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  • Beatrice Keniausyte

Unreal Realities: part 1


-SYNOPSIS-

The script is divided into four parts. Each part analyses the major question of how the perception of reality can be distorted with cinematographic means. After each part the reader will find different coloured pages with the director’s remarks, summarizing the ideas and inspirations that went into writing the script and directing the short film. Director’s remarks are written in a relaxed manner as if it was a casual conversation between the filmmaker, screenwriter and viewer. The short film ‘Unreal Realities’ can be viewed and equally enjoyed without the complimentary publication. However, not only the script but also the director’s remarks let the viewer peek into the deeper and less tangible concepts of the aforementioned theme.


In part one of the script, the viewer is presented with a memory, an artefact from the past. Travel through time and space is possible with the power of memory. The recollection of the memory becomes perception and perception of the image becomes recollection. The memory is transformed in this cycle. The more memories are introduced, the more transformations happen at the same time. Manipulation of the viewer’s perception happens throughout the film with the changes of frames, repetition of the image, repetition of the rhythm and when stories interconnect with each other.


In part two we are forced to question – is reality real? Reality is sculpted of our perception which is shifting every second. One’s identity is not different in this case. It is always changing while only a few solid fragments stay in the same place and/or form.


In part three the repetition is discussed to be a tool to distort the perception of reality. It works contrary to its initial purpose, instead of creating meaning it retracts it and stretches the shot’s timeframe. Another concept examined in part three is embodiment. The shots of facial features shown together conceptualize the embodied mind.


In part four, the term ‘collective creativity’ is examined. The short film ‘Unreal Realities’ is just a catalyst for the ideas to be developed outside of the artist’s mind, in the world inhabited by the viewers. The word ‘viewer’ does not fit in this context but for the lack of a better term, it is used throughout the script. The viewer is considered to be an active participant, equally creating the meaning.


Following these pages, one will find the original script for the film ‘Unreal Realities’ (dir. Beatrice Keniausyte) complimented with director’s remarks.



-PART 1-


A monologue is carried through part 1. Person walks in the shot from the left side, sits on the stool and concentrates to start the monologue.


(NARRATOR 1)


EXTREME CLOSE UPS OF NARRATOR’S 1 FACE.

FEATURES: LIPS, EYES, EARS, NECK. BACKGROUND IS WHITE. CLOSE UPS OF NARRATOR’S HAND ON THE LAP AND LEGS ON THE STOOL.


NARRATOR 1

(SLOW MANNER)


It was cold and heavy, its solitary, mesmerizing crystal was shimmering in the daylight. Embedded in an antique, golden setting, it seemed enchanted, all it took was one glance and you could easily get lost in its captivating beauty.


Its lengthy oval, lilac gem was glittering and reflecting the sunbeams with each and every single feasible color. You could sense the strength pulsing from the crystal.


(EMPHASIS)


It was a gift from the past.


(RELAXED)


The kitchen was terrifyingly cold. Greasy yellow stains on the walls seemed like drawings made by a modernist painter, who expressed his emotions by throwing a huge piece of minced meat into the pan with hot oil splashing on the walls. The smell has grown into this room.


(EMOTIONALLY)


Eew, I hated that smell.


(RELAXED)


Although even this ugly kitchen could not diminish my love for the time spent there. My grandma would wrap me in a blanket and with a hot cup of lemon tea in her hand she told me stories of her life. I vividly remember, as if that was mine, rather than my grandmother’s memories told every evening, how being the youngest child in the family, she sold various clay figurines at a train station. She would sit behind her tiny wooden table and observe the passengers getting in and out of the trains while guessing what their journeys might have been like. With her huge popped eyes she tried to catch passengers’ attention and pressure them into buying the figurines, not because they needed them, just out of pure pity. Even a short glimpse towards her gave hope of a possible customer and a few extra pennies for dinner.


(EXCITED)


Oh, and the stories that passengers would tell! It seemed that she had one in her pocket for every evening for the rest of my life. Or her life, to be precise.


(RELAXED)


However, I have always wondered about this woman, who was part of every single story, neither young nor old, looking straight through the train window and scanning the surroundings. There was always a cardboard, square box in her hand.


NARRATOR 1


Despite how badly I wanted to ask her, what is so precious she has in that box, I couldn’t leave my figurines. And no matter how much I popped my eyes to grab her attention, she would never leave the train.


It belongs to you now - declared my grandma, once she put the cold object in my open hand and closed my fingers.



-END OF PART ONE-

 

DIRECTOR’S REMARKS


I have been writing these remarks ever since I had an idea for the story, up until we finished the final version of the script. Do not be alarmed by the inconsistency of my thoughts as I added paragraphs and parts as layers to explain the depth of the work created.


In part one we create a memory of the ring, an artefact from the past which chases the viewer to the very ending – part four, where all the stories meet. It reminds me of the term ‘crystal image’ (Deleuze, 1989) which is a unit of an actual image and its virtual image, in the concept of time. The actual image represents the present that is launched towards the future, while the virtual image represents the present which falls to the past. This coexistence of present and the past establishes new terms such as perception and recollection which occur at the same moment. By presenting the viewer with this artefact of a ring we mix up the actual image with its virtual image and the perception of the image becomes recollection and vice versa – recollection becomes perception. I will draw a scheme and stick it to this piece of paper, so it will be clear what I mean (figure 1). So the question arises – is the ring even real and existent? Maybe a crystal image is nothing more than a memory. We can go even deeper – what if this memory is fake? The box in the lady’s hands – there’s something there. Or it is supposed to be something there. What if it’s empty? Can we imagine the pure nothingness? French film-maker, theorist and critic Jean Mitry states clearly that this is impossible (Mitry, 2000). That’s why here I hope that the viewer will fill in the void of nothingness with the memory. The memory of the ring, to be precise.


The memory of the past is a gift. It is how we preserve ourselves and create our own identity. The memory is embedded in the smell of different odours in the kitchen, the view of the stains or sound of splashing oil, or even the touch of a fuzzy blanket. According to J. Mitry ‘When one thinks of the chair, one does not visualize an “image-chair” which is retained by memory. One visualizes the “reality-chair”, via the memory of it.’ (Mitry, 2000). Again, at the end of part one, we are playing with the notion of visualization via memory. Grandma is placing the cold object. The viewer assumes it must be a ring. But what was then in the box? It was a ring, surely – the viewer would say. The assumed reality mixes up with the one being told and with the one that’s is already a memory, a viewer’s memory. It becomes nothing other than a distortion, a true mise en abyme.


A similar mix up should happen in editing. In French philosopher’s Jacques Ranciere’s talk at the Centre National de la Photographie, he discussed how meaning is both created and retracted at the same time; the link is ensured and undone in cinema through images, text and sound (Ranciere, 2002). Although we do not specify the gender of the speaker in part one, I have imagined the person to be female. Therefore, I have thought of using a male’s voice and contrasting it with the image of a female. This action would allow us to create a link to the story being told from a female perspective and undo it at the same time with the contrasting sound.


I changed my mind. The mix up of the voices is an awful idea. I will manipulate with an image and with a rhythm. Recently, I have seen this amazing film (dir. Perretta, 2019) titled ‘The Destructors’ (figure 2). The usage of the rhythm blew me away! It created tension and manipulated the viewer's emotions. Manipulation of reality. Manipulation of people. I would like them to question, what has just happened while walking out of the screening. To question the memories we have, to question the reality we live in, the time and space we experience with our bodies and minds.


Shooting the film I am not planning to show the locations. The main centre of attention should be the monologue and dialogue later in the very end. However, I would leave a vivid description of the kitchen. It lets us travel through space and time – from the kitchen in the protagonist’s childhood to the train station of grandmother’s early days to the present of the viewer, wherever that would be.


Lithuanian-American artist Aleksandra Kasuba created tensile fabric structures in her installations (figure 3) which enables us to experience the same journey and lets viewers wonder inside them. We are going to stretch and later compress the time the same way Kasuba does, only in the film form.

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