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The Postcard The Postcard
by Richard Stanford
2011-11-27 10:14:03
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Chiaroscuro. Silvery moonlight dapples through motionless lace curtains, the only illumination in the dark, dead room. The door opens slowly, revealing a BOY, 6 years old, wide, dark eyes, fearful yet carrying on through with the opening of the door. He is alone and brave enough to enter this room with reverence, tentative, the floor creaking naturally. He wears a T-shirt, jeans, running shoes.

The dappled moonlight brings the Boy to a three-panel mirror and a dresser scattered with bottles of sparkling perfume, combs and brushes from another era. Dresses, too, hanging, long cascading fabrics from another century, here in black-and-white. The Boy’s eyes are transfixed, now upon a silk scarf draped over a chair. The Boy slowly reaches for it, stops, pulls back.

The Boy turns to two framed sepia-tone photographs on the wall. The moonlight only reveals faint outlines of human forms. But the Boy knows - the Boy knows. He turns, runs his hands through the dresses, setting free the dust into the still air. He goes to the door and slowly begins to close it then stops. He hears something. He turns back. The lace curtains drift in the silver light. The Boy backs his way out and closes the door.

DISSOLVE TO:
EXT. SCHOOL BUILDING - DAY (1900)

P.O.V: The viewfinder of a large-format camera.

The world is upside-down, swaying back-and-forth, from cloudy sky to leafless trees.

The sound of GRUNTING, a human straining under the effort. The swaying finally stops, centering on the upside-down image of a building. The focus moves-in-and-out - hazy, clear, hazy, clear.

Finally in crisp focus we see it: a very dull, ordinary, small two-storey building of weathered brick and mortar with Filmer School in large letters over the portico. An American flag flutters upside-down in a lower corner.

EXT. SCHOOL BUILDING - DAY - CONTINUOUS
A window slides open on the second floor, framing a young student EMMA, who is staring straight back at the camera. She is 18, proud and dignified with sharp eyes and long reddishgold hair. She smiles and waves to the camera. From under the black cloak which covers the camera a hand emerges and waves back.

Emma continues to watch, fascinated. MARGARET, her fraternal twin sister joins her at the window. Margaret is the same age and stature as her twin sister. But they do not look alike at all, their dress and hair the opposite of one another.

INT. SCHOOL CLASSROOM - DAY - CONTINUOUS
There are a few other female students in the classroom, quietly chatting while awaiting the arrival of the teacher. From the window, Emma and Margaret continue watching the bizarre scene outside: the camera and the legs of the tripod poke out from under the black cloak and a pair of feet dance with the camera.

MARGARET
It looks like a cyclops.

Suddenly BEA bursts into the classroom with a flourish. Unlike her fellow students, Bea is dressed in bright colours, a blue silk scarf wrapped around her neck, befitting her brash and daring nature.

EMMA
Just think...a hundred years from now people will look at the picture and see how we lived.

Bea joins Emma and Margaret at the window.

BEA
They will not care less about this stupid little school and this stupid little town.

Bea leans out the window.

2.
BEA (CONT’D)
Mr. Branch! It would be faster if you made a drawing.

MARGARET
Oh Bea..

Bea takes Margaret’s hand.

BEA
This is beyond boring.

Bea leads Margaret back to their desks leaving Emma staring out the window. Emma looks back to Bea, gazing with eyes damp with admiration and appetite. Emma looks down to the black-hooded form of the camera, now still.

The TEACHER enters the classroom. The students settle down, except for Bea who keeps on chattering.

TEACHER
Emma, to your desk, please.

Emma does not move.

EXT. FILMER SCHOOL - DAY

From under the black cloak emerges the photographer, HENRY BRANCH. He looks to the clouds obscuring the sun, his long hair blowing in the wind, his eyes scanning the barren landscape. He turns the aperture setting on the lens. He raises the shutter release cable, takes one last look at the sky...

TEACHER (O.S.)
Emma, come now!

Branch silently mouths: 1..2..3...

P.O.V.: The Viewfinder of the Camera: The upside-down image of the school in sharp focus. In the second floor window is the faint image of Emma’s white lace blouse.

A METALLIC CLICK and the viewfinder goes BLACK.
CUT TO:

3.
EXT. GRASSY PLAYGROUND, FILMER SCHOOL - DAY

June. Hot and dusty. A spirited game of sandlot baseball. Only the FEMALE STUDENTS are playing, their skirts hitched up to their knees. They still fall flat on their faces but they are having a great time doing it.

BEA pitches fast and hard. A STUDENT swings and smacks the ball to the outfield. This is early baseball and they are making up the rules as they go along, switching positions, playing where they want to play.

MARGARET at the plate. She hits Bea’s first pitch, triumphantly running, falling flat into the grass, getting up and running it out to second. The STUDENTS are going nuts - cheering, shouting, laughing and laughing.

BEA to pitch to EMMA, shakes her head and fires one in. EMMA smacks it to centre. They’re hitting everything and BEA could
not care less.

BEA goes after the ball and runs headlong into EMMA. They roll together in the grass, EMMA gets up and runs it out. BEA is laughing so hard she can’t get up. Margaret comes in late, sliding into homeplate, the ball not even close. They all CHEER.

To read the whole script download the book THE POSTCARD HERE!


    
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