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    AC Benus
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MARDI - At the Crossroads of Life and Art - A Film Script - 4. Parts 7 and 8

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[Part 7 – Dream as Reality – I: Rebellion and Fear]

EXT. MEDIA’S BARQUES ON GRAY WATERS – NOON

The sea is calm, and like the sky, colorless and glassy. A moody-looking island is in the near distance. A central volcano peak, like a sharp-angled cone, rises in the center and sends a wind-bent column of black smoke into the sky. Media’s party lounges on with cups of kava and pipes.

 

MEDIA

We must make one more stop. Mohi, tell us Hautia’s story.

 

Redburn starts at the name.

 

MOHI

A dark telling. It seems once an angelic race ruled the Earth. Man arose, but instead of jealousy, their betters helped man to understand. Countless generations of Hautias ago, one riled man into rebellion and fear. She led them to evict the angels and cast doubt into every man’s heart. It is her self-professed duty to see that unease and fright remain amongst us.

 

EXT. MEDIA’S BARQUES FROM ABOVE

A slow rising view shows three pilot fish in front, and three shark fins behind Media’s central canoe. On the horizon, near the island, silent lightning flashes.

 

[Part 7 – II: Conform]

EXT. BEACH ON HAUTIA’S ISLAND

Throughout the scene, the MUSIC of Hauti’s theme slowly builds to a climax. As Media’s launch approaches the shore, the three pilot fish rise from under the water and turn to Media’s party as the THREE WOMEN. When the boat is beached, the three sharks rise as bloody chinned WARRIORS. Media’s party stands on the beach, and nervously watches the sharks emerge and transform. The Three Women have floated to a trailhead and now are dressed in all-white robes.

 

THREE WOMEN

For the last time, come to Hautia. She will marry you for aye – forget your Yillah, for art may not ever be found.

 

EXT. TRAIL THROUGH WOODS

Media’s party moves through the verdant foliage. Flowers bloom everywhere they look.

 

EXT. CLEARING WITH CLIFF WALL AND CAVERN OPENING

The THREE WOMEN stop and gesture towards the cave. Masses of wasps swarm out in streaming clouds. They divide and coalesce into even columns that land around the perimeter of the clearing. These columns of wasps transform into fifty YOUNG WOMEN wearing white robes with hoods. A shadow appears in the door of the cave, and REDBURN is helplessly drawn to step towards it. The others hang back. The shadow emerges as a black-robed and hooded woman. Redburn’s gut wrenches. HAUTIA lowers her hood, and reveals she is the Incognito. She is beautiful and has long red hair. Her robe slowly transforms from black to silver to white. The rest of the party runs up to Redburn.

 

MEDIA

Let’s retreat. This is not right….

 

JARL

Listen to me, boy – now!

 

REDBURN

(stooped)

Where are they! Yillah? Toby...?

 

Hautia moves forward. The men tug on Redburn clothes, but leave him as they retreat. They pause before moving back along the path.

 

HAUTIA

You torment yourself in vain. You at last came to me to be mine in marriage.

 

REDBURN

(stands in defiant pain)

No! You are a stand-in for all women, and I’ll marry none but my art – my Yillah. With art I will produce children beyond the grasp of death.

 

HAUTIA

Bind him.

 

The Three Women attempt to cuff him with flower ropes. At first he resists, but then he plays along. Hautia glides backwards into her grotto. The Three Women lead Redburn by the ropes to the cave entrance.

 

INT. HAUTIA’S GROTTO

As REDBURN gains the door, he can see the floor is a deep pool of seawater. It glows with its own ethereal light, and rises and falls slightly with the movement of the surf. Around the lip of the pool is a ledge. The fifty WOMEN stand here, and each holds a lit torch. Redburn drops the flower ropes and turns to go. The three WARRIORS block the doorway. Hautia is at the far end of the pool across from Redburn. Slowly, and in perfect unison, the fifty Women float over the edge of the pool and descend into it. The water comes over their heads, and as it touches their torches, the flames fly up and meander like fireflies. HAUTIA is now floating dead center over the pool. She extends her arms up, and the flying lights gather in her hands. The fifty Women transform into lily pads. Hautia brings her hands down and in front of her chest. She rubs them together, and the lights become self-illuminated pearls. She tosses them into the water, but instead of sinking they float and swim about under the surface as they did in the air.

 

HAUTIA

Lo, Taji. Here are the rewards of an average life: a wife, health, stamina, wealth, respectability, and children born of the flesh to suffer as meaninglessly as you. Here art is sacrificed. Conform. Go down and fetch up that which you may – pearls, or deeper mysteries.

 

INT. UNDERWATER

Redburn steps into the water; he submerges. Lights are darting all about him. Deeper he sees a white form – YILLAH – with open eyes. He dives down the face of the ragged cliffs. He extends his hand. She raises hers, but a soapy-green ALIMA grabs at his arm. Redburn struggles with the corpse and loses air. He tries to rise to the surface.

 

EXT. SURFACE OF WATER

REDBURN’s head bobs up. He gasps for air, and then shouts.

 

REDBURN

Yillah!

(to Hautia)

I will not give up! You have already lost.

 

Hautia’s face turns into the terrible jaw of a snarling canine. As she is just about to snap off his head, Redburn sinks below the water again.

 

EXT. MEDIA’S ROYAL BAURUA – NIGHT

Hands come into the water and haul REDBURN up into the boat. Redburn lies in the boat gasping; afraid. He alights in JARL’s panicked features.

 

JARL

You must have been dreaming again. All we heard was you shout from the water.

 

REDBURN

(pause – extends a hand to help him stand)

I know what my dream means now – and, which path in life I must follow.

 

DISSOLVE TO:

PASSAGE OF TIME:

 

A time-lapse series of shots convey the passage of a month’s time.

 

[Part 8 – Who and What We Are – I: Lucky]

EXT. BAY ON TAWARA – DAY

A high view shows the Parki ready to sail on sparkling-fresh water. It is a perfect tropical day

 

EXT. LONGBOAT ON BEACH

A native CREW stands in the surf with the boat. The Parki is in the background. REDBURN stands before JARL and YUMI.

 

REDBURN

You take care of each other. Yumi, you are the luckiest man in Mardi to have this man’s love. Go to King Uhia, the two of you, and be happy.

 

In a burst of MUSIC and motion, Jarl runs forward and hugs Redburn so hard they nearly topple into the surf. The crew laugh. While Jarl’s love theme once again comes to its heartbreaking moment, Redburn kisses Jarl’s cheek, and gently pushes him back to Yumi.

 

[Part 8 – II: Speed the Hours]

EXT. HELM OF THE PARKI – DAY – LATER

During the following voiceover, shots include the gleaming, beautiful ship gliding forward over a smooth sea, and a glorious sky arches above her snapping sails. REDBURN comes up to AN’NATU, who is steering. He takes over, and she mockingly salutes and runs off. She joins SAMOA, and they expertly manage the ship’s CREW. Redburn keeps his eyes on the eastern horizon.

 

REDBURN (V.O.)

Speed the hours, the days, the one brief moment of all our joys. Storms follow bright dawnings – long memories, of short-lived scenes; sad thoughts, of joyous hours – how common are these to man. When happy, do we pause and say – ‘Look here, soul. This is it. See?’ – No: happiness seldom seems happy, except when looked back upon from woes. Like a field, joy’s landscape is something you must emerge from first to behold and savor. Jarl, my Viking, my Skyeman, sought my permission to tarry – and could I say no? For him, with me as his one treasured companion, he feasted and famished; but yet to me he was my sole link to things past. For as David asked about his Jonathan: ‘But who am I, and what are our kind, for all things come from you, and re-give to you. For we are strangers, and sojourners, as were all our fathers. Our days on Earth are but a shadow. Things past – Ah, Toby, though we hunted far and wide, we found you not. We found you nowhere but in the past, and in a future sorely longed for. And so, she sweetly called from the sea – still I must go on. But, gazing from whence that music seemed to come, I thought I saw but the green corpse of my doubts drifting by. It struck hard, as if to hinder the course against my prow, but to it, my heart grew harder – grew like resolved flint; like the determined black of night, or the ink on a page: I will go on. To pursue my art, and my Toby, to the ends of the Earth.

 

END CREDITS.

As the credits roll, the view rises to show how infinitely small the Parki is on the wide, tropical, and gorgeous South Pacific. Eventually, the MUSIC segues to “Lonesome Road II,” performed by female soloist, choir and orchestra. [9]

 

 

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Copyright © 2017 AC Benus; All Rights Reserved.

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