Below is the step outline for the screenplay, Because of Mama. You'll notice
when you see the film that the final structure is different from the one we
present here - underscoring the notion that films are rewritten at every stage of
the filmmaking process. The step outline is just the first step in this
- Slava has his cello lesson. His teacher tells him he needs to play
with more feeling.
- Scene Two
- Walking home, Slava encounters the ice cream vendor, who won't sell
him ice cream (at first) because his mother has told him not to.
- Scene Three
- Slava stops at the hockey rink. His friend asks him if he'll be
playing hockey later; he says he can't, because he has to practice.
- Scene Four
- Slava arrives home, finds a list (left by Mama) of things to do. He
- Scene Five
- Slava sits down to practice, but is interrupted by his father
arriving home with a small group of friends.
- Scene Six
- As a party brews, Slava complains to his father that the company
should leave; he needs to practice. His father tells him to go play hockey, and
that he'll pick him up in an hour. Most importantly, he promises Slava that he
- Scene Seven
- Slava plays hockey with his friends. His father doesn't come to
pick him up. Even worse, his shoes are stolen and some beat-up boots are left
instead. His mother is going to be angry...
- Scene Eight
- Slava trudges home, on his skates, through the snowy streets. He
arrives home, and hits the elevator button. But the elevator doesn't work. He
drags himself up the stairs to his apartment.
- Scene Nine
- Slava sees his father lying passed out in the elevator. He drags
him back to the apartment, where he finds the remains of the party and a woman
passed out in his mother's bed. He wakes her up, and together they get his
father into bed. The woman leaves; Slava stares at a bottle of vodka and
declares, "I'm sick of this."
- Scene Ten
- After cleaning up the mess, Slava kisses his father goodnight. He
then sits down on his bed and tries to practice. But he's tired, and so he goes
- Scene Eleven
- His father wakes him up in the middle of the night, asking him
where the vodka is.
Scene Twelve: Slava goes to the kitchen, where he finds his father drinking
window cleaner. He asks his father why he drinks, and his father answers,
"Because of Mama."
- Scene Thirteen
- His father has passed out once again. Unable to sleep, Slava
decides to practice. But he's interrupted once again by the sound of his father
screaming in his sleep.
- Scene Fourteen
- Slava goes out, tells his father to shut up, that he's just
beginning to play with feeling. When his father doesn't shut up, Slava puts a
pillow over his head and tries to smother him. In fact, he thinks he kills him.
And then he repents, and begs his father to wake up. His father does wake up,
tells Slava that he loves him and that he should go to sleep. Doesn't he
remember that he has a concert tomorrow?
- Scene Fifteen
- The concert. Mama is there. So is Papa and the music teacher.
Slava sits down, begins to play, makes a mistake. Mama is extremely displeased.
He starts again. As he plays, he remembers the scene from the night before, and
he manages to play with brilliant feeling. Everyone applauds, but Mama is
troubled by one thing: where did her son get those ugly shoes?
- Scene Sixteen
- Backstage, Mama is pleased and is accepting everyone's
congratulations. Meanwhile, the men are exhausted and want to go home and sleep.
Papa breaks the news to his son that they won't be able to go home just yet:
Mama has planned a big celebration at the ice cream parlor. Slava doesn't want
to, but his father says he has to. Why? Because of Mama.