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.
screenplay! The Screen Australia Board has decreed that neither THURSDAY’S
CHILD (co-written with Bob Ellis), nor any other screenplay of mine, can be
read or assessed by Screen Australia staff. This month, the SA Board voted to
provide script development money to Goalpost Pictures – a director of which,
Rosemary Blight, is a member of the SA Board. Next month, Martha Coleman, in
charge of Script Development at Screen Australia, will join Goalpost Pictures.
1EXT. BEACHCOTTAGE – PALMBEACH. DAY. 1908
BEA MILES, a fair-haired
five year old girl in a white dress, plays happily on a rock amidst tall grass
and a profusion of wildflowers in a lush overgrown garden. Beside her is a hat
full of flowers she has picked and in front of her a brightly coloured
music-box – around which she is arranging a circle of wildflowers.
wooden frame of an old swing and the gum trees at the lower end of the garden,
Pittwater Bay can be seen, sparkling silver in the late afternoon light.
With great care
and precision, Bea takes one last flower from the hat and completes the
circle.She becomes quite serious now,
placing both hands on the music box, tilting her face up into the sun, closing
her eyes and whispering softly to herself:
I wish…I wish…I
The sanctity of
her private ritual is broken by the sound of her father calling out to her.
2 INT/EXT. BEA'S CAVE. DAWN.
BEA MILES, a 60 year old
‘bag lady’ now, awakens with a start in a cave at the mouth of a huge
After a moment’s
disorientation she realizes that she has been dreaming – the changing
impression on her face revealing the complex feelings the dream has induced in
As she sits up
in her ‘swag’ – a rumpled assortment of old grey army blankets – BEA grimaces:
her arthritis is bad this cold winter’s morning.
The cave is
Bea’s ‘home’.A wooden packing case
serves as a table.On it are jars of tea
and sugar, a loaf of bread, a newspaper, some books and a vase with a bunch of
wilting flowers in it.
Close to her
swag are the smoldering embers of last night’s fire; on which sits a blackened
billy.Leaning up against the rear wall
of the cave is a painted wooden sandwich board placard that reads:
SHAKESPEARIAN RECITALS, 6d, 1/-, 1/6.RATIONAL CONVERSATIONS ON ANY TOPIC.Another box, turned on its side, serves as a makeshift bookshelf.In it are a dozen or so books.
her memories, BEA looks out through the mouth of the cave at the mist
enshrouded park on the foreshore of Sydney Harbour. Her eyes sparkle in her
lined old face.
3 EXT/INT. CITY STREET. DAY.
OPENING CREDIT SEQUENCE BEGINS. MUSIC OVER.
BEA, wearing a
thick brown army coat over a floral print dress, a stained sun-visor and with
her SHAKESPEARIAN RECITALS sign around her neck, hides behind a red postal box
at a busy inner-city intersection.People around her react with frowns, grins and amusement.A little girl looks at her with amazement.
When the lights
change and the traffic stops, BEA runs as fast as her arthritic legs will
allow, in the direction of a taxi.The
taxi driver (whom we will later recognize as SYLVIE), notices BEA’s approach too late and is in the process of
trying to lock the front-side passenger door when BEA opens it and drops into
the seat beside her; greeting her cheerily.
knows BEA well but would prefer not to have her in her cab right now;
indicating the respectably dressed husband and wife in the back seat.Bea turns and smiles at the shocked couple,
ignoring Sylvie’s angry scowl.
4 EXT. GENERAL POST OFFICE. DAY.
Bea approaches a
news stand in front of the large brown columns outside the General Post office
and buys a newspaper from the proprietor.As she scans the headlines she makes her way further down the road to
where a thin, leather-skinned old lady - MOLLY
- is tending her flower stand.BEA and
MOLLY greet each other warmly: old friends.As they chat, BEA picks out the bunch of flowers she wants and shakes
the last of her money from a small leather pouch, handing it to MOLLY.MOLLY won’t take it.BEA insists.MOLLY shakes her head.
5 EXT. MITCHELL LIBRARY.
BEA, standing on
the sandstone colonnade at the Mitchell Library, recites animatedly to a small
group university students.Most are
impressed - especially the young women - but there are a couple of young men
who make no secret of the fact that they think BEA is crazy.Carried away by her performance, BEA is
oblivious to her audience’s response.She finishes her recital to mixed applause and mocking laughter.A young pimply-faced smart alec hands BEA a
shilling and makes a joke at her expense.Several of the students laugh.BEA looks directly into the young man’s eyes and with a few carefully
chosen words puts him in his place; causing him to blush and eliciting
uproarious laughter from the crowd.
6 INT/EXT. TRAM. CITY STREET.
BEA sits on a
crowded tram playing a game with an enchanted three year old girl who stands
between her outstretched legs and looks at her with awe.The girl’s mother, sitting adjacent, smiles a
little nervously.The other passengers
look on: amused.BEA is totally absorbed
in the game.Her eyes sparkle and her
old face is broken by a warm radiant smile.She taps the girl's forehead - ‘Knock at the door’.The girl laughs.She pulls the girl’s ears - ‘Ring the bell…’
As the game
continues, a blue-uniformed TRANSPORT
INSPECTOR can be seen moving down the aisle; checking tickets.Behind him is a somewhat nervous and
apprehensive TRAM CONDUCTOR.The TRANSPORT INSPECTOR stands close to BEA,
hands on hips, and demands her ticket.BEA, clearly annoyed by this interruption, refuses to acknowledge his
presence.When he becomes more insistent
she turns to him angrily and lets him know, in no uncertain terms, that she has
not got one and has no intention of buying one.
INSPECTOR pulls the cord and the tram jolts to a standstill.He makes it quite clear that Bea should
either pay her fare or get off.BEA
folds her arms, shakes her head and looks out the window.Everyone on the tram - especially the TRAM
CONDUCTOR - is amused by the officious TRANSPORT INSPECTOR’s inability to get
BEA to buy a ticket.The angrier he gets
the more studiously does BEA ignore him; taking her tobacco pouch calmly from
the dilly bag that hangs from her shoulder and beginning to roll herself a
7INT. COURT OF PETTY SESSIONS. DAY.
The MAGISTRATE, with BEA’s fat file in
front of him, looks over the top of his spectacles to where BEA sits playing
Patience with a pack of worn cards at the table reserved for legal counsel,
obviously bored by the proceedings.
INSPECTOR, who has just finished giving evidence, stands in the witness
I seem to recall, Miss Miles, that
you promisedlast week to pay your
fares for the next month?
Yes, Wally, but that was for
buses; not trams.
court.The MAGISTRATE shakes his head.
Fined five pounds.In default, five days hard labour.
Time to pay, Wally. please?
you give me an understanding not to offendagain for at least a month.
I can only try, sir.But success is in the lap ofthe gods.
That includes taxis, too. And any
other form of transport known to man.
Miss Miles, I
should point out to you that this is your 199th conviction for traffic related
offences. I hope I will not have to preside over your 200th.
8 INT. BEA'S CAVE. NIGHT.
BEAlies in her swag beside the fire in her cave
on a rainy winter’s night; propped up on one elbow, reading GULLIVER’S
TRAVELS.She wears a tin miner’s hat
with a flashlight attached its beam illuminating her book. Beside her, a
steaming hot cup of tea and nearby, on her packing case table, a transistor
radio playing Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. The music brings back memories. BEA
finds it difficult to concentrate on her book. She looks out into the night
rain; absorbed by her private thoughts.
9 INT. HOSPITAL ROOM. AFTERNOON.
BEA walks into a
small intensive care ward in a hospital and over to the bed on which MOLLY lies
unconscious.She removes her
SHAKESPEARIAN RECITALS sign, places it against the wall, and pulls up a
chair.She sits and looks with fondness
at the sallow-cheeked face of her old friend; reaching out to push some wisps
of white hair back from MOLLY’s face.
It is night-time
now.BEA sits beside MOLLY; lost in her
own thoughts.MOLLY opens her eyes.She recognises BEA and the faintest
suggestion of a smile appears on her face.
Hello Moll. You’re still aloft.
Still with us.
It’s bad this
time, isn’t it? (BEA NODS) I’m worried about one thing, Bea. Probably doesn’t
matter. Though I think it matters. I’m worried I was wrong.
You could have been.
He was a good man, Bea.And it’s too late.
No matter, Moll.It’s all in the past.
It was just a
second ago and I was a girl.And he came
in the front door, so…tall he almost filled up the door.
stir BEA’s own memories.
And I looked up. (Pause) He didn’t
mean it Bea. Not the way things
Things change don’t they. Quick as
Hold my hand.
MOLLY’s hand and holds it between her own.
We’ve had a good innings. We’ve
had good mates.
I don’t like it Bea.I’m scared.
Hushabye, don’t you cry, Go to sleep my little baby When you wake you shall have All the pretty little horses
10 EXT. BEACH COTTAGE - PALM BEACH. DAY. 1908
YOUNG BEA (5
years old) sits between her father’s MR.
MILES' legs in amongst the tall grass and wildflowers; her head resting
against her chest and her hands on his knees. A tinkling rendition of All The
Pretty Little Horses emanates from the music box in front of them - its lid now
open. Old Bea’s soft singing mingles with the music box music then fades...
Pintoes and bays, dapples and
grays All the pretty little horses
MR MILES, a
handsome man in his mid-thirties, takes a distinctive red wildflower from the
hat beside them and holds it in front of his daughter.
And this one?
BEA thinks for a
BEA turns her
head and looks up at her father proudly.MR.MILES kisses her on the forehead and picks up a blue flower.BEA looks at it; a slightly impish smile
appearing on her face.
It’s a... It’s a... It’s a...
It’s a what?
A blue flower.
BEA bursts out
laughing. MR.MILES hugs her tight and laughs also.
MRS MILES, in
her early 30s, wearing an apron over a floral print dress, stands on the
verandah of the green wooden beach cottage, watching her husband and daughter
laugh together in the garden; a look of contentment on her face.Beside her is a table covered with a variety of
freshly picked wildflowers that MR.MILES has been pressing and mounting in a
leather-bound book.Behind her, in the
house, her TWO DAUGHTERS are playing with new toys in front of a Christmas
MILES (calling out)
MR. MILES waves
his arm in acknowledgment but does not turn.MRS. MILES calls to her two sons who are playing cricket in another part
of the garden.
Boys...wash your hands now... It’s
The tune on the
music box finishes; BEA closes the lid.
What did you
It’s a secret.
You can tell me.
BEA shakes her
head. MR. MILES hugs BEA tight - playful; insistent.
Daddy, can I have
BEA runs in the
direction of the swing, disturbing two butterflies that she then chases through
the long grass; squealing happily.
MR. MILES gets
up and follows her.In the background,
close to the cottage, MRS. MILES and GRANDMA
ELLIE (Mr.Miles' mother), arrange a sumptuous Christmas lunch on a table in
amongst the trees.
BEA has stopped
and stands transfixed, watching the two butterflies that have alighted on a
branch and are now mating.She calls
excitedly to her father.
catches up, kneels beside her; his face close to hers.
What are they
Mating, darling...to make babies.
BEA thinks hard
for a moment.
Why do they want
to make babies?
If they didn’t,
there’d be no more butterflies after they died.
Oh! Where do they go when they
Nowhere; they just die.
Where do people go when they die?
Nowhere, darling. They just die
BEA is puzzled
and a little upset by this.
watches BEA intently as she ponders the implications of what her father has
just told her.
Come on, sweetheart.Lunch.
He sweeps her
into her arms.BEA wrestles free.
A swing first.
The rest of the
family had sat down to lunch.MRS MILES
William!Lunch is on the table.
MILES (off screen)
Be there in a minute.
MRS. MILES is a
little annoyed; Bea's four brothers and sisters resentful at having to wait.
elatedly as MR. MILES pushes her higher and higher on the swing.
infected by BEA’s excitement, pushes her higher, GRANDMA ELLIE is annoyed.
MR. MILES seems
not to hear. On BEA’s ecstatic laughing face as she swings up into the sky:
11 EXT. BEACH COTTAGE. DAY.
NINE YEARS LATER
years old now, laughs as MR. MILES pushes her on the swing; her dress billowing
out and exposing her naked thighs as she swings towards him.
watches from the verandah; vaguely embarrassed.MR. MILES gives BEA one final exhausted push and staggers back
She lets go of
the swing and flies through the air; landing in front of her father, stumbling
and crashing into him.They fall in a
tangle of arms and legs in the long grass.
You’re getting old.
And you’re getting fat.
BEA kisses her
father impulsively on the cheek.
I am not.
suddenly aware that he and BEA are lying in each other’s arms like lovers,
feels a little uncomfortable.He rolls
out from underneath her.
Bet this old man can beat you to
Bet he can’t.
MRS. MILES looks
12 INT. PUBLIC HALL. NIGHT. 1917
MR. MILES stands
in front of a banner stretched across the stage that reads: COMPULSORY
DEPORTATION OF OUR MANHOOD MEANS RACE SUICIDE.SAY ‘NO’ TO CONSCRIPTION. He is trying to make himself heard above the
rowdy crowd.There are some soldiers in
uniform present, a few policemen and as many hecklers as supporters.BEA, aged 14, sits in the front row; proud of
censorship the Australian government and the gutter press are whipping you into
a hysteria which renders you all liable to vote a small minority of our sons to
die in a war declared by a British Parliament in which we have no voice.
WOMAN, carrying what looks like a pillow, moves up the stairs leading onto the
stage.As she approaches MR. MILES she
empties the contents of the pillow all over him.Thousands of white feathers swirl around his
head.The noise and violence from the
audience increases as policemen drag the woman off stage.
feathers floating around his head, MR. MILES continues to shout above the
This is not merely a political
issue; it is a moral issue...
13 INT. KITCHEN/DINING ROOM. EVENING.
finishes carving and serving a roast as GRANDMA ELLIE carries plates into the
adjoining dining room.Through the
window, MR. MILES, in a business suit and carrying a briefcase walks from his
car to the back door, his arm around BEA’s shoulder, with Bea's younger sister CONNIE walking alongside.Both girls, in their school uniforms, talk
over the top of each other.
She was looking for trouble...I was not. Pearl said….
was not. Liar...
They reach the
back door now. It becomes apparent that BEA has a black eye.MR.MILES, in good spirits, is rather proud of
BEA’s war wounds - which annoys CONNIE (and MRS. MILES) all the more.
One at a time... one at a
time...sorry I'm latedarling...
He puts his arm
around MRS MILES’ waist; kisses her on the cheek.She does not respond.
All I said was
the boys can go to the war if they want to but they shouldn’t be made to and she called me a traitor
You can hardly blame her... her
Will you two stop...
Her brother was killed a few weeks
I’m still entitled to express my
young lady, it’s best to keep what you think to yourself.
No, just be more discreet.
who has been carrying plates into the dining room throughout the scene,
attempts to defuse the situation.
Come on everyone...stop shouting
As they move
into the dining room.
I’m sick of being called Little Miss Bosch
and a traitor just because...
Sticks and stones will break your
The two Miles
boys appear and take their seats - greeting their father perfunctorily but
the whole family must live with the reputation that each member...
Damn the family
reputation. If one can’t express a view that is currently unpopular...
It’s dangerous to encourage one so
neither encourage nor discourage, mother.Beatrice is free to choose for herself what she wants to believe and how
she wants to behave...pass the salt please John.
BEA looks at her
father for a moment, a wicked glint in her eye.She pushes her chair back, gets up and walks to the piano on the other
side of the room.
BEA ignores him.
Shesits at the piano and plays the
first few bars of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.MR MILES is furious.All eyes
alternate between him and BEA.
BEA turns to him
with a wicked smile.
I’ve chosen to play the piano.
MR. MILES, hoist
on the petards of his own logic, is not sure, for a moment, how to react.
can’t allow …
playing and calmly returns to the table.There is a long moment of tense silence.
Do you mother?Keep what you think to yourself?
shocked by the question and unable to answer it, looks to MR. MILES to take
control.He remains silent.
Do you think we should have
MRS. MILES would
prefer not to answer.
Do you, darling?
MR. MILES is
shocked by this but does his best to cover it.There is an awful, strained, silence.
14 EXT. SYDNEY UNIVERSITY. DAY.
BEA, a young
woman now, (17 years old) wanders through the grounds of Sydney University,
amidst the many stalls inviting new students to join the DRAMA SOCIETY, the
ROWING CLUB, the DEBATING CLUB etc.It
is Orientation week - the beginning of the University year.Amidst the crowd of university students,
dressed in the fashions of the day, BEA’s white blouse, skirt and tennis shoes
appear quite eccentric.Her excitement
at being at University is apparent.
15 INT. LECTURE THEATRE. DAY.
BEA sits in a
lecture theatre with several dozen other students - most of them men.Behind the black-robed PROFESSOR hangs a biological chart of the 'Tree of Life'.
...So, in a
given environment, members of the same species compete for survival...
BEA puts her
...And it is
those best adapted to the environment that have the best chance for survival.
If Darwin is
right and we’ve descended from apes and apes are animals, then we’re all
animals too, aren’t we?
Some of us more than others.
laugh; BEA smiles.
From a biological point of view,
Then does it
follow that his theories of natural selection apply to man also?
finding the question interesting, turns to the ‘Tree of Life’ chart, pointing
first of all to the top of it.
of life in the planet, roughly five...six hundred million years ago...
His finger moves
past the various colored blocks on the chart to the thin section at the bottom
marked 'Homo Sapiens'.
Then it must
follow that charity is contrary to the laws of nature.
looks a little puzzled and there is some murmuring amongst the students.
Is that a
question or a statement?
selection dictates that the strong survive and the weak die off.
charity, which we hold to be a virtue, involves keeping alive those who would,
in nature, simply die off...the weak...the cripple...the insane...
That is our
Christian duty...but I fail to understand what all this has to do with
I’m trying to
reconcile the fact that all men are born equal, or at least we believe this to
be the case, with the fact that in nature there is no equality at all. The
strong survive; the weak die off.
ethical question Miles but one I would have thought more appropriately directed
at your philosophy professor.
But if two professors contradict
This is biology class, NOT a
Yes sir, but...
Miles! Now with your kind permission, I will proceed.
confused and upset by the PROFESSOR’s attitude.
16 INT. MR. MILES' OFFICE. DAY.
BEA paces up and
down her fathers’ ornately furnished wood-paneled office; frustrated and
angry.MR. MILES sits on the edge of a
large shiny wooden desk.
I’d be happier teaching children.
That would be a waste of a
It’ll be a second class mind by
the time I finish university.
Darling! Please! Stick it out. For
As he speaks,
BEA begins to feel dizzy; the colour draining from her face.
Three years will go by like
MR. MILES clicks
From BEA’s point
of view, the image of her father moving towards her becomes blurred and the
sound of his voice distorted.
And then you’ll be free to do what
returns to normal: MR. MILES standing in front of her with his hands on her
shoulders.She moves away from him,
puzzled by this sudden bout of dizziness.
Are you alright?
17 INT. BEA'S BEDROOM. DAY.
BEA, in a pair
of men's shorts, an open-necked men's shirt and with a green scarf around her
waist, looks at herself in the mirror of her untidy bedroom.She decides against the green scarf, removing
it and hurriedly putting on a red one.As she races around her room picking up books and papers and stuffing
then into her satchel, MRS. MILES appears in the doorway.
Beatrice! You can’t go to
university looking like that!
And you’re not to leave the house till you’ve tidied your room...
BEA kisses her
mother as she dashes out of the room.
No time now.I’ll do it tonight. Promise...
gone.MRS. MILES is annoyed, upset;
18 INT/EXT. CITY STREET.TRAM. DAY.
BEA rushes down
the footpath to catch a tram that is stopped in the middle of the road. The
tram starts to move off. BEA stops running for a moment, annoyed at having
missed it and then, on an impulse, starts running again, racing out into the
traffic, dodging a car that almost hits her and leaping onto the running board
of the tram that is moving quite fast now. The passengers stare at her in
amazement. BEA feels excited; exhilarated. Suddenly she feels dizzy; as if she
might faint. She sits down. Her vision blurs.From her POV the world slips out of focus. The sound of the tram’s
wheels on the track become amplified out of all proportion. For a moment the
world comes back into focus. BEA sees the passengers staring at her. Her face
is white now and her brow moist with perspiration. She closed her eyes and sits
still for a moment before falling over sideways and onto the floor of the tram.
19 INT. HOSPITAL ROOM. DAY.
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
clip-board, 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.
A 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
I 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
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.
Am I going to
MILES (a little too quickly)
I don’t care.
You must care.
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.
MILES (savouring the word)
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 memory.
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.
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
He kisses her on
the forehead; she barely responds.
I’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.
Aren’t you going
to open it?
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
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
BEA makes no
Bea, it’s Doctor James.
BEA does not
respond.MR. MILES and DR. JAMES
exchange knowing, concerned looks.
cured. The disease is gone. There’s nothing to worry about.
BEA takes no
notice of her visitors.
nonsense has to stop!
DOCTOR JAMES (paternalistic)
I’ve been thinking a lot about
What have you been thinking about
No response from
BEA.The men exchange glances.
(still staring ahead)
Life just keeps
evolving, forever. Millions of years to go. There’s no end, no goal. What’s the
ladies don’t have to concern themselves about such things.
I can’t help the way I think.
Leave 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.
morning.Bea’s room is empty and the
window open; the curtains blowing in a light breeze.MRS. MILES stands in the doorway; worried.
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,
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.
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 disheveled 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
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
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 the window.
Sorry! No room.
BEA inspects the
interior and the exterior of the car hastily.
Cripes, plenty of
room out here!
She hands her
dilly bag through the window to the startled wife.
Thanks. I’m Bea...
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 are amazed.
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; looking 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
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
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 smoldering fire with the remnants of a
blackened billy of tea, closes her travel journal and packs it and her fountain
pen into her dilly bag.
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.
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. MUSIC OVER.
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,
sho 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
cross-roads 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.
cross-legged on the ground in the early morning sun, flattens a wildflower
between the pages of a book.
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
cross-roads.She holds her hand out but
the truck turns right, heading north; stopping a little around the corner.BEA runs to the truck.
Western Australia.Where are you going?
through the window at the RED-FACED
DRIVER and his MATE. She thinks
for a moment.