THE SEASON OF MISTS
Anna Tchernakova and Evgenia Tirdatova
Based on an original idea by Anna Tchernakova
This work has been registered with:
Writers Guild of America, West
REGISTRATION # 1155830
29B EXT. SMALL TOWN, STREETS - NIGHT 29B Like a strange vision from someone's dream the car with Peter and the musicians moves slowly along the streets of the sleeping town. Marina is driving. Garik, Renat and Ilya are inside the car, with all the luggage. Sasha and Peter with his trumpet are sitting in the open boot. Peter is diligently playing something clearly Russian, which, judging by Sasha's cringes, Peter doesn't remember that well. Finally Sasha can't bear it anymore. He takes out his own violin and joins in. And a beautiful melody soars over the night town. . . 30 EXT. VILLAGE, GREGORY'S AND MARINA'S HOUSE - NIGHT 30 Marina walks to the house. Before entering, she stops by the living room window and looks inside. Gregory is dozing in front of the flickering television. The table is set for a birthday dinner - two plates, two glasses, flowers. . .. Marina looks at Gregory with a mixed expression. 31 INT. GREGORY'S AND MARINA'S HOUSE, LIVING ROOM - NIGHT31 Marina sits down on the floor, her back against Gregory's legs. MARINA Why didn't you have something to eat? GREGORY (waking up) I was waiting for you. How was the theatre? Marina doesn't respond straight away. MARINA I never got there. Met some Russians... They'd lost a passport... Then we found it thank God... Musicians... They have a concert tomorrow in Oakham. GREGORY I see. . .. Do you want a glass of wine?... The fish is in the oven, still warm. MARINA (guiltily) We've had something to eat, so I... GREGORY Why couldn't you call and let me know? Marina is silent. Gregory gets up from the chair, switches off the television and goes to the kitchen, leaving Marina alone. Marina sits still, listening to Gregory pouring himself a glass of wine and starting to eat. 32 INT. VILLAGE GARAGE - DAY 32 Gregory, now in his working outfit, is busy underneath a car raised up in the air on a platform. He is helped by a tall skinny man of uncertain age with sadly drooping moustache (JONATHAN). Both are excellent mechanics - their movements are confident and economical. Sound of a radio playing loudly in the garage. Gregory and Jonathan work silently, with the accompaniment of a local radio station broadcast coming loudly from an old radio in the corner. Jonathan puts on a wheel, while Gregory is finishing working with the chassis. Then he steps aside and Jonathan pushes the switch. The platform starts to come down. Gregory stumbles over something and swears. Jonathan flicks the switch. The car stops suspended in the air. JONATHAN Are you alright? GREGORY (with irritation) Fine, fine. Take it down for God's sake, why have you stopped?! Jonathan shakes his head. JONATHAN Did you have a bad night? He turns the switch. The car lands. Gregory wipes something from the car's shiny bodywork. Jonathan gets into the car and drives it outside, coming back with another car. Gregory is waiting by the switch. Jonathan gets out. Gregory turns on the switch and the car is raised in the air. Marina steps inside the garage, stops on the threshold. She carries a pan wrapped in newspapers. Jonathan notices her, straightens up, smiles and waves his hand. Gregory turns around. MARINA (talking fast) Meals on wheels...I've made some soup... still hot… She takes out spoons, bowls and a serving spoon. Puts it all on a workbench, moving aside wrenches. Jonathan wipes his hands with a rag, lifts the lid, sniffs with satisfaction and serves. Gregory looks away sulkily. GREGORY Why you are not at work? MARINA (lightly) Oh.. U menia pereuchet… Gregory looks at her, not understanding. Marina smiles and kisses him on a cheek. MARINA Don't worry. I've cut everybody's hair...in the best possible way… Because… we are all going out today, remember?... we all… (turning to Jonathan) …and you, Jonathan as well, we are going to a recital by the Russian quartet... So don't be late, I've promised them a full house. Gregory frowns. GREGORY We have urgent work. Jonathan, who is devouring the soup, pulls his sleeve. JONATHAN Come on, we'll manage. Sit down and have some. It's delicious!... If every Russian woman cooks like you, I'm ready to marry any of them with my eyes closed! He looks at Marina with tender admiration. Gregory, who has now melted a little, waves his finger jokingly at Jonathan. GREGORY Well I wouldn't advise it even to my worst enemy! Marina slaps him on the bottom. Gregory laughs, satisfied with the effect, draws Marina closer and gives her a hug. 33 INT/EXT. ROAD, FIELD, STANDING STONE - DAY 33 Marina is driving her car. She notices Darby trudging across the field, stops the car and gets out. She watches Darby walking away from the Standing Stone towards the village. After some hesitation, Marina climbs over a wooden fence surrounding the fields and walks up the hill towards the Stone. The surface is wet and uneven, with sheep's droppings and occasional patches of grass which the sheep have missed. In most places it's eaten to the bare ground. Marina walks slowly around the Stone, thinking about something. The Stone is old but still bears traces of the human hands, which shaped it many years ago. The grass around the Stone is tall, with an even flattened path around. Nearby, on the slope of the hill, sheep are grazing. Far away on the horizon the viaduct stretches across the valley. 34. INT. SMALL TOWN, CHURCH - DAY 34. The musicians are rehearsing. They are finishing playing the last movement of a string quartet by Schubert. They don't notice Marina who carefully closes the heavy church door and sits down on the side by a pillar. Now we see that Ilya is the first violin, Sasha is second, Garik plays the viola and Renat is the cellist. They stop and prepare for the next piece. Ilya says something to Renat, who is looking nervously through the music in his briefcase. They all wait. Renat takes all the music out, spreads it on the floor, then checks the briefcase - now empty - again. RENAT I am so sorry, Ilya Vladimirovich, I've mixed it up. I've brought the trio instead of the quartet. ILYA (starts to shout) Are you completely crazy?! We have a contract saying 'a quartet by Taneev', a quar-tet?! (to Sasha and Garik) And of course no one has a score with them?! GARIK But, my dear, what for? A professional musician should know everything by heart, so that in any state of body and mind… Behind Ilya's back Sasha puts his finger to his lips asking Garik to shut up. Renat is stooping guiltily. ILYA (to Renat) Well, you'll pay the forfeit! Marina gets up from her place, wanting to say something, but Garik notices her, winks with a little smile and puts his arm around Ilya's shoulders. GARIK (insinuating) Listen, Ilyusha, what if we do play the trio instead of the quartet?... They, the Turks, won't notice anyway. Taneev is Taneev, a Russian composer, just as it's written in the contract. . . Ilya frees himself and spreads his arms. ILYA You, Igor Evgenievich, are a real swindler! I don't sight read at recitals! Garik sighs hypocritically and shakes his head. GARIK (innocently) I thought you knew it by heart. . . (incidentally) Sash, what about you? Could you help us out? I know of course you won't be as good as Ilya Vladimirovich, but perhaps you'd save us from the forfeit? Garik sits down, takes the viola and starts playing. It's obvious now that Garik is a very fine musician. Renat puts the music on the stand in front of him, but Garik shakes his head - he doesn't need the music. Sasha takes his violin and joins in. He has a beautiful rich sound. Marina comes closer. Renat puts the music on Sasha's stand, but Sasha doesn't look at it either. Renat sits down, opens his own music, waits till the end of the bar and joins in. Ilya stands stiffly. The trio plays well, too well for Ilya's self-esteem. He finally collects himself and noisily puts away his instrument and the music. Garik nods to Sasha and Renat. They stop. GARIK (innocently) What do you think, Ilyush? Do you think we'll get away with it?... Especially if you play one of your brilliant solos for an encore, to make everyone happy? Ilya silently picks up his violin case and walks to the exit. ILYA (from the door) We'll see. The rehearsal is over. He goes out of the church, and the heavy door closes behind him with a loud squeak. Garik, Sasha and Renat look at each other and smile. 35 EXT. BOROUGH HILL, ROAD TO - DAY 35 Sasha, Garik, Renat and Marina walk along a muddy farm track towards a hill looming ahead. The track passes through someone's farm, stretching along the fence and a barn with identical black and white cows. On the other side black and white sheep are grazing in the field. Garik is reading a tourist guide as they walk. GARIK One of the local landmarks is a Iron Age fort… (stops and looks at the cows) Marinochka, how do these English manage to make identical cows? Do you have cows? MARINA No, we have sheep. RENAT Do you kill lambs in the spring? MARINA No. We only shear them. . .. Marina glances at Sasha who looks remote and tense. 35B EXT. BOROUGH HILL - DAY 35B On the top of the hill there is a flat field as if prepared for a cricket match, except for the middle, where the turf is interrupted with something looking like a labyrinth path. It's very windy. The 360-degree view shows a succession of gentle hills with occasional villages and the familiar viaduct very far away. The group stops by a sign showing directions and distances to various places - a few local villages and towns, London and, unexpectedly, Paris. GARIK (studying the sign) There is no Moscow here...Well, you, failing students, where's Moscow? Renat looks at his watch, then up to the sky towards the sun hidden in clouds, turns around, counts something , makes a few steps aside and points straight ahead. RENAT (proudly) North-North-East. Garik smirks, takes out a Swiss army knife, and opens it revealing a small compass. GARIK Failed. He checks the compass, digs in his pocket (dropping notes, crumbled paper, receipts and buttons), and, finally, produces a red marker. Draws a thick line on the sign and writes 'Moscow'. The wind blows open the sides of his jacket. He reaches to the side pocket and takes out the coca-cola bottle. GARIK To warm up...You, Marinochka, go first as our only woman. . . Marina takes a small sip, returns the bottle. Garik drinks, than passes the bottle to Sasha. GARIK Don't drink much before the concert. Sasha takes a gulp, passes the bottle to Renat. Renat drinks. Garik takes the bottle away from him. Sasha walks to the middle of the field, stops by the turf labyrinth and tries to read the sign. MARINA (coming closer, translating) This type of turf maze may date from medieval times. Religious penitents may have followed the maze on hands and knees repeating prayers...to redeem their sins. . . Garik gracefully falls to his knees in front of Marina. GARIK (pointing to the maze) Well, Marinochka, shell we proceed? To redeem our sins… MARINA I don't have sins. GARIK (confidently) You will have them no doubt. Sasha turns around and starts walking back towards the car. Garik and Marina look at him. 36 INT. SMALL TOWN, CHURCH - DAY 36 Sasha and Garik tune their instruments. Renat repeats a musical line trying to perfect it. Looking detached and indifferent, Ilya plays virtuoso exercises. An older man with a respectable face (local music promoter JOHN) walks along the rows of seats distributing programmes. Marina is helping him. Suddenly Sasha puts aside his instrument, gets up and walks to the doors. After a moment's hesitation, Marina follows him. 37 EXT. SMALL TOWN, CHURCH - DAY 37 Sasha is nervously smoking, sitting on a stone bench by the church door and mindlessly looking at a notice board on the wall opposite. Seeing Marina he gets up, freeing a place for her and steps aside so that the smoke doesn't go on her. SASHA I'm sorry...most likely you don't smoke...I don't normally smoke either ...My mother was a chain smoker...rolled cigarettes with her shaking hands till her death... I begged her to quit, but she would hush me up - it's not your business - and that's it!... It was forty days yesterday since she died, but I still can't get used to it. . . MARINA Was it her who made you study music? Sasha nods, puts the cigarette down and throws it in the bin. SASHA That's it. I won't smoke. You've come out and I've calmed down. But don't sit in the front row if you can avoid it. Marina looks at him with attention, smiles and nods. 38 INT. SMALL TOWN, CHURCH - DAY 38 The church is slowly filling with people. There are a few carefully dressed OLD LADIES and OLD MEN, and a few MIDDLE-AGED COUPLES. SEVERAL CHILDREN between seven and ten sit in the middle of the front row. A TEENAGE BOY IN GLASSES takes a place in the aisle. But the church is far from being full. Anxious, Marina looks at the door. Enters Darby, who, limping and nodding to himself, finds a place in a corner behind the pillar. Finally, Gregory, Jonathan and Dasha appear. Dasha's expression says that she would prefer to be in some other, more interesting place. Loyal Pranav walks behind Dasha, but Dasha doesn't pay any attention to him. Gregory is cleanly shaved and in a fresh shirt, and Jonathan is dressed in a suit. DASHA (to Marina, provokingly) I have a maths test tomorrow by the way. MARINA (in Russian) Never mind, it won't be long. You need some education. DASHA (in English) Thanks! Dasha sits down besides Marina. Pranav takes a place in the row behind. Dasha doesn't like it. She gets up, walks to the front row and pointedly takes a place near the teenage boy in glasses. Upset, Marina looks at the half-full church. It seems that there won't be any more audience. John comes to the front and greets the audience. JOHN Today we are honoured to have the most distinguished guests from Moscow. . .. Peter appears in the church and walks along the aisle. He settles noisily in the middle of the front row, catching his breath and wiping his sweating forehead with a tissue. The musicians smile. . . .The sound of music fills the space. Garik winks to Marina. Marina moves her eyes to Sasha. Sasha plays with great inspiration, and his solo sounds clear and poignant… 39 EXT. TOWN, FIELDS, VIADUCT, STANDING STONE - EVENING 39 …soaring over the town...fields...the viaduct with a slowly moving train...and the Standing Stone behind which the sun sets. 40 INT. SMALL TOWN, CHURCH - EVENING 40 Behind the church's windows - darkness. The audience is leaving the church. Garik turns away and drinks from the coca-cola bottle. GARIK Not a bad recital… ah, Ilyusha? He winks to Sasha. Smiling, Sasha puts away the violin. Peter, proud to know the musicians, helps to collect the music from the stands. Visibly annoyed, Ilya stumbles over the chair. ILYA Where's this highly praised John? I haven't come from Moscow to play in front of dodgy pensioners! RENAT (quietly, to Sasha) Here we go again… Ilya is about to say something else, but notices Marina, Gregory and Jonathan approaching and stops. Dasha waits separately a few steps away. MARINA A wonderful concert!... This is our friend Jonathan. . . Jonathan nods and puts his hands to his chest expressing his gratitude. MARINA (CONT.) …my husband Gregory… GREGORY Spasibo, ochen' horosho, molodez, golubchik, moi ruki! MARINA …and almost all his Russian vocabulary… (turns around looking for Dasha) …and my daughter Dasha who always walks alone… She points to Dasha. Dasha reluctantly comes closer. Gregory tenderly pushes her forward, to Marina. Garik stretches his hand to Gregory. GARIK Liverpool. Arsenal. Chelsea. Gregory laughs and shakes hands with Garik. GREGORY No. Ipswich Town. Marina meets Sasha's eyes. Sasha turns around, goes to the other side of the stage and starts packing his bag. Smiling, John walks towards the group, spreading his arms and starting to talk from the distance. JOHN Wonderful concert! Such a wonderful concert! Are they ready? MARINA (to musicians) As far as I understand, he wants us to go to the pub now… GREGORY (to Marina) So we won't wait for you for dinner? Marina wants to say something, but Garik interrupts her, addressing Gregory and making an inviting gesture signifying a drink. GARIK Pub? GREGORY I am sorry I can't. . . (points to Dasha and continues in poor Russian) Dasha, dinner! Dasha, time for bed! Garik spreads his arms. 41 INT. PUB - NIGHT 41 Marina, the musicians and Peter are sitting around a table in a crowded and smoky pub. John has already left. There are pints of beer on the table, half-eaten plates of fish-and-chips...It's too noisy to hear any conversation. Ilya has cheered up and joyfully tells something to Renat. Peter and Garik are arguing. Marina gets up and walks through the hall to the toilets. She notices Darby sitting alone by the counter. 42 INT. PUB, TOILETS - NIGHT 42 Entering the washrooms, Marina bumps into Sasha who is leaving the toilet. Confined in a small space, they awkwardly pass each other. Sasha's hand accidentally brushes Marina's body. Embarrassed, Sasha mutters an apology and exits. Marina turns on the tap and puts her face under the water. She presses wet fingers against her temples and looks at herself in the mirror. The mirror is old, and Marina's face is blurred, duplicated by the mirror's dilapidated surface. 43 INT. PUB - NIGHT 43 Marina sits back at the table. Sasha is sitting silently at the side, not joining in the conversation. Marina turns to him. MARINA Are you bored? Sasha shakes his head. MARINA Do you see that old man? She points to Darby by the bar counter. Sasha turns around. MARINA Many years ago his wife disappeared, and he thinks that she has been abducted by aliens. And he's waiting for them by a strange stone near our village… She checks Sasha's reaction. Sasha doesn't smile, and looks attentively at Darby. Darby leaves change on the counter and trudges away. SASHA (seriously) Can we see it? MARINA What? SASHA The stone. Marina smiles and nods. 44 INT/EXT. CAR, FIELD - NIGHT 44 Marina and Sasha are together in the car. The headlights illuminate parts of the road, bushes...The car turns, passes over a cattle grid (which makes a loud sound under the wheels) and stops on the side of a narrow farm track. On both sides of the track there are dark fields with light blotches of sheep. Marina turns off the engine and switches off the lights. They get out of the car. The sheep dash noisily away in the darkness. Now Marina and Sasha walk up the hill towards the Standing Stone silhouetted against the night sky. They stop by the Stone. There, it seems to be a bit brighter; the Stone is illuminated by the light of the Moon, and every detail on its surface is clearly visible. The faces of Marina and Sasha are also illuminated by the light reflected by the stone. Sasha cautiously reaches to the Stone. SASHA (surprised, whispering) It's warm… Marina is very close. He turns around and touches her. SASHA You too. In the silence there is the sound of grazing sheep. Somewhere far away a late train signals in the darkness. MARINA But I am not a stone. She looks at him, and touches his face with her finger, tracing the shadow the stone throws on his check. He catches her hand, kisses her palm. Then pulls her towards himself. Finds her lips. . . 45 INT. GREGORY'S AND MARINA'S HOUSE, KITCHEN - NIGHT 45 Marina locks the front door, takes off her shoes. There is a light left on for her in the kitchen. Marina steps there, stands still for a moment, then turns off the light. We hear her go to the bathroom and switch on the shower. 46 INT. GREGORY'S AND MARINA'S HOUSE, BEDROOM - NIGHT 46 Marina slips into the dark bedroom, stumbles over something in the dark, freezes, then tiptoes to bed. She gets under the blanket and wraps herself in the covers, her back to Gregory. Closes her eyes. Gregory is not asleep. He listens to Marina's movements, waiting for her to say something. She is silent and motionless. He listens to her deep breathing - she seems to have fallen asleep.