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Preface: THE HAIKU and SENECA This film is inspired to SENECA’s 'De PROVIDENTIA'.

More precisely, to the following passage:

The Suicide of the Wise Man – from Seneca’s "On Providence" At the end of DE PROVIDENTIA Seneca takes on an antithetical position to that of Christianity on the delicate issue of suicide. "When misfortune becomes unbearable, the wise man may legitimately seek death: God willed it for there to be only one way to come to the world (from the maternal womb), but has left us many ways to take our lives away. Suicide is the ultimate trial for the Wise Man: a liberating event, though still a sacrifice." Seneca - DE PROVIDENTIA
CHAPTER I: ABEL IN THE SKY and GIVEN CIRCUMSTANCES

It all begins with a man alone, sitting in a helicopter watching the clouds going past before him. This is Abel: an elderly man who has decided to put an end to his days by committing suicide, as an extreme form of sacrifice. Abel lives through his decision with extreme calm and peacefulness, for he has come to it conscientiously, through his own free will (“...man cannot decide how to come to the world – it has to be through the maternal womb – but he can decide how to die”. Seneca – De Providentia). Abel has had plenty of time to “prepare” his last day on Earth and wants it to be beautiful, mystical and in harmony with nature’s Creation. He feels fulfilled and has already reached the peace of the Wise Man, who decides to put an end to himself “when misfortune becomes unbearable”. (Seneca – De Providentia). For the occasion he has previously written a letter to his only daughter, who he hasn’t seen or heard from for 15 years. She has always lived with her mother, after her separation from Abel. This is what he writes in his letter to his daughter: “My love, I have loved you as I have never loved anybody else. I’ve decided to put an end to my days by shooting myself on top of a mountain. I’m in peace with myself. I’d like you to

be with me, so we can share together the path that will take me to separation. It will be our gift. I need you. Let’s meet on the plateau, at the landing strip.” This is the girl’s reply to her father: “Father, I have missed you every day. I don’t even know you. I shall be there”. So, she waits for her father at the landing strip in the middle of the plateau.
Long sequences of clouds in the sky, of the mountains, of the man looking out of the window. This is Abel. An elderly, serious, man. Dressed New York-style, with a jacket and trousers. Very long sequence for the opening credits too. CHAPTER II: THE HELICOPTER REACHES THE PLATEAU

The man’s daughter, an eighteen-year-old girl, is there and ready, waiting motionless for her father next to the landing strip in the middle of the mountain plateau. She has replied to Abel’s letter, but she is dazed and a little confused. She is not quite conscious of what she’s experiencing and what she is being asked to do. Her green age does not allow her to live through the present with the necessary focus. Her mother probably knows nothing about all this. This is clearly a situation we would find in Jarmusch, Kaurismäki or Korine, composed of estrangement, of misalignment. The girls is dressed in the Japan-style (a peculiar and eccentric style): she is stooping over her tights shoulders, bending her head slightly. She is wearing a hoodie. She smokes a

whole cigarette, walking around, looking at the sky from time to time and looking down. We film her the whole time. After she has finished her whole cigarette we see a helicopter landing. Once it’s reached the ground, Abel comes out and walks towards the girl. They stare at each other in silence for a long time, with a mind-blowing wind caused by the helicopter. Then they embrace and hold each other tight in the wind without saying a word. The helicopter takes off . We keep filming father and daughter as they embrace. They are happy to see each other, but they don’t know what to say, because they never really knew each other. We foresee a relationship made of silences rather than words. BLACKNESS CHAPTER 3: THE WALK OF THE ROSARY We now find ourselves on a paved road that cuts the plateau. Abel and his daughter walk at a distance from each other. Abel is ahead, while the girl lags behind. Abel walks on, as he prays to God, repeating a HAIL MARY unceasingly. This is The Walk of the Rosary, the pilgrim’s progress towards the holy land. Abel has always been fond of prayer, it relaxes him and helps him concentrate. The day of extreme sacrifice HAS TO BE baptized with an endless repetition of the Rosary. Seneca’s suicide is an offering, a sacrifice, a ritual requiring specific passages. You don’t just kill yourself... you have to offer yourself as a sacrifice, following a ritual. Abel prays for himself as well as for his daughter. The girl is following him from a distance of a few yards. She is relaxed and confused: she is not conscious. She is not required to be conscious. All her father has asked her is to be there, as he feels guilty for not having brought her up and educated her... for not having loved her adequately. The girl, in the company of her unknown father, finally feels happy and peaceful. And she’s back to being the young, shy, dazed girl she once was.

CHAPTER 4: A SWIM IN THE LAKE Abel and his daughter are motionless in the nothingness of nature. They’re not looking at each other, but elsewhere, immersed in their own thoughts. Their relationship, made of silences, begins to take shape. They know they’re both rather strange, they’re aware of being two very peculiar individuals, and they’re experimenting with a space in which to move and get to know each other inside silence. After a while. The girl: Well? Pause. Abel: Zero. The girl: Apart from that, how do you feel? Abel: I’m not complaining. The girl: You feel normal? Abel: I told you, I’m not complaining. A LONG PAUSE. The girl: (shouting at the top of her voice) ABEL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Abel: (peacefully) Yes? Girl: (very serious and sullen, with the tone of a star performer) I’LL GIVE YOU NOTHING MORE TO EAT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Abel: (very relaxed, but amused). Then we’ll die. BLACKNESS. They resume their walk in the nothingness. We follow them. They reach a tiny mountain lake, practically a pond, and they stop and stare at the water for what seems like eternity. She feels the impulse inside of her to do something in front of her father, to do something with her father, to do something for her father. She wants to break the ice in a strong incisive way, an outburst only someone very young can have. Her idea is to bathe naked before her father! A simple but determined idea. A young woman’s idea. She starts undressing very slowly, throwing her clothes on the ground and once she is nude, she goes into the water and bathes. She has a long very calm swim. She tries to be calm, but the water is extremely cold. Abel first looks at her in fascination, then stops looking at her, turning his back towards her. The girl is enjoying being in the water and swimming. Abel starts singing a song, in English, very softly. He sings the whole long song. His daughter comes out of the lake. She is cold and trembling. Abel embraces her for a long time, trying to keep her warm. The cold is making her cry, it’s making her body shake, it’s giving her quivers. They embrace for a long time, as the girl is trembling.

BLACKNESS

CHAPTER 5: DAY FOR NIGHT

We’re doing a fake night with the camera diaphragm. A day for night, known in Italy as “Notte americana”, “American Night, ” a night of the mind. We’re in a wood, with a fire in front of them. Abel has decided to do the one thing that he really likes and really makes him happy: Strumming on the guitar and singing. He does this for as long as he likes, because it makes him feel so good. The girl listens to him for a while, curious about the habits of a father she doesn’t know. She suddenly feels free and sure she can improvise in a new space of freedom. She walks away from the frame for some time (we’re with Abel now), then she walks back into the frame, and after a while Abel stops singing. They remain in silence for a long time, just looking at the fire. Then the girl draws closer to him and kisses him in the mouth. She has just discovered this father of hers is a nice guy and she likes him as he is. She’s made a crucial discovery. Her father is a great guy! BLACKNESS. Girl: What do you want to know?

Abel: Please don’t start again. The girl walks off, bothered. BLACKNESS. Fade-in fade-out images of the girl walking in the wood, playing among the trees, like an elf. As if the wood were full of mysterious creatures, but ones she knows very well, ones she knows how to converse with. CHAPTER 6: THE WALK OF THE ROSARY… HERS. Same scene as CHAPTER 3, but the other way round. She is walking in front, reciting her HAIL MARY with the Rosary, in the manner of an adolescent, while Abel walks behind her, relaxed and amused. She is finally discovering the space of play, of lay with her father... it has never happened to her before in her life. The Kaurismäki-like low-profile girl knew not what it could mean to play at impersonating her father. She is impersonating him, as children would do. Abel is authentically gratified and happy to see her daughter enjoying his company so much. He’s touched inside.

CHAPTER 7: THE CONVERTIBLE Abel and the girl are on the side of the road cutting the plateau: they’re in silence, both lost in their thoughts. After a while a vintage convertible reaches them. It’s driven by an elderly cowboy in a typical hat. A David Lynch cowboy. The car slows down and stops near Abel and the girl. The cowboy looks at them in silence. They let themselves be looked at in silence. After a long while, the cowboy gets out of the car and gives Abel the keys. BLACKNESS Abel and the girl are now in the car, taking a fine panoramic tour, enjoying the views and enjoying the fresh wind on their faces. Classical music is coming out of the car radio. Abel paints curved trajectories, straight or round, which make no real sense, for some long minutes. They’re both enjoying the speed and the vast panoramic views. They’re immersed in the space of free breathing, of oxygen.

CHAPTER 8: THE CHURCH BENCH We’re in front of a small mountain church. Abel and the girl are sitting on a bench opposite this church. They’re silent, absorbed in their thoughts for some interminable moments. Then, when it seems nothing else can happen, an infinite flock of bleating sheep enter the frame, along with their shepherd. They parade in front of them for a long while. The sheep parade finished, we stay for a while on Abel and the girl sitting on their bench. She is smoking a cigarette. We’re in the space of the witness.

CHAPTER 9: THE CLIMB BEGINS We’re in front of a friable rock climb. The girl is already on top, and she rolls down causing a small landslide of earth and rocks. Abel is watching her from below. Once she’s come down, with difficulty, he tries to climb up too, with great effort. Half way up, he rolls down too. Now she’s watching her from below. Once they’re both down, they take an uphill path that was only about 10 meters away from them, leaving the friable rock alone. We follow them as they walk. She shouts to the sky from time to time, listening to its echo. She listens to her shouts with concentration: she’s finding some independence and some loneliness too, even in the company of her father. She’s already grown up somewhat, in this condensation of her life in a single day. BLACKNESS

10° CHAPTER: A HAIKU NIGHT

Night. We’re on top of a mountain, more precisely on the terrace of a high mountain refuge. Above the door there’s a bright neon sign reads “HAIKU”. The terrace is lit up with lots of light bulbs. A local man in his nineties is sitting on the terrace, leaning his chin on his walking stick and with a drink in front of him. His look is happy and dulled by wrinkles. A young Japanese DJ with a small mixer is standing next to him, right under the fluorescent “HAIKU” sign. The Japanese DJ and the old man represent the guards to the next world:

After HAIKU there’s no turning back. Metaphorically it’s like being at the gates of Heaven or Hell. To go beyond HAIKU you need permission from the two guards... who couldn’t be stranger or more different from one another! The DJ, wearing headphones, is playing a Japanese tune, a litany with the voice of a girl, a child, singing. Abel and the girl sit next to the old man and all three sit in silence listening to the Japanese litany to the very end. The litany over, the DJ plays some very dark hard-core electro. The girl is the only one to stand up and start dancing, before the three men who watch her in silence. She dances the full length of the tune. While his daughter is dancing to the Japanese minimal piece of music, Abel indulges in a long monologue, addressed more to himself than to the old man:

ABEL:

[Watching in enchantment her daughter dancing to the minimal Japanese electro track]
Look at her: she’s a flower. She’s got everything: corolla, stalk, stem, legs. A real flower. But [he turns to the old man, addressing only him] all flowers are withered: sooner or later. You know what flowers do sooner or later, don’t you? Ah! You don’t know enough about all that [he pats the old man on the shoulders] , you’re withering too, and anyone would say you know everything! [Enchanted

again, to himself] Saying you know everything is too much: no one ever knows
enough. Take his mother, for instance [he points to his daughter]. She was a Great Mother. We really got along together, in a universal way, her mother and I did!

[To the old man] How do you think she was born? Under a cabbage? But
cabbages wither too and only kids believe in such stories! [Enchanted again,

looking at his daughter hinting at a dance] Only children believe in stories. From the
beginning of the universe. They, who come from the moon. Before coming into this world, they were on the moon. There’s always been a mother, a mother always pops out, whether great or small. And how did her mother end up? And why should she have ended up somehow? In a good or bad state? But why

can’t they free themselves from this habit of believing mothers have to end up in a bad state in stories, these people? [Disgusted tone] These people: they’ve turned life into something terrible, drying up the land, burning their cupules, the fronds, softening the crags... They can’t free themselves from this thing, even if you try really hard. Mothers turn white? Who gives a damn? These are the kinds of stories children don’t feel like listening to. While this music

[transfigured while listening to the Japanese minimal sounds] … This music they do
listen to, children do… This music is a story in itself… [He suddenly turns

towards the old man, as if he were about to shout out E ureka!] And you pick
flowers, if you want them to wither! You’re too old, you are! [AD LIB: he spits at

the old man, but we don’t see any reaction on his part, not even him drying himself]
BLACKNESS

CHAPTER 11 FIREWORKS The girl and Abel are standing in the middle of nothing, setting off fireworks. The girl is screaming and wailing. She then picks up a lit firework tied to a rope and starts swinging it around like a lasso.

It’s as if the HAIKU ritual father and daughter have to go through, linked by am indissoluble thread, were reaching a higher level of consciousness after their sleepless night, spent dancing and drinking in solitude. A new space of growth and maturity. They’re finding that space of strength, of violence and folly that is needed to reach the top, and ultimately the extreme act.

CHAPTER 12: SHE MAKES LOVE TO HIM – SHE BECOMES A WOMAN. After the sleepless night spent at the HAIKU refuge a lot has changed: The lack of inhibition, the dances, the music, the exhaustion... creates the conditions for the day to start under a new light. This morning the girl is no longer the same . She feels different, “emotionally heavier”, more present and focused on what’s really going on. Seeing the highest peak of the mountain getting closer and closer, she has a revelation: “HER BELOVED FATHER IS ABOUT TO LEAVE HER AGAIN. FOREVER THIS TIME”. She is moved and enraged at once. Right now she thoroughly hates her father, who she was starting to love and know. She’s so full of rage and resentment that she would like to convince him not to do it, or she’d rather kill him herself than let him do it. This is what happens: We’re in the middle of a high mountain meadow, in the first light of day, still in semidarkness. It looks as if we’re still in the same place, not far from the ‘HAIKU’ refuge. Abel is a few meters further ahead of her, walking slowly along a path. The girl is walking swiftly behind him. She suddenly starts running, comes up to him and blocks him grabbing him by the arm. He stops and lets her do it... he knows full well how angry she is, and he knows full well HE HAS TO let her do whatever she wants. It’s a delicate moment: she is considering her entire life in a single instant. She starts shouting things at him, and beating him on his chest, punching him. She really giving him a beating, as strong as she can, to release the tension inside her. Her emotions and frustrations are too strong to bear. He lets her do it, sad and touched. The girl, powerless, beats him harder and harder, shouting “DON’T DO IT! I NEED YOU!”, then she bursts into loud tears, so loud that she’s vibrating, she’s jolting with spasms... she’s a hurricane at its climax. She’s beating him and crying and screaming. Then... something happens...: collapsing on his face for an instant, she involuntarily brushes against his lips... and she kisses him. She kisses him softly and he stands still... then she kisses him more and more vehemently, and he kisses her too. He does whatever she asks and wants. Not incest: a primary need of hers, to hold back the father she’s losing! They kiss with incredible passion and vehemence: they’re both experiencing something new. They’re discovering themselves in new roles. They’re traveling in another age. And she’s the one who does everything: she undresses, she undresses him and then makes love to him. He follows her. In this new turn of growth, she’s the woman and she leads.

CHAPTER 13: THE GUN Day. We’re in the middle of a high mountain nothingness: calmly and silently, with a smile hidden by wrinkles, the old man we met in the previous scene gives Abel a gun. Abel takes it and thanks him, his daughter by his side. Abel sticks the gun in the back of his trousers. They say goodbye and start walking up a small mountain road. We follow them. The girl looks happy, abstracted and absorbed in herself, but happy. She’s skipping around like a happy child with her daddy and she’s singing: Girl: (singing)

Ring-a-round a rosie, A pocket full of posies, Ashes! Ashes! We all fall down.
PAUSE

Ring-a-round a rosie, Fishes in the water, Fishes in the sea. We all jump up With a one-two-three!
PAUSE

Ring-a-round a rosie, why am I in the world? I slave away without a word! When I’ve had enough, I leave town and throw myself down.
BLACKNESS Abel and the girl are now walking on the mountain (or a mountain road) with a frightening slope. Abel is finding it more than difficult to keep walking. He stops from time to time to get his breath back.

CHAPTER 14: POLAROID AND SUICIDE at “THE PANORAMIC SITE”

Abel and the girl reach the mountain peak, where they find a sign that reads “PANORAMIC SITE”. It’s a breath-taking view. They stop and look at the sight in silence for a long while. They look for an incredibly long time. BLACKNESS.

Same place. Same scene. Abel and the girl are exactly where we left them: staring at the view. After a while two tourists walk by and stop next to them to enjoy the view too. The woman asks the girl if she could take a picture of them with their Polaroid. The girl accepts and is set to take the snapshot. Abel is left alone and watches. After the photo, the tourists ask Abel to join them for a second snapshot portraying the three of them. At first Abel refuses, but after a while he accepts. The girl takes another snapshot of the tourists and her father. The tourists hand them the group Polaroid and walk away. BLACKNESS. Same place. Same scene. Only one minute has gone by. Abel and the girl are both very serious as they look at the mountains in front of them. They know the time has come … Abel makes only a few movements. But clear-cut, determined ones. He turns towards her. He looks at her. He hugs her. He says to her: “I’ve loved you like I’ve loved no one before”. He loosens his embrace. He takes the gun out from the back of his trousers and takes a few steps. Once he’s about ten meters away from her he stops, puts the gun to his head and says: Abel: “Ring-a-round a rosie, why am I in the world? I slave away without a word! When I’ve had enough, I leave town and throw myself down.. GOODBYE MY LOVE!”. And he shoots himself. The girl is motionless, staring at the “panoramic site”.

CHAPTER 15: RETURN TO THE PLATEAU We see the girl walking down mountain roads and paths, with several cuts, at every cut she sings a different version of RING-A-ROUND A ROSIE (8 versions in all). Eight scenes, eight clear cuts. First Version Ring-a-round a rosie, A pocket full of posies, Ashes! Ashes! We all fall down. Second Version Ring-a-round a rosie, Fishes in the water, Fishes in the sea. We all jump up With a one-two-three! Third Version Ring-a-round a rosie, why am I in the world? I slave away without a word! When I’ve had enough, I leave town and throw myself down. Fourth Version Ring, a ring o' roses, A pocket full o' posies; Up-stairs and down-stairs, In my lady's chamber-Husher! Husher! Cuckoo!

Fifth version Duzzy, duzzy gander, Sugar, milk, and candy; Hatch-u, hatch-u, all fall down together.. At this point the girl is walking down the road we saw at the beginning of the film, the one leading to the helicopter landing strip.

Sixth Version Windy, windy weather, Cold and frosty weather, When the wind blows, We all blow together. I saw Peter! When did you meet him? Merrily, cheerily, All fall down.. Seventh Version Here we go round by ring, by ring, As ladies do in Yorkshire; A curtsey here, a curtsey there, A curtsey to the ground, sir! The girl has reached the precise spot where Abel was waiting at the beginning of the film. She’s stopped, she’s not walking anymore.

Eight Version: Ring, a ring a row-o, See the children go-o, Sit below the goose-berry bush; Hark! they all cry Hush! hush! hush! Sitty down, sit down. Duzzy, duzzy gander, Sugar, milk, and candy; Hatch-u, hatch-u, all fall down together. The girls throws herself down on the ground, exhausted. BLACKNESS.

CHAPTER 16: THE GIRL IN THE SKY The helicopter is in the sky ready to land. The girl waits for it. The helicopter lands and she gets in. The helicopter takes off. BLACKNESS. The girl is in the helicopter looking at the mountains from the window. End credits over this image.

END OF FILM. © 2012 – SHOOTING HOPE PRODUCTIONS SRL