One of the ways in which a filmmaker can start a good story is to begin the film by either having the key character experience some sort of change in his life, or putting him into some real or perceived peril. Alfred Hitchcock was a master at creating tension in his films from square one, and 13 (Tzameti) writer/director Géla Babluani follows in the traditions of Hitchcock and great film noir by starting his first feature film off with a double whammy. Twenty-two year old Sébastien has been working a job making repairs to a house belonging to Jean-François, an old man with a serious morpine habit.

The man has promised Sébastien the first part of his pay in three days. Sébastien overhears a conversation Jean-François has with another man, talking about an opportunity where he can make a lot of money. He is awaiting the delivery of an envelope with instructions; he seems very nervous about the upcoming job, saying he may not return from it . Mysterious men are watching the house, also awaiting the arrival of the envelope. The envelope arrives, bearing a train ticket and a paid hotel reservation; Jean-François promptly puts it away, and takes a long, hot bath and a morphine overdose. When he later comes back to retrieve his gear, Sébastien unwisely takes the ticket and reservation and decides to go on the trip in Jean-François' place.