument lights go out. The inside of the boat is practically dark. Dumas asks what happened; Japonés says a fuse blew. Dumas looks at his watch and calculates the time, telling Japonés they are rolling slower. Japonés says he feels something strange; Dumas asks what, but Japonés says he doesn't know. He asks Dumas to take the helm and goes down to the cabin.

In the helm, Dumas tries to synchronize the engines with great difficulty, as they go up to five thousand revolutions with the waves and drop to zero when the bow falls. When Japonés returns, he asks Dumas how much a two-thousand-liter pump is, if it pumps two thousand per hour or per minute. Dumas, piloting, tells him it's per hour, that it's surely per hour. "We're screwed," Japonés says, "the cabin floors are floating." He tells him he started the pumps, so he's going down to see if they're working. 

Japonés goes down and yells from below that they're not doing a damn thing, that the boat is sinking. Dumas, at the helm, is petrified looking at the staircase where the voice is coming from. Dumas yells if they're going to the beach. Japonés yells to stop, and abruptly comes back up. He stands next to the helm and asks Dumas to stop one motor, but Dumas says no way. Japonés tells him to stop one motor and forget about starting it again. He asks if he heard him well, in a threatening tone. Dumas asks what he wants with that, and Japonés says he wants to pump out the water. Japonés lunges at Dumas and puts a hand on the accelerator, bringing it down to zero, then goes back down the staircase, where he tells Dumas not to even think about starting it up again.

Dumas, at the helm, cannot control the boat, which with only one engine working begins to spin in circles, while the waves enter on the starboard and port sides. Dumas looks at the depth gauge and sees how with each circle they get closer and closer to the rocky coast.

Down below, the engine room is completely flooded and and Japonés, with water up to his waist, dives in and disassembles the pump at the risk of being electrocuted. Due to the contact of the current and water, the tips of his fingers are burned, but he manages to repair the pump. He climbs to the control cabin with his hand in raw flesh, yelling at Dumas to push the engine to the max. Japonés gets on top of Dumas and pushes the accelerator to the maximum. The boat becomes controllable again and sails correctly. Dumas asks Japonés what happened to his hand, and he tells him, biting his lips in pain, that he disassembled the cooling system and connected the motor pump pipe to the bilge to drain it. Dumas tells him that he has bandages in his bag, but Japonés tells him that it doesn't matter, it's just the pain. The waves continue to hit the boat, and Dumas and Japonés steer together.

After a while, the storm subsides, and Dumas and Japonés steer semi-sleepily. Due to the low visibility, they cannot see the entrance to the port of Piriápolis, so they keep sailing.

Fade to black.

Dawn. The boat enters the Port of Punta del Este. The interior of the boat is destroyed: broken glass, food, cigarettes, comics, bags, all scattered on the floor. The cabins below are filled with a meter of water. Japonés sleeps on the cabin seat tied to his belt, with his hand bandaged and resting on his chest. Dumas is standing at the helm. The water moves the boat gently. There is silence, and a light drizzle falls in the fog when Dumas ties up at the prefecture dock. Dumas goes out on deck and jumps onto the dock. He has the notebook in his jacket pocket. Dumas walks along the dock and up to the port.


Dumas is in a butcher shop, choosing the piglet pointed out by the butcher. The butcher takes it out of the freezer and shows it to him. Dumas tells him it's fine. The butcher offers to prepare it with pepper. Dumas smiles.

Port of Mar del Plata, on a sunny morning. "The piglet, the piglet!" Japonés shouts from the deck. He is on the 20-meter long sailboat "“Chila”." Dumas carries the piglet as he walks along the dock, jumps onto the sailboat, and goes down to the cabin to put it in the freezer. Then he goes up and tells Japonés that everything is ready. But Japonés is not on the boat. Dumas shouts for him, but he doesn't respond. Dumas goes down to the dock to see if Japonés went to the port, then returns to the “Chila”. When he enters the cabin, he finds Japonés there. Dumas asks him where he was, and Japonés tells him he was waiting for him on board. Dumas looks at him puzzled.

“Chila” sails with Japonés and Dumas on board. Japonés is at the helm, while Dumas is below deck writing in his worn-out notebook. He falls asleep, but is awakened by a noise and sees everything in reddish color through the porthole. Confused, he hears Japonés shouting above and rushes to the deck to see a huge cargo ship just a few meters away, covering them with its immense shadow. Japonés is shouting wildly at the ship, while Dumas covers his ears from the deafening horn. Suddenly, he wakes up from the nightmare and finds everything calm around him. He goes up to check on Japonés, who is still at the helm and asks Dumas to prepare the pork with black beer for dinner. They laugh and argue about whether the pork should be paired with wine instead.

Then, the story flashes back to Japonés meeting with Guilherme, a dreadlocked man, in the main street of Buzios. Guilherme takes him to a sailboat covered with a tarp, which they uncover to reveal several bags of cocaine. Japonés looks at Guilherme, who smiles, showing his golden teeth.

Back to the present, Dumas and Japonés discuss the butcher who was allowed to roam around the boat, but they are now enjoying a free and well-prepared pork dinner. They talk about the Pampero in Piriápolis and motorboats at sea. Japonés tells Dumas how he was once held captive in Brazil after getting lost in a river with a motorboat, and had to kill a person and save a woman to escape. Dumas is skeptical but Japonés insists that he killed the Brazilian with an axe. Dumas laughs but looks at Japonés suspiciously.
Japonés takes over the helm and tells Dumas he will wake him up in a few hours. 
Fade to black.

When Dumas wakes up, it's almost noon; the light filters strongly through the porthole. Surprised, he quickly stands up and rushes to the helm cabin. The Japonés is not there. He's not on deck either.

Dumas frantically searches for him: he retakes the course and grabs the binoculars, throws a rope over the stern, shouts his name, looks in all directions, but finds nothing. Using the map, he makes some calculations, but exhausted from shouting and searching, he sets the course for Rio. He turns off the autopilot and retreats to his cabin to sleep.
When Dumas wakes up again, he goes up to the deck feeling somewhat down, intending to make his own breakfast. Suddenly, he hears a whistle. When he gets to the deck, he sees that the Japonés is having coffee and has prepared one for him. When the Japonés sees him, he laughs and says he looks like a dead man, as if he had been killed in his sleep. Dumas, confused but relaxed, laughs.

They spend the whole day together doing a lot of things with the flat sea. The logbook, the map is there, or it's another map or another book. Taking it to Dumas is a puzzle. Everything they did is there, but the Japonés is not.

When he wakes up, it's dawn. He goes up to the helm cabin, but the Japonés is not there. He frantically searches for him all over the boat, telling him to stop messing with him. He can't find him. Everything they did is there, but Japonés is not. Resigned, Dumas looks at the map and sees that he's only a few hours away from Rio. He begins to tidy up the Japonés's papers and wallet, which are on the chair where he was reading comics.

The “Chila” enters the port of Rio. Dumas gets off the boat and goes to the prefecture's office. The office is small. There's a working fan and two prefects sitting behind a desk. Dumas puts the folder he brought with him on the table. He introduces himself, announces that he brought the sailboat “Chila” of Mr. Zielecki and lost his companion, Orlando Nuñez, at sea. The Brazilian prefects listen to him with little attention and make him fill out a form. Dumas obeys and fills it out.

A well-dressed and formal-looking man, Mr. Zielecki, is having a drink at the bar of a luxury hotel in Rio de Janeiro. He lifts and swings the glass so that the ice spins the drink. Dumas enters the hotel. He walks to the bar and sits next to Zielecki without looking at him. Dumas orders a coffee from the bartender. Zielecki observes him. Dumas tells him that he lost the Japonés but that the sailboat is perfect. Zielecki looks at him strangely, as if he doesn't believe him. As if to say "What Japonés?" or "How can you lose the Japonés?" But he doesn't say any of that. He asks if there were any problems with the prefecture. Dumas shakes his head, says he filled out the accident report. He hands him an envelope with money and says, "This is what we settled on." (…)
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