I had to tell someone
I had to tell someone. I couldn't keep it a secret anymore.
Can I tell you my story?
[the renter shows his hand that says 'yes' on it]
My father died at 9-11. After he died I wouldn't go into his room for a year because it was too hard and it made me want to cry. But one day, I put on heavy boots and went in his room anyway. I miss doing taekwondo with him because it always made me laugh. When I went into his closet, where his clothes and stuff were, I reached up to get his old camera. It spun around and dropped about a hundred stairs, and I broke a blue vase! Inside was a key in an envelope with black written on it and I knew that dad left something somewhere for me that the key opened and I had to find. So I take it to Walt, the locksmith. I give it to Stan, the doorman, who tells me keys can open anything. He gave me the phone book for all the five boroughs. I count there are 472 people with the last name black. There are 216 addresses. Some of the blacks live together, obviously. I calculated that if I go to 2 every Saturday plus holidays, minus my hamlet school plays, my minerals, coins, and comic convention, it's going to take me 3 years to go through all of them. But that's what I'm going to do! Go to every single person named black and find out what the key fits and see what dad needed me to find. I made the very best possible plan but using the last four digits of each phone number, I divide the people by zones. I had to tell my mother another lie, because she wouldn't understand how I need to go out and find what the key fits and help me make sense of things that don't even make sense like him being killed in the building by people that didn't even know him at all! And I see some people who don't speak English, who are hiding, one black said that she spoke to God. If she spoke to god how come she didn't tell him not to kill her son or not to let people fly planes into buildings and maybe she spoke to a different god than them! And I met a man who was a woman who a man who was a woman all at the same time and he didn't want to get hurt because he/she was scared that she/he was so different. And I still wonder if she/he ever beat up himself, but what does it matter?
What would this place be if everyone had the same haircut?
And I see Mr. Black who hasn't heard a sound in 24 years which I can understand because I miss dad's voice that much. Like when he would say, "are you up yet?" or...
Let's go do something.
And I see the twin brothers who paint together and there's a shed that has to be clue, but it's just a shed! Another black drew the same drawing of the same person over and over and over again! Forest black, the doorman, was a school teacher in Russia but now says his brain is dying! Seamus black who has a coin collection, but doesn't have enough money to eat everyday! You see olive black was a gate guard but didn't have the key to it which makes him feel like he's looking at a brick wall. And I feel like I'm looking at a brick wall because I tried the key in 148 different places, but the key didn't fit. And open anything it hasn't that dad needed me to find so I know that without him everything is going to be alright.
Let's leave it there then.
And I still feel scared every time I go into a strange place. I'm so scared I have to hold myself around my waist or I think I'll just break all apart! But I never forget what I heard him tell mom about the sixth borough. That if things were easy to find...
...they wouldn't be worth finding.
And I'm so scared every time I leave home. Every time I hear a door open. And I don't know a single thing that I didn't know when I started! It's these times I miss my dad more than ever even if this whole thing is to stop missing him at all! It hurts too much. Sometimes I'm afraid I'll do something very bad.
I had to tell someone.
I couldn't keep it a secret anymore.
Can I tell you my story?
My father died at 9/11.
After he died, I wouldn't go
into his room for a year...
...because it was too hard
and it always made me wanna cry.
But one day, I had completely heavy boots
and I went into his room anyway.
I miss doing Tae Kwon Do with him
because it made me laugh.
When I went into his closet
where his clothes and stuff were...
...I reached up to get his old camera
with the brown case...
...and I broke a blue vase.
Inside was an envelope
with "Black" written on it.
And I knew that Dad had left something...
...somewhere for me
that the key opened and I had to find.
So I take it to Walt the locksmith...
- I get from Stan the doorman...
Some kind of lockbox.
...For all the five boroughs.
I count there are 472 people
with the last name "Black."
There are 216 different addresses.
Some of the Blacks live together, obviously.
I calculate if I go to two
every Saturday plus holidays...
...minus my Hamlet school play rehearsals,
it'll take me about three years...
...to go through all of them. But that's what
I'll do. Go to every person named Black...
...and find out what the key fits
and what Dad needed me to find.
The very best possible plan.
I divided the people by zones and
I really had to tell my mother another lie.
She wouldn't understand
how I need to find what the key fit...
...that would help me
make sense of things...
...like him being killed by people
who didn't even know him at all!
And I see some people
who don't speak English...
Hazelle Black, who's all prayered up
and spoke to God.
If she spoke to God, how come
she didn't tell him not to kill her son...
...not to let people
fly planes into buildings.
Maybe she spoke to a different God
I meet a man, who is a woman who
is a man, a woman all at the same time.
I didn't wanna get near him/her,
because she/he scared me...
...because she/he was so different.
I still wondered if she had a VJ
or peniscillin, but what does it matter?
What would this place be like
if everybody had the same haircut?
I see Mr. Black, who hasn't heard
a sound in 24 years.
Which I can understand,
because I miss Dad's voice that much.
Like when he would say
"Are you up yet?" or...
Let's go do something.
I see the twin brothers
who paint together.
And there's a shed that just has
to be a clue, but it's just a shed!
And Astrid Black,
who has the same drawing...
...of the same person
over and over and over again!
Boris Black, the doorman, who was once
a schoolteacher in Russia...
...but now says his brain is dying.
Ramos Black, who has a coin collection...
...but doesn't have enough money
to eat every day!
Alan Black has a view of Gramercy Park
but not a key to it...
...which he says is worse
than looking at a brick wall.
I feel like I'm looking
at a brick wall...
...because I tried the key
in 148 different places...
...but the key didn't fit
and open anything Dad needed me to find.
So that I'd know without him
everything is all right.
Then let's leave it there.
I still feel scared every time
I go into a strange place.
I'm so scared I have to hold myself around
my waist or I think I'll just break apart!
But I never forget what I heard him
tell Mom about the Sixth Borough:
That if things were easy to find...
They wouldn't be worth finding.
But I'm still scared every time I leave
home, every time I hear a door open.
And I don't know a single thing
that I didn't know when I started...
...except I miss my dad
more than ever...
...even though the whole point
was to stop missing him at all!
It hurts too much.
Sometimes I think I might do
something really bad.
[KNOCK ON DOOR]
Like you to what?
No way. Absolutely not. No, no, no.
Sure. Next Saturday, 7 a.m.
I got there 23 minutes,
37 seconds early just in case.
I didn't know if I wanted him to be there.
I didn't even know
if I didn't want him to be there.
I'd give it the day to find out.
If you're coming with me,
there are rules.
You are allotted two bathroom breaks,
one 19-minute stop for eating.
And sightseeing is strictly prohibited...
...although sites of historical merit
may be noted.
Also, there's a list of 15 simple questions
about yourself I'd like you to answer.
Rule number four is keep up.
I can't stop and wait every two minutes.
Jean Black is in Zone H,
map grid AQ-16.
It's in the Rockaways, 11.3 miles.
I don't take the train. It's not safe.
It's an obvious target.
All public transportation is.
You can get blown to pieces
by people who don't even know you.
He said, "I can't walk that far."
He said if I wanted him to go with me,
it would have to be on the bus or a train.
And the train was a lot faster.
And he wrote:
"Anyway, there's nothing to be afraid of."
To which I said:
It's easy for you to say!
Which actually... it wasn't.
"Think about nothing."
That's an oxymoron, like, "now, then."
An oxymoron is when two words
contradict each other.
My father and I used to have
Seriously funny. Sah!
Deafening silence. Fwa, fwa!
- Living dead!
- Accidentally on purpose.
And even though
he never said a word...
...for the first time since Dad died,
I felt like I had someone to talk to.
No one's there.
Ring it again and I'll kill you!
OSKAR: What are you doing?
MAN: Get out of there!
What are you doing with that camera?
[CAMERA SHUTTER CLICKS]
So how come you stopped talking?
I did some extensive research.
You know, it's medically impossible
to stop talking...
...unless your vocal cords
are taken out or cut...
...or diseased with carcinoma
of the larynx or something.
It said, "Otherwise,
it is a hysterical reaction...
...to a singularly traumatic event...
...in which the person makes
a psychological decision not to speak...
...because speaking would
re-create the event."
Just thought you should know.
Wait! I can't cross this!
The bridge isn't safe.
I might fall through.
I can't read what
you're writing from there.
He wrote, "If you cross the bridge,
I'll tell you my story."
Wait for me! Don't go too far!
Wait for me!
He also wrote,
"Let's take a break and we'll talk."
We can't! We only just started.
Don't leave me!
Clip duration: 720 seconds
Movie: Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
Genres: adventure, drama, mystery
Summary: A nine-year-old amateur inventor, Francophile, and pacifist searches New York City for the lock that matches a mysterious key left behind by his father, who died in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.