THE SEASON OF MISTS
Script by
Anna Tchernakova and Evgenia Tirdatova
Based on an original idea by Anna Tchernakova
© 2006

This work has been registered with:
Writers Guild of America, West
REGISTRATION # 1155830


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                 EXT. FIELDS NEAR A SMALL ENGLISH VILLAGE - DAY

                 A green, foggy English countryside with gentle hills
                 and a valley. An imposing disused viaduct crosses the
                 valley from left to right, stepping over a road that
                 leads to an older village whose church steeple and
                 roofs loom behind the hills. A lonely female figure is
                 walking along the viaduct.

                 It's MARINA. She is around forty, has a soft, Slavic
                 face. She is dressed in a coat and carries a purse.

                 She steps over a rail and stops. The rails are rusty
                 but have dark smudges of diesel suggesting that the
                 track is still used occasionally.

                 Marina looks ahead, then moves her eyes to the fields
                 below. The height frightens her.

                                         MARINA
                                (in Russian)
                           Oh my God!

                 She stumbles, regains her balance and steps away from
                 the abyss.



                 EXT. LONDON, CAFé NEAR OXFORD STREET

                 Autumn. A lively narrow street in central London with a
                 row of small cafes. Despite the cold weather, people
                 sit at the tables outside. The only tree, surrounded by
                 an impeccable grey pavement, is silently shedding its
                 leaves. One leaf lands on a table, narrowly missing a
                 plate with the left-overs of lunch.

                 DASHA, Marina's teenage daughter, in that transitional
                 state when each limb grows at a different mismatched
                 speed, mindlessly picks up the leaf. Dasha is visibly
                 bored and during the following scene she is slowly
                 finishing her pink-coloured smoothie, while at the same
                 time constantly texting from her mobile.

                 Marina doesn't notice the leaf and looks across the
                 table at VALYA, an energetic, cheerful plump woman in
                 an outfit which is expensive, but a bit too loud.

                                         MARINA
                                (in Russian,
                                 smiling)
                           You know, I wouldn't have
                           recognized you in the crowd! The
                           haircut - and
                                (she makes a
                                 gesture, looking
                                 for the word)
                           the dress - and you've lost
                           weight!

                                         VALYA
                                (in Russian,
                                 flattered)
                           Oh never mind. You know, Dasha
                           has grown so! She looks exactly
                           like her…

                 Valya stops herself and takes a sip of coffee. Changing
                 the subject, she opens her purse and digs out a book
                 with a bright shiny cover. She gives the book to
                 Marina.

                 Marina opens it, smiles at the dedication hand-written
                 on the first page, leafs through a few pages and turns
                 the book around to read the blurb.

                                         MARINA
                                (surprised)
                           Thirteenth novel?!

                                         VALYA
                           What do you think? Two or three
                           a year, my publishers won't let
                           me stop... That's what's called
                           'I happened to be in the right
                           place at the right time'.
                                (changing her tone)
                           And what about you?

                                         MARINA
                                (evasively)
                           I write for a small magazine in
                           English.

                                         VALYA
                           Wow! Like Nabokov!... And what
                           about writing in Russian?

                                         MARINA
                           Ah. Who needs it here?

                 Dasha gets up silently, leaves her mobile on the table
                 and walks inside the cafe.

                 WOMEN watch her.

                                         VALYA
                                (in a hushed voice)
                           Does she ever speak about her
                           father?

                                         MARINA
                                (sighing)
                           Never.

                 She is silent for a moment.

                                         MARINA
                           I still shake when I think of
                           that. Blood everywhere.

                 Valya nods sympathetically.

                                         MARINA
                           All he wanted was to do things
                           honestly. But what can you do in
                           a criminal state!... I am so
                           grateful that you helped, sold
                           the flat for me...

                                         VALYA
                           Forget about it, it's all in the
                           past.

                 She looks around for a waiter.

                                         VALYA
                           More tea?... How come you have
                           not learned to drink your tea
                           with milk, you, an English
                           lady?...

                 Marian smiles, shrugs. Valya waves to the WAITER.

                                         VALYA
                           And how's Gregory?

                 marina

                 He's fine. Kind, nice...Very good with Dasha, even
                 spoils her a bit. I don't regret it now. I think I am
                 lucky.

                                         VALYA
                           Then why don't you have a baby?
                           It would be so good for him...
                           and for Dasha too. . .

                                         MARINA
                           He can't have children, it's a
                           long story...but Dasha alone is
                           enough...a real handful. . .

                 from HOMELESS With some hesitation, Marina opens her
                 backpack and takes out a manuscript. She puts it on the
                 table between herself and Valya.

                                         MARINA
                           Could I ask you - if it's not
                           too much trouble? Perhaps you'll
                           have a chance to show it to
                           someone in Moscow?

                 Valya smiles and determinedly takes the manuscript.

                                         VALYA
                           Don't worry, dear. How can you
                           call it trouble?!... You helped
                           me so much at uni. When I think
                           about it, you were the most
                           talented in our year, you know!

                 Marina, embarrassed, shakes her head.

                                         MARINA
                           Please stop it. By the way,
                           how's Liliana Sergeevna?

                                         VALYA
                                (thumbing through
                                 the manuscript)
                           You won't believe it, but she's
                           getting younger every day. She
                           goes on singles chat rooms and
                           flirts with young men. Has lots
                           of lectures and seminars, too,
                           she teaches at three private
                           colleges. You know how it is
                           now, they've finally realised
                           that everyone needs an old pro!

                 Something on the page attracts her attention, she
                 silently reads a sentence and laughs.

                                         VALYA
                                (with interest)
                           What is it?

                                         MARINA
                                (with hesitation)
                           Fairy-tales.

                                         VALYA
                                (incredulous)
                           Fairy-tales?

                                         MARINA
                           Yes. For grown-ups.

                                         VALYA
                                (puzzled)
                           OK, why not?... Cruel?

                                         MARINA
                           Why cruel?

                                         VALYA
                           Cruel people - cruel fairy
                           tales.

                 Marina smiles.

                                         MARINA
                           Here people are kind.

                                         VALYA
                           You are crazy. But on
                           reflection, you've always been
                           strange. Fairy-tales!

                 Dasha comes back to the table, picks up her mobile and
                 starts checking text messages. Valya looks at the girl
                 with a smile.

                                         VALYA
                                (loudly)
                           Daria, why are you ignoring us?

                                         DASHA
                                (to Marina, in
                                 English)
                           What?

                                         MARINA
                                (in English)
                           Aunt Valya asks why you are
                           texting all the time and not
                           joining in the conversation. . .

                                         VALYA
                                (interrupting)
                           Mother, why are you acting as an
                           interpreter?

                                         MARINA
                                (guiltily)
                           Well, I do try to speak Russian
                           to her, but everything around is
                           in English, so she's being lazy.
                           . .

                                         VALYA
                                (cheerfully)
                           Dashka, you are so big now...it
                           seems only yesterday that I put
                           you on a potty. . .

                                         DASHA
                                (repeats in
                                 Russian)
                           A potty?

                                         MARINA
                                (in English)
                           Valya says that she remembers
                           you when you were still a baby.
                           . .

                                         VALYA
                                (interrupting)
                           Aunt Valya says that she wants
                           to give you a treat...Would you
                           like another dessert?

                                         DASHA
                                (with interest)
                           A dessert?



                 EXT COMMERCIAL STREET IN LODNON, DAY

                 Marina, Dasha and Valya walk in the crowd. Marina and
                 Valya walk a bit ahead, talking. Dasha follows behind,
                 now with MP3 player and earphones.

                                         MARINA
                           Listen, why don't you come over.
                           We haven't even had time to talk
                           properly!

                                         VALYA
                           Oh I know. . .
                                (kisses her on the
                                 cheek)
                           . . .I told you that I'd have to
                           sit at that silly Forum. I am
                           not quite sure what I am doing
                           there. But since they paid for
                           my ticket. . .

                 They both laugh.

                                         VALYA
                           They have a huge program of
                           future events, so next time I'll
                           try to get a couple of extra
                           days and. . .
                                (cheerfully)
                           . . .check out your country
                           life. . .

                 She slows down and looks at Marina with attention.

                                         VALYA
                           Are you ok? I mean...are you?

                                         MARINA
                           Don't worry, I'm really
                           fine...What about you?

                 Valya waves her arm, heads forward again.

                                         VALYA
                           Well, I am just getting on with
                           my life...I work, and work, and
                           work...Sometimes, you know,
                           being alone. . .
                                (she sighs)
                           . . .well, there is a guy. . .
                                (she hesitates,
                                 then shakes her
                                 head)
                           . . .but it's not important.
                                (cheerful again)
                           One has a family, another has a
                           career. It doesn't all happen
                           together for some reason. . .

                 She stops suddenly.

                                         VALYA
                           Listen, don't you have a
                           birthday tomorrow?!... Shame on
                           me, I'd forgotten... and I don't
                           even have a present!. . .



                 REVERSE POV

                                         MARINA
                           Stop it, I don't need any
                           present.

                                         VALYA
                           Let's buy you something...some
                           nice clothes...Look,  there's
                           Miss Selfridge...What do you
                           fancy?

                                         MARINA
                           Stop acting like a millionaire.
                           I've got everything I need.

                                         VALYA
                           Well, let's at least buy
                           something for Dasha, eh?

                 She doesn't wait for an answer, grabs Dasha's hand and
                 walks her energetically to a display of pullovers and
                 tops at the entrance to the shop. Dasha turns around
                 and looks at Marina.

                                         MARINA
                                (nods and sighs)
                           Valya wants to buy you a
                           present. Choose something.

                 Marina watches Valya and Dasha excitedly looking
                 through merchandise. Finally, Dasha chooses. Valya pays
                 and gives the bag to Dasha.

                                         DASHA
                                (in Russian)
                           Thank you very much.

                                         VALYA
                           See, you can speak Russian after
                           all.

                 She spreads her arms and hugs Marina and Dasha.

                                         MARINA
                           Let us at least see you to the
                           tube.

                                         VALYA
                           Don't worry. I remember, it's
                           just around the corner. . .See
                           you, girls!
                                (turning round as
                                 she leaves)
                           And I know who to show your
                           fairy-tales to, so wait for some
                           news. . .

                 She runs across the street.



          4.     EXT/INT. TRAIN - DAY                                  4.

                 The train leaves the outskirts of the city, and there
                 is now rolling countryside with occasional houses,
                 power lines, rivers, construction and fields
                 again...Marina is reading Valya's book. Dasha is
                 sitting across the table, hidden behind the tacky pink
                 and silver cover of a teen magazine. Marina sighs and
                 puts the book aside. Dasha glances at her above the
                 magazine, thinking.

                                         DASHA
                           Mum, this friend of yours, Aunt
                           Vilya. .

                                         MARINA
                                (correcting her)
                           Valya. . .

                                         DASHA
                           Yeaa, Valya, whatever...Is she
                           rich?

                                         MARINA
                           She's a writer.

                                         DASHA
                           You're a writer, too.

                                         MARINA
                           Well, she writes books, which
                           everyone in Moscow buys. A bit
                           like J.K. Rowling. . .

                                         DASHA
                           Cool!... Mum, how about you
                           write some proper books too...
                                (with enthusiasm)
                           . . .you'll become rich and
                           famous as well!

                 Marina doesn't reply and turns away to the window.



          5.     EXT. SMALL STATION - DAY                              5.

                 As the train slows down along the platform, Dasha
                 pushes the window down, and sticks out her head. The
                 only person on the platform is a slightly stooping,
                 stocky man in a sweatshirt with the logo of a football
                 club. It's GREGORY. He is in his fifties but looks
                 strong and healthy, with vivid dark eyes and dark hair.
                 He looks at the windows of the train. Dasha waves.
                 Gregory smiles, waves back and walks quickly to the
                 carriage. . .

                 Gregory, Marina and Dasha walk along the platform and
                 go down the ramp, passing through the old building of
                 the station itself to a place in front where the car is
                 parked, away from a taxi with a DOZING DRIVER.

                                         GREGORY
                           Did you have a nice time?

                                         DASHA
                           Yeaa.

                                         MARINA
                           Valya says hello.

                                         GREGORY
                           Thanks. Is she still as...pretty
                           as she was?

                 He waves his hand to outline Valya's figure as he
                 remembers her. Marina laughs and shrugs her shoulders.

                                         MARINA
                           Almost the same...She writes
                           thrillers now.

                                         DASHA
                                (to Gregory)
                           How was the game?

                                         GREGORY
                                (turning away from
                                 Marina)
                           Two-Nil.



          6.     EXT. SMALL ENGLISH VILLAGE, VILLAGE GREEN - EVENING   6.

                 Gregory stops the car near a small old brick cottage
                 facing the village green. Near the house there is a pub
                 and a bus stop. A bit further on - a corner shop (now
                 closed), a war monument and the entrance to a miniscule
                 hairdressers. The village green seems deserted except
                 for VOICES coming from the pub's door, and a smartly
                 dressed Indian teenager (PRANAV) who is hanging round
                 idly at the bus stop. He notices Dasha getting out of
                 the car, smiles and waves to her. Dasha stops with an
                 unwelcoming expression. Pranav gestures inviting her to
                 come closer, but Dasha shakes her head and points to
                 her parents, who are getting out of the car. She does,
                 however, go a few steps towards the bus stop before
                 stopping a safe distance halfway from the car.

                                         MARINA
                                (Gregory)
                           Do you know him?

                                         GREGORY
                           A good boy. Dr. Metha's son.

                 A bus appears from around the corner, slows down and
                 stops at the bus stop. The bus is empty except for a
                 small old man in a cap with a halo of white hair
                 (DARBY), who nods to Marina and Gregory.

                                         GREGORY
                           You alright, Darby?

                                         DARBY
                           Everything's fine, everything's
                           fine.

                                         GREGORY
                           How are things at the field?

                                         DARBY
                           They haven't arrived yet,
                           haven't arrived yet, but I'm
                           ready.

                                         GREGORY
                           Well, you take care.

                                         DARBY
                           And you too, dear. You too.

                 He touches the side of his cap in farewell, turns
                 around and starts towards the pub.

                                         MARINA
                           Darby!

                 Darby turns around.

                                         MARINA
                           I want to write something about
                           you for the Parish magazine. May
                           I?

                 Darby looks puzzled.

                                         DARBY
                           It's very kind, but there are so
                           many others...But why?

                                         MARINA
                           Will you tell me about the
                           Standing Stone? It's important,
                           isn't it?

                                         DARBY
                           Well, if it's so. . .
                                (looks at Marina
                                 seriously)
                           Yes it's very important. Very.

                 The bus is still waiting on the village green, with its
                 doors open, while Pranav, half-way into the bus, is
                 quickly tapping a text message. Judging by the actions
                 of Dasha, who, still a few metres away, is tapping on
                 her mobile with the same speed, they are sending text
                 messages to each other. Finally the bus driver, a big
                 tired-looking man (PETER), loses patience.

                                         PETER
                           Hey, son, are we going anywhere
                           today or not?

                 Pranav nods, finishing his message. Dasha turns around
                 and walks to the house. Pranav looks at her, then goes
                 inside the bus.

                 The bus, looking like a big illuminated fish tank,
                 drives through the village.



          7.     EXT. FIELD NEAR THE VILLAGE, STANDING STONE - EVENING 7.

                 A slightly slanted Standing Stone looms at the top of a
                 small hill. Darby is sitting by the Stone. He has a
                 half-finished beer and an old amateur telescope on a
                 tripod pointed to the sky.



          8.     INT. GREGORY'S AND MARINA'S HOUSE, BEDROOM - NIGHT    8.

                 Marina is in bed, her eyes open. Gregory is snoring
                 softly. He moans in his dream, turns over and puts his
                 arm around Marina. Marina waits for a moment, then
                 gently crawls from under his arm. She switches the bed
                 light on, takes Valya's book from the floor and starts
                 reading.

                 The clock on the village church chimes. The darkness
                 outside the window lifts, giving way to a new day.



          9.     INT. GREGORY'S AND MARINA'S HOUSE, KITCHEN - MORNING  9.

                 Wrapped in a warm dressing gown, Marina enters the
                 kitchen. Dasha, already dressed in her school uniform
                 and with neatly brushed hair, is at the table, with a
                 book and a bowl of porridge. A dirty pan, and a jar of
                 honey with a spoon inside are left on the counter by
                 the sink. Dasha takes her eyes from the book and looks
                 at Marina in surprise.

                                         DASHA
                           You're early! Are you going
                           somewhere?

                                         MARINA
                           No. Just can't sleep anymore. .
                           .

                 Dasha produces a card and a nicely wrapped package. The
                 card has a big number 45 on the front.

                                         DASHA
                           Happy Birthday! You're really
                           ancient now, but don't be too
                           upset!

                 Dasha kisses her on the cheek. Marina smiles and
                 unwraps the present. It's a book entitled 'Life Begins
                 After 45'.

                                         MARINA
                                (shakes her head,
                                 smiling)
                           Thanks.

                 While waiting for the kettle to boil, Marina retrieves
                 the spoon from the honey jar and absent-mindedly licks
                 it. It's raining outside.

                 Marina warms her hands on a hot mug, looking out at the
                 wet garden.

                                         DASHA (OFF SCREEN)
                           See you.

                 There is the sound of the slammed door. Marina turns
                 around. Dasha has left. Marina walks to the front door,
                 opens it, looks outside. Dasha quickly walks to the bus
                 stop.

                                         MARINA
                           Dasha! Dasha!

                 Dasha turns around.

                                         MARINA
                           What about your coat?

                                         DASHA
                           Don't need it.

                 She turns away and speeds up.

                                         MARINA
                           Wait!

                 She throws on a raincoat, wraps it around her dressing
                 gown and puts her bare feet inside a pair of boots. On
                 her way out, she stumbles on a nondescript old rug
                 lying by the front door. Irritated, she kicks it away.



         10.     INT. VILLAGE, VILLAGE GREEN - DAY                    10.

                 Marina runs out of the house. Holding the raincoat with
                 one hand, and carrying Dasha's coat in the other,
                 Marina runs across the square towards the bus stop
                 where several uniformly-dressed TEENAGERS are getting
                 inside a school bus.

                 Marina climbs a few steps and looks inside the bus. The
                 DRIVER and the teenagers, including Pranav, look at her
                 with curiosity. Dasha gets off her seat and steps down
                 to Marina, gently forcing her out of the bus.

                                         DASHA
                                (whispering with
                                 irritation)
                           I told you I don't need a coat!

                 Marina steps back helplessly. The bus drives away.



         11.     INT. GREGORY AND MARINA'S HOUSE, KITCHEN - DAY       11.

                 Gregory, in a warm dressing gown similar to Marina's,
                 is standing by the kitchen counter chewing a piece
                 toast with jam and looking through the sports pages of
                 a newspaper. He looks like a big blue teddy bear. He
                 hears Marina enter the house and looks up.

                 Fighting tears, Marina puts her raincoat and Dasha's
                 coat on a hook. She stumbles once again over the rug,
                 picks it up, opens the door and throws it outside.

                                         GREGORY
                           Happy Birthday, darling!

                 He reaches to kiss Marina, but Marina turns away and
                 goes to the sink to wash her hands.

                                         GREGORY
                           What's happened?

                                         MARINA
                           She went without her coat again!

                                         GREGORY
                                (reconciliatory)
                           Would you like some tea?

                 Marina nods, still fighting tears.

                                         MARINA
                           She'll catch a cold and cough
                           all winter! I can't stand it. .
                           ..

                 Gregory puts a cup of tea in front of her. Marina
                 mindlessly takes a sip.

                                         MARINA
                           Could you speak to her please?!
                           If you speak, she'll listen!

                                         GREGORY
                           Don't worry. She'll toughen up.
                           When I was a boy I never wore
                           anything except a tee-shirt. .
                           ..

                 Marina is silent, and Gregory returns to his newspaper.

                                         GREGORY
                                (checking football
                                 results)
                           I've promised to help Jonathan
                           with the sheep tonight. . .

                 Marina puts her cup on the table.

                                         MARINA
                           Can't the sheep wait till
                           tomorrow?... It's my birthday by
                           the way.

                                         GREGORY
                                (lost)
                           Yes of course, but...I've
                           already promised, it'd be
                           embarrassing...But what would
                           you like to do? We can have
                           dinner in the pub I suppose. . .

                                         MARINA
                                (unexpectedly)
                           I want to go to the theatre.

                                         GREGORY
                                (puzzled)
                           The theatre?...

                 Finally, he takes his eyes off the football page, but
                 Marina is no longer there, only her dressing gown is
                 lying thrown on the back of a kitchen chair.
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THE SEASON OF MISTS © 2006 AT and ET