Claudia Karvan, Al Clarke, members of the Screen Australia Board, you say I pose a risk to SA staff. Owing to your duty of care, you say, you cannot allow SA staff to meet with or communicate with me. You refuse to provide me with any evidence that I pose a risk; that I have engaged in ‘highly offensive conduct’. The reason is simple. There is none. And you know it. Your ban is a fatwa; punishment for a critic; a warning to other filmmakers.
Thursday, January 10, 2013
THURSDAY'S CHILD # 2
continued from THURSDAY'S CHILD # 1 19 INT. HOSPITAL ROOM. DAY
BEA lies semi-conscious in a
hospital bed as DR JAMES and two nurses examine her.During moments of consciousness, blurred
images come into focus - the doctor leaning over her, the nurse writing on a
clipboard, white curtains blowing in the breeze.
20 INT. HOSPITAL HALLWAY. DAY
MR. and MRS. MILES stand in
the hallway, outside Bea’s room, with DR. JAMES.
DR JAMESA disease of
the central nervous system...one that we’ve never seen before...and that we
know very little about... there’s an epidemic worldwide...
DR. JAMES is quite
MR MILES Yes...?
DR JAMESI think it
only fair to tell you that...two of my patients have died.
A moment of stunned
silence.MRS. MILES begins to cry.MR. MILES puts his arm around her shoulder.
21 INT. HOSPITAL ROOM. DAY
BEA is alone in her hospital
bed; her eyes closed.The door opens.
MR. MILES enters and walks over to the bed, MRS. MILES just a little behind
him.Both Bea's parents are emotionally
shattered.MR. MILES kneels beside the
bed and looks with tear filled eyes at his unconscious daughter.He brings his trembling hands together,
clasping them tight and holding them up to his face, as if to pray; a man in
need of the god he does not believe in. BEA's eyes open.She looks wanly at her parents.
MR MILES Yes darling.
BEAAm I going
MR MILES (a little too quickly)No.
MR MILESYou must
MR. MILES is unable to
reply.BEA looks at her father. He is
having difficulty holding his tears back. Then she looks over to the window,
where the white curtain blows in the breeze.
22 EXT. MILES' HOME. DAY
BEA sits in a large
comfortable chair, in late afternoon sun, in the garden of the family’s
suburban home, staring into space.MRS.
MILES, sitting close by, is trying to cheer BEA up.
the word)Italy...embossed in gold on
the cover...I suppose I was five...perhaps six… and because my father had
hidden it, the book...the word Italy...there was something...magical and
quite... forbidden about it...
MRS MILES laughs at the
inside, a lithograph of Michelangelo’s David, wearing a fig-leaf...but I didn’t
know he was wearing the fig-leaf...I thought men were born with fig leaves...
The sound of a car pulling
into the gravel driveway can be heard in the background.
MRS MILES (smiling)And
it wasn’t until I met your father …
She laughs and looks at BEA,
who tries to smile - to please her mother.MRS MILES, worried but trying hard not to show it, takes BEA’s hand in
her own for a moment, squeezing it, then getting up to walk across the garden
to greet MR. MILES, in a business suit.
BEA stares into space, lost
in her own thoughts, as MR. MILES kisses his wife in the background, talks with
her for a moment, then approaches.MRS.
MILES follows; stands a little distance away.
He kisses her on the
forehead; she barely responds.
MR MILESI’ve got
something for you.
He opens his briefcase and
takes a small wrapped parcel from it, handing it to BEA.She puts it in her lap.
MR MILESAren’t you
going to open it?
BEA opens it.Inside is a leather bound volume of the
COLLECTED WORKS OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE.BEA smiles weakly, but does not look at her father.
BEA stares into space.MR. and MRS. MILES exchange looks.
23 EXT. BEACH COTTAGE. AFTERNOON
BEA sits on the swing in the
yard of the Miles’ beach cottage, looking vacantly out over Pittwater.MR. MILES and DR. JAMES approach.
look who’s here!
BEA makes no response.
DOCTOR JAMESBea, it’s
BEA does not respond.MR. MILES and DR. JAMES exchange knowing,
DOCTOR JAMESBea, you’re
cured. The disease is gone. There’s nothing to worry about.
BEA takes no notice of her
this nonsense has to stop!
DOCTOR JAMES(paternalistic)Yes Bea?
thinking about evolution.
DOCTOR JAMESWhat have
you been thinking about it, dear?
No response from BEA.The men exchange glances.
ahead)Life just keeps evolving,
forever. Millions of years to go. There’s no end, no goal. What’s the point?
DOCTOR JAMESBea, young
ladies don’t have to concern themselves about such things.
can’t help the way I think.
DOCTOR JAMESLeave it to
us men to torture ourselves with questions for which there are no answers.
BEA stares at the water,
smiling almost imperceptibly to herself at the fatuousness of this last
statement.MR. MILES and DR. JAMES
exchange concerned looks.
24 INT. BEACH COTTAGE. BEA'S ROOM. PRE-DAWN
Early morning.Bea’s room is empty and the window open; the
curtains blowing in a light breeze.MRS.
MILES stands in the doorway; worried.
MRS MILES (shouting)William...William...
25 EXT. BARRENJOEY HEADLAND. PRE-DAWN.
BEA, in her nightdress,
climbs the steep rock face at the northern end of the beach; her face
expressionless.Out to sea, on the
horizon, the pre-dawn sky is bright orange.
26 EXT. PALM BEACH. DAWN
MR. MILES and Bea’s TWO
TEENAGE BROTHERS run along the water’s edge, following fresh footprints that
lead in the direction of the rocks.The
sun is just about to rise.
27 EXT BARRENJOEY HEADLAND. DAWN
BEA stands on a rock ledge
that juts out over the sea. The incoming swell covers a rock ledge forty feet
below, then sucks back leaving the rocks bare again for a few moments before
another white mass of water swirls over them. BEA's face glows golden in the
light of the rising sun; her nightdress and hair blowing in the breeze.After a long moment looking at the sea BEA
steps off the edge of the cliff quite calmly.The boiling white mass of water sucks back into the sea.There is no sign of her.
28 EXT. PALM BEACH. DAWN
MR. MILES and his two sons
are near the end of the beach now, close to where the rocks begin to mount up
at the base of the cliff. They stop running, unable to believe what they see:
BEA, her white nightdress
clinging to her, emerging from the water, smiling broadly.
MR. MILES looks on with shock
and horror. There is an unusual peace and calmness in BEA.Her father and brothers are speechless.
29 EXT. COUNTRY RAILWAY LINE. DAY
Amidst lush hilly sheep
country a goods train puffs past.BEA,
dressed in white shorts, white shirt, white sun visor and with a large
dilly-bag around her shoulder, rises up into shot and starts running beside the
train, closely followed by two bearded and dishevelled SWAGGIES.One grabs hold of a metal bar protruding from
the side of a carriage and deftly swings himself on board.BEA copies him, though not quite as
deftly.She almost loses her footing but
is held on board by the SWAGGIE on board whilst the other swings himself up
BEA, exhilarated by the
experience, clings to the side of the train as it moves through the lush green
hills - her face broken by a huge and happy smile.
30 INT. MILES' HOME. DAY
Mr. Miles hands a sheet of
paper to a POLICEMAN, on which is written: BE BACK SOON, BEA.DR.JAMES stands nearby.MRS. MILES, extremely upset, sits down; a handkerchief
in her hand.
31 EXT. COUNTRY ROAD. DAY
BEA, her swag beside her,
sits by a red dirt road, taking in the beauty of her surroundings, thinking for
a moment, then writing in the notebook in her lap: a travel journal.
32 INT/EXT. CAR/COUNTRY ROAD. DAY
BEA hitching a ride, as seen
through the front window of an approaching car. In the front seat is a FARMER,
his WIFE and TWO CHILDREN; in the backseat FOUR MORE CHILDREN - all startled to
see BEA standing at the side, arm outstretched.The car pulls up. BEA leaps over a puddle and leans down to talk through
BEA inspects the interior and
the exterior of the car hastily.
plenty of room out here!
She hands her dilly bag
through the window to the startled wife.
BEA swings one leg over the
left front mudguard and sits astride it, her feet on the front bumper bar.
Hanging onto the mudguard with one hand she turns to wave to the farmer that
she is ready; they can go.The farmer
and his wife - both bewildered - look at each other for a moment. The children
BEA rides the mudguard as if
it were a horse and as the car picks up speed Bea becomes increasingly
exhilarated.There is a bit of a bump as
the car hits a puddle, splattering Bea with a brown muddy water. She looks at
her mud-bespattered clothes and laughs; looks back then with a happy smile at
the occupants of the car, who can’t believe this is happening to them.MUSIC OVER this traveling sequence.
33 EXT. COUNTRY ROAD 2. DAY
The car is parked at the side
of the road in drier country; further west.The wife passes Bea’s dilly bag to her through the window.BEA thanks them for the ride and the car drives
off, down a dirt track off the main road.MUSIC OVER.
LATER IN THE DAY
BEA, some distance from the
road, late in the afternoon, collects wildflowers.She hears a truck coming and runs back
through tall dry grass clutching a handful of wildflowers.
She hails the truck and as it
slows down, douses the smouldering fire with the remnants of a blackened billy
of tea, closes her travel journal and packs it and her fountain pen into her
The TRUCK DRIVER, a leathery
man in his 40s, opens the door for BEA. She clambers up and into the passenger
seat, closing the door behind her; smiling her 'thanks' to the driver.
She suddenly remembers that
she has forgotten something, opens the door, gets out and retrieves, from
beside the now dead fire, her bottle of ink.
She climbs back into the
passenger seat with it.The TRUCK DRIVER
looks at the young mud-bespattered woman beside him, clutching a bottle of ink
and wonders what the world is coming to.MUSIC OVER.
34 INT/EXT. COUNTRY ROAD 3. NIGHT
BEA and the TRUCK DRIVER
laugh and talk together as the truck headlights illuminate the road ahead.
35 INT/EXT. COUNTRY ROAD 4. SUNRISE
Bea is curled up asleep in
the cabin of the truck a little after sunrise.The truck is coming to a stop.As
it does so the TRUCK DRIVER nudges BEA, who wakes and looks out the
window.The country is drier still.
Outback NSW.MUSIC OVER.
36 EXT. COUNTRY ROAD 5. SUNRISE
BEA stands at a crossroads as
the truck pulls out and turns left, heading south.She walks a little way down the road heading
west, puts down her dilly bag and looks around. Some distance down the road
there is a Station homestead. MUSIC OVER.
BEA, sitting cross-legged on
the ground in the early morning sun, flattens a wildflower between the pages of
BEA lies on the ground, in
the shade of a tree, writing in her journal.
BEA, a small figure in a vast
dry landscape, watches another truck approach the crossroads.She holds her hand out but the truck turns
right, heading north; stopping a little around the corner.BEA runs to the truck.
Australia.Where are you going?
BEA looking through the
window at the RED-FACED DRIVER and his MATE. She thinks for a moment.
BEAGot room for
RED-FACED DRIVERHop in.
37 INT/EXT. COUNTRY ROAD 6. DAY.
Bea looks excitedly out the
window of the truck as it moves north through the dry landscape, under a
cloudless sky. MUSIC OVER
RED-FACED DRIVERWhatcha wanna
go t'Western Australia for?
thousand miles to pick wildflowers!?
BEA nods. The RED-FACED
DRIVER and his MATE exchange looks.
38 INT/EXT. COUNTRY ROAD 7. DAY
BEA, at the side of the road,
waves goodbye to the RED-FACED DRIVER and his MATE as they drive off, then
makes her way towards a river along the edges of which grow magnificent white
gums. MUSIC OVER.
39 EXT. RIVER. DAY
BEA, naked, stands knee-deep
in water at the edge of the river, pounding her white clothes against a rock to
clean them.A large flock of galahs,
chattering loudly, bursts out of the gums and flies in an arc over the river.BEA looks up - thrilled, enchanted, happy.
BEA, naked still, sits with
her back against a tree overlooking the river, writing in her journal, stopping
for a moment, crossing out a sentence then re-writing it. In the background, in
her 'camp', her white clothes can be seen hanging drying in the trees.
Bea sits on her swag in the
bush, late at night, staring into the glowing embers of her fire; a look of
peace and contentment on her face.MUSIC
40 EXT. COUNTRY TOWN. DAY
A large country pub in a
small coastal town. Several CANE CUTTERS in blue singlets stand drinking on the
verandah. A blue Buick pulls up across the road, outside the office of the
North Coast Clarion.BEA, in her now
clean white outfit, gets out with her dilly bag and swag; makes her way into
the newspaper office. Her arrival does not go unnoticed by the CANE CUTTERS and
a tall angular bushman of about 30 whom we will get to know as NEIL JENKINS.
From across the road NEIL
sees, through the window of the newspaper office, BEA standing by the EDITOR’S
desk reading through the article she has written.He laughs but shakes his head and hands it
back to her.MUSIC OVER.
BEA, a little despondent,
walks out of the newspaper office. She folds her article and puts it in her
pocket as she looks around the town.The
MUSIC OVER fades as NEIL crosses the road, raises his hat and speaks in a slow,
flat, country Australian voice.
BEA smiles and holds out her
NEIL’s face lights up as he
takes BEA’s hand.
heard about you!
NEILMate of mine.
into his car down Sydney way a few months back. Said you were a bit of a
philosopher; that you could talk the leg off an iron pot. Well, what a
coincidence, eh!Can I buy you a drink?
He indicates the pub.
NEIL picks up BEA’s dilly bag
and they make their way into the pub.
41 INT. COUNTRY PUB. DAY
BEA and NEIL sit on stools in
the crowded pub.MIN, the barmaid, walks
up to them.
NEILBlimey.Lemon squash, Min.And a schooner.
Tin. And I grow red bananas.
fellers. About this long...
He holds his hand about
fifteen inches apart. BEA laughs.
would I were a glove upon that hand that I could touch that cheek!"
BEA smiles - enchanted by
this Shakespeare-quoting banana farmer and tin miner.
42 INT. COUNTRY PUB OFFICE. DAY
BEA sits at a desk in a small
office that looks out into the crowded bar, a telephone receiver in her hand;
waiting for the operator to connect her.
MR MILES (angry)Beatrice,
where are you?
MR. MILESYour mother’s
BEA I’m alright
dad, honest...I’ve been having...
MR.MILESI want you to
come home immediately.
MR MILES (firm)No
I’ll come when...
MR MILES (shouting)If
Bea hangs up and hits the
desk angrily with her hand.
43 EXT. COUNTRY PUB. COURTYARD. EVENING.
BEA and NEIL sit at a table
in the courtyard at the back of the pub; midway through a meal.
BEA (petulant)It’s my life
NEILYeah, but I
can see it from their point of view too.If it was me own daughter gadding about the countryside on her own...
NEIL (deadpan)Probably put her across me knee and give her a good hiding.
BEA(laughs)Have to catch me first.
They look at each other for a
NEILSo, where you
headed?After this I mean?
I reckon, then up to Thursday Island.
eh!Lovely spot. You’ve got your fare
then, have you?
BEAWell, I was
hoping to sell an article to the Clarion.
chance there, I don’t think. All they want to read about is sheep dip and who’s
marryin’ who. You want a lend of the fare?
NEILYou’ll pay me
back. I know that.
BEAYes I will. I
child has far to go."
NEILWant to go to
NEIL(calls out to
the Barmaid)Hey Min, you got a room
MIN Course we got
a room! We got eighty.
44 EXT. OUTDOOR CINEMA. TWILIGHT.
BEA, NEIL and a FEW DOZEN
MEN, WOMEN and CHILDREN sit in canvas chairs under an open sky watching a
melodramatic silent movie, accompanied by a jug band. A few men are trying to
separate two dogs fighting down by the screen. BEA and NEIL watch the screen
but their attention is more on each other. BEA leans closer to NEIL.
BEAYou read a
else to do out Romeo way of a night.Haven’t got a missus, so I curl up with a book.
BEA laughs.They both look at the screen for a moment.
NEILYou got a
NEIL nods and looks at the
screen again for a moment.
uh...mind if I put my arm around you?
NEIL puts his arm around
Bea’s shoulder a little awkwardly; self-consciously.BEA smiles and leans closer to him; happy.