INT. STUDY - DUSK
Close on a MAN's stiff, dark suited back (dressed
in the conservative fashions of 1880's France) as
his hands order papers on a large, heavy desk before
His movements are precise and uncompromising, and
although we do not see his face, the rigid order
of the rest of his study with its dark walls, precise
placement of too much furniture and valuable paintings
and a glass case of Egyptian funerary artefacts
completes our sense that this is a controlling,
autocrat of a man.
The heavy wood door opens, and a MAID, early 20's,
bursts in - but nearly faints when she sees him
Oh! Mister Rouart! I'm so sorry! I...didn't know
you were back sir!
The MAID is evidently scared of him, but MR ROUART
says nothing for moment, perfecting his crisp-edged
tower of papers. And only when he's satisfied with
Call my daughter down.
The MAID is barely audible as she acquiesces with
a bobbed curtsey, and backs from the room. The fact
that we never see his face only makes him seem the
INT. DRAWING ROOM - DUSK
Hélène ROUART, late teens, lolls in a chair, chewing
her fingernail as she avidly reads a novel, the
glow from a lamp beside her lighting her face.
OOV we hear sharp footsteps on the wooden floor,
then the MAID calling in an urgent whisper to someone
in the hallway-
Master Theo? Your father has returned! He wishes
to see Hélène.
Hélène's eyes go wide as she freezes - then suddenly
bolts to the door, squeezing behind it just in time
The door opens and Hélène's brother THEO, 12, looks
in - his POV of the abandoned book on the chair,
but there's no Hélène. He moves off to look elsewhere.
As his footsteps recede, Hélène glances round the
door. He's gone. She takes a deep breath then -
INT. HALLWAY/STAIRS - DUSK
- pelts for the shadowy stairs, racing up as fast
as she can -
INT. Hélène'S BEDROOM - DUSK
Inside her room, Hélène quickly shuts the door.
She flings herself to the floor, rummages under
her bed and wrenches out a leather trunk. But she
stops suddenly realising something - it's too big.
Hélène frowns, then has a new idea. She rips the
pillow case from her pillow and frantically starts
to stuff it with clothes and personal possessions.
The door opens and THEO is there, open-mouthed to
relay their father's message but he stops as he
sees what she's doing. Hélène frowns at his gawping
realisation, but continues to pack her things -
I'm not going.
THEO stands frozen as his sister still packs, now
ripping a sheet from the bed and wrenching open
her balcony doors, intent on constructing a way
But...? He wants you...
Well he'll just have to want then won't he!
THEO recoils at her ferocity -
I'm sick of it! Every single time he comes back!
(derides his voice)
'Where have I been, what have I done? What have
I thought about'!
THEO looks panicky as the reality of what she's
doing sinks in. Hélène is apologetic, but determined
Every time! Go to the study and stand behind that...ridiculous..
oversized chair! It's like... prison bars! Why doesn't
he just lock me in his glass case and be done! Every
private thought I've ever had, extracted by him
as though with a scalpel! Well he's done it for
the last time! I will not be owned, Theo! Not by
him, or anyone.
Hélène has finished tying the sheet. THEO steps
towards her in worry -
But! Where will you go?
(making it up on the spot)
I shall run away to sea! Or perhaps...
...join the circus and swing from a trapeze by my
teeth every night, under shining coloured lights!
Hélène is over the ballustrade in a bound, the pillow
case held tightly in her hands as she clutches the
MAID (OOV APPROACHING)
Master Theo? Have you found her?
Hélène's face as she hears - it's now or never then.
She smiles apology at her little brother -
I'm sorry Theo. I have to go.
And with that she's gone.
THEO can only watch from the balcony as his sister
runs through the garden, slips over the wall onto
the street, and then she is gone into the darkness.
- ENDS -