Public Lighting Script
2. In the City
4. Hey Madonna
title: Writing, part 1 of 7
fade in LS night E walks on lonely dock (opening)
“This is where it started.”
lighting technicians on riser
“Where it’s always starting.”
ferry pulls in, people wait, ferry opens people depart
image: Amsterdam at night
A night car drives flare
A night street, blue building, cars and canals
“Before I came here I wrote notes to myself, telephone numbers of friends,
image: bridges night from previous tape
“graffiti. But when…”
image: person alone great in front of green artificial plants
“I arrived I heard voices”
image: night window and light
“and wrote them down”
image: Esma in low light in cafe
“and never stopped.”
big sky men with bikes wait around
“I know I have to start a book”
image: peace rally faces (2)
“when everything around me is writing. Opening.”
image: Esma walks behlmir modernist walkway
image: elephant with Esma in picture
elephant CU walks
“In your life there’s a moment when everything is put in doubt…”
image: Esma in museum glass (3)
“marriage and friends and children.”
image: Esma hair and shark tank
“Without this doubt, no solitude.”
image: Esma back to cam looks into tank
“And without solitude, no writing.”
image: Esma by water
“The words don’t come from me
they come from other books, conversations with friends
I arrange them, that’s all.
That’s all a writer can ever do.”
image: silhouette woman drinks out of cup
image: lunch-hand puts down water
image: man nice in glass of water
image: people in water slow motion
“I studied the people around me.”
image: Esma takes picture with camera
“and realized at last”
Central Station shadows
“there were just, seven different kinds, of personality.”
image: bus driver shot
“I mean the way we present ourselves. That’s what I wanted to write about. Make this film about.”
Esma shopping at market
LS man under plastic
ECU Esma under plasic
Light in window, CU light
light in kitchen
“gives off its own light.”
door close (from above), book opens, door close, book opens, book opens
“And some of these wounds are words.”
Esma on couch writing nice light, she leaves
Esma steps on red kitchen floor with light shadows
Esma writing at fountain
CU shoes in Central Station
image: people thru plastic slow motion
When I’m writing I see the shapes behind people. The six ways we have to say yes, to open. Six kinds of sadness
“We try to conduct these emotions, to write them.”
Esma arrange chair,
“only to find ourselves already written.”
Esma erase/scratch out words in journal, cross out writing, writing, face CU, CU chest and light andpaper, MS writing with drape
Esma carries white pieces of paper across room
Esma shakes out sheet
image: Esma at Atlas sign
“The city is a book,”
image: Tuchinsky movie theatre
image: kids behind pastry glass
“told in chapters,”
image: couple kiss
“one for each kind of personality.”
image: 2 men thru bus window
“And one day we will learn to read it.”
image: light on Esma face on bike shot from bike
“I follow thoughts that don’t seem to belong to me. That don’t belong to my life. I call them Public Lighting.”
Esma locks bike
Esma from below, lights cig, out of frame, leaves blue sky
LS warehouse night Esma small walks across frameslo-mo
“I’m going to tell you six stories
sometimes with the voice of a man, sometimes in pictures
and together they’ll be called Public Lighting.
They are case studies, biographies
which will demonstrate the six different kinds of personality.
They will constitute my work as a young writer.”
In the City Script
title graphic: legs move across screen
title moves from left to right: in the city
Night shack , ext. fog by fence, fog drifts by ext. window
shadow on wall , int. dining room, empty, white door
empty stairwell , empty bed in bedroom, interior house, open front door, day
night: boy in bed wakes and goes to window
locomotive at night – two shots
2 shots stair shadows on brick building time lapse
dynamos with time lapse shadows, motorcycle CU reflects moving time lapse clouds, time lapse clouds, then supered with exterior corridor, bridge, then first restaurant exterior: Anywhere Lounge
image: series of restaurant exteriors in Toronto
Bagel Cafe, Cassis, Diablo, El Asador, Flip, Toss and Shake, Gabby’s, Happy Seven, Insomnia, JJ Muggs, KFC, Las Iguanas, Mr. Greek, Nataraj, Omonia, Paradise, Q Club, Richards, Scratch Daniels, Thai Bangkok, Utopia, Vitty’s, Wilde Oscars, XXX Diner, Zelda’s.
When Gordon only ordered coffee I knew it was over. This was his favorite restaurant in the whole world, he told me, though I knew he’d never been further west than Parkdale. He was tall and very beautiful, not usually my type, but I think we started dating before I had one. A type I mean.
Jeremy used to like to come here because of the atmosphere and when I said you can’t eat atmosphere, because the food was so awful, he looked at me like I’d stuck a fork in his cheek. He liked Depeche Mode and the Smiths and was always discovering new bands that never made it out of the 80s. When I saw him eyeing a Morrissey lookalike over the French Onion soup, I knew it was over.
Rick picked this restaurant for our last dinner together. The food was terrific, but I think we came here because he had a crush on one of the waiters.
Alex worked here as a bartender. He broke up with me just before starting a Friday shift. He never liked me hanging around because he’d get less tips that way, so when he said good-bye, I had a beer next door.
Jim and I actually met here, in the washroom, which is located just opposite the kitchen. I think he’d forgot to lock the door. He left first and I never saw him again.
Frank liked to get really drunk and then go to family restaurants and try to act as normal as possible, which never really worked. I left after the salad course, knowing they’d overcook my steak.
Tony said the smell of Kentucky Fried Chicken gave him a hard-on. I guess it was about the only thing that did. After several futile attempts we finally snuck into the parking lot for a few moments of very satisfying and very brief sex. I think we both knew it wouldn’t last.
Jose was a rancher in his native Argentina, but he was working here as a security guard when I met him. Eating meat always made him cry because it reminded him of home so I couldn’t tell whether he was upset about our breaking up or not.
Tim was a vegetarian who hated the fact that I smoked, ate red meat and wore a leather belt. He said he was going to break up with me for it and I said that’s impossible, that’s so superficial, and then he left.
I suggested this place to Reg because the tables are so close together, I thought he’d lose his nerve and not break up with me after all. But as soon as people were seated beside us he turned to them and said, “I hope you don’t mind but this is our last supper. I hope it won’t ruin yours.”
Sonja was a friend and then one night we got drunk and ruined everything. We broke up at this bad frat bar, where it had all began. When I told her I was gay she couldn’t stop shouting “I knew it. I knew this.” And “Didn’t I tell you?” And poking my chest with her long red fingernails, over and over.
Steve was my analyst and this is his favorite restaurant. He didn’t want to break up with me he said, but it wasn’t a good idea for him to sleep with his patients. When I told him I could find another doctor he looked hurt and confessed that he needed the money.
Fred was from Amsterdam and he insisted on sitting next to me and masturbating me under the table. I figured this was pretty normal where he came from, so it was no wonder he was going back so soon.
Mario was a tool and die maker. Because we didn’t speak the same language our break-up was particularly difficult. I think I was on my third dessert before finally realizing it was over.
Eating with Roger was like listening to the symphony warm-up. Everything he did seemed to make a noise. He had formidable gas, and ate with his mouth open, making large squishing sounds, like he was stepping on something. He never seemed to notice all the attention he drew to himself, until I broke up with him here, over biscotti and americanos.
This was Julian’s favorite bar. We had an awful lot to drink one night and I can’t really remember what happened but in the morning it was over.
through a single caress
we leave our childhood
men roam the city
and because I love you
OPENING MOVEMENT: Photos and Counting Music
FIRST STANZA: SCENE 1: Ellis Island
image: last photo (portrait) (then dissolve to train)
This man showed me
how to have a personality
Each day he resisted
the flattery of imitation
we face as shoppers.
I am this cigarette
I know who I am
by the choices I make
the world is my mirror
and when I get tired of one personality
I reach into my jeans
and buy another
SECOND STANZA: SCENE 2: Subway
One day I met Philip Glass
he no longer spoke
but listened to everyone
wherever he met them.
THIRD STANZA: SCENE 3: archival photos turn to present movement
Instead of talking he played
for him there was no longer any difference
the few notes he favoured
expressed everything he had ever felt.
revealed a subteranean life to me
that was uniquely his own
and I vowed that one day
I would have my own.
FOURTH STANZA: SCENE 4: nature shots: trees/water at magic hour
Each day he sits
before the blank staffs
and patiently enters
the same notes as the day before.
They are so sweet
that the song which belongs to Monday
soon accompanies the entire week
and then every week
for the rest of his life.
FIFTH STANZA: SCENE 5: slowed silhouettes on beach
He is like the hummingbird
who is so admired
for always singing the same song.
SIXTH STANZA: SCENE 6: brooklyn bridge
Each day when he rises
he appears to himself
as the same person.
He is one being
not a collection of parts
but unity, wholeness.
This is why his music is played
all over the world
it is not the melody people listen to
but its persistence
his refrain has become
a way of life.
LAST SCENE: STANZAS 7, 8, 9: SCENE 7: GLASS PLAYS PIANO
Here is a man
who plays his destiny
on the piano.
One imagines him
at the end of time
on the day of judgement
this music his confession.
There are a very few
who can still hear
this small moment
we all carry inside ourselves
Philip’s music asks:
will you join me
Hey Madonna Script
1. Madonna countdown
2. title: Hey Madonna
3. image: Madonna cleaning up hotel room
Madonna voice over: “You know I think I’m in a state of shock. I know the tour’s over but it’s like last week in Spain I really thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown. I couldn’t take the crowds outside, I couldn’t do the shows, it was too hot, everything was getting to me and I thought oh I’m just (sync) I think I’m getting ready for the depression for what I’m going to feel when the tour’s over with. I really didn’t feel emotional last night. I know everybody else did and everyone was crying but I didn’t feel emotional. It was like it had already ended for me. It’s like when you know someone’s dying you have to make your peace kind of before they die. I’ve done this with close friends of mine. I make my peace with it before it happens so I don’t get really hurt, and then when it happens it’s like I don’t feel anyting. But I know I’m going to feel something later. I just don’t know when that ‘s going to be. (she shuts off light) (I guess it’s a protection device. I hope I’m in a safe place when it happens.”
4. image: Express Yourself (music video)
superimposed rolling titles:
Dear Madonna Ciccone,
What a relief to hear you’re not positive! It was so hard to write and tell you after all this time. After the doctor told me I didn’t feel anything, it was like he’d given me the weather report for a city I’d never seen. Until I got home and realized I had to call everyone I’d ever slept with. And for the first time I was glad there weren’t many. At least you’re okay.
I haven’t found anyone whose tested positive so I guess I must have got it from one of the strangers. From one of those nights you take off from the rest of your life. And then you realize there are no vacations from your own blood. Funny the way one night can change your whole life. You want to know a secret? Testing positive has been pretty good to me in some ways. While death is inevitable, it’s not immediate. AIDS is a disease in stages, a long flight of steps that leads to death, but each step admits a unique apprenticeship. It’s a disease that gives death time to live and its afflicted time to die, time to discover time, and in the end to discover life.
5. Madonna 2 shots out of car into doctor’s office. Throat examination. 1:33
Doctor: OK say ee.
M: aaa (etc)
Doc: Great. Take a breath. Good.
WB: This is crazy, nobody talks about this?
M: Talks about what?
WB: The insanity of doing this all in a documentary. Well, this is a serious matter your throat, yes?
M: Why should I stop here?
WB: But does anyone say it?
M: Whose anyone?
WB: Well anyone who comes into this insane atmosphere. You realize they all feel it when they come into this atmosphere. When they come into your dressing room, when they come to wherever you are they feel crazy. Do they talk about it?
M: No, they accept it.
WB: Why don’t they talk about it?
WB: You want to think about that don’t you?
M: No I don’t. Now let’s get back to my throat.
Doc: Do you want to talk at all off-camera? You have nothing to say.
WB: She doesn’t want to live off-camera, let alone talk. There’s nothing to say off-camera. Why would you say something if it’s off-camera? What’s the
point of existing?
6. Madonna montage: photographers, graveyard
superimposed rolling titles:
Are you the reason for mass communications? Was television invented so we can all tune into you? Listen to you? Fall in love with you?
7. Oh Father rock video
superimposed rolling titles:
It’s hard to watch you growing older. I know you lift weights and jog and all that, but you just don’t look the same now. And it’s sad. It’s a reminder of what’s coming. What’s already inside us. Eating us away. When I go I want to look like the Mona Lisa, with that funny little smile on her face. I know what she was smiling at after all this time. It was about death. Knowing how to die. At the end of your days there’s only that. To look into the abyss and smile. Just like you babe. Hope you’re good. Jason
SCENE 1: PARTY
image: sparklers on cake handheld walk to Carolynne face, freeze face
“This is a picture of my 35th birthday but I don’t remember it.”
image: someone points, blocked profile, CU hand, stephen hand and chin, karen CU, stephen hand, C side of face, Day face turns
arm, C drinks water, 2 shot heads, answering 2 shot, 2 fork shots, Carolynne face side, CU eye leaves frame, hair
“Everything passes through me in waves.”
“My friends call fortune tellers to catch a glimpse of the future.”
image: pan over phone, pan over apartment,
“I ask them to tell me about the past.”
SCENE 2: CAMERA
image: C with camera
C holds cam thru glass, C bent reflection, tilt up to face, C from behind thru grid, C closes cam (3), C holds cam to face and adjusts lens
“But better even than fortune tellers is my camera.
It sees what I won’t look at.”
image: C with s8 cam on road, C thru rainy windshield, LS thru windshield, C thru glass (2), C cam walk towards me (3)
image: blue China street
SCENE 3: SAD CAROLYNNE
image video one: sad Carolynne, sad Carolynne from above
luma keyed with video two: b/w person walks slo mo w/buckets
“I take pictures not to help me remember but to record my forgetting.”
b/w Carolynne reflection in water
supered with video two: col dv china bucket cleaning
b/w bucket pours out water
women behind glass walks to cam
SCENE 4: CHINA: FLIGHT, BIKES, ICE CUBES
image: plane, dv clouds
fade in super: women on bicycle in China
“The woman who calls herself mother”
image: cam stationary, bikes and traffic go by
“says you belong here in China.”
Carolynne stands timelapse on Bay Street,
3 shots Carolynne stands in red coat
“But when I arrive”
CU Carolynne drops ice cubes to ground (2 shots), CU eye,
drape blows in empty room
“Everything is new, unfamiliar.”
image: steadicam over summer house, freeze frame kitchen interior
“In other words it’s just like home.”
image: CU hands
“As if I’d never left.”
image: hand removes something from box, Carolynne walks in woods
SCENE 5: PHOTO ALBUM
image: C looking thru photo albums
image: shadow on tarp, rainy drive, rainy building, woman at window
SCENE 6: CHINA WAVES: SUPERS
image: Carolynne swims, shadow door opens, couple sex
super fade in video two: Carolynne walks thru door silhouette
super fade in video three: woman walks into room turns on light, CU person opens box and slides in a negative, robot camera moves down corporate hallways to Carolynne in hall, all images dissolve out as Carolynne approaches robot dissolves to:
image video one: circle dance
super with video two: overhead shot people
super with video three: kiss (fade in/out) twice)
“Sometimes, China comes to me in waves
I can’t tell where one feeling stops and another begins.”
SCENE 7: ARCHEOLOGY OF GRAN
image: b/w s8 gran pan up from hands to face
super: LS flashlights, MS flashlights, turning statue
slow zoom to Carolynne
super: man with torch under crushing rock and Carolynne swims
super: pan down wall engravings fade out
Carolynne feet CU
super with: Carolynne walks on train tracks
gran out door
super with: exterior fire/Carolynne down stairs from behind dissolves to sun
super with: wedding
Carolynne walks to shrine, offers and bows
“Mother says you look just like me
And her mother, and her mother’s mother.
It’s all happening again to me.”
SCENE 8: SUPER-8 PROJECTOR
gold chair (2 shots), hand on projector, feed film into projector, feed film into projector, CU face, hand and projector, hand on reel flares, projector light, face, projector light brightens in LS
“I make friends and then I make them again.
SCENE 9: DANCING, FALLING, KELLY
CU strobe hands
video one: Carolynne and friends dance (4 shots)
video two: CU stroke backs (4 shots)
video three: Carolynne and friends s8 slo-mo
(Day Milman, Noelle Elia, Stephen Lan, Karen Hanson)
“I can laugh at the same joke every day.”
image: C falling in chair (2), C in coat thru fence
“Stephen says it’s his favourite thing about me.”
image: Carolynne out door (MS behind, CU behind, aerial)
“Kelly says it’s her favourite thing about me.”
image: camera moves towards Kelly who opens arms
image: C and Kelly in coffee shop
“We have the same conversation in the same bar.”
video one: CU eye slo-mo
video two super: match lighting, CU hand, CU pants, CU face
“Kelly says it’s a poor sort of memory that doesn’t work backwards.”
CU eye dissolves to women lights up to shy teen asian girls slo-mo
video two super: vest lights up, flopped vest lights up, MS face blows out match w/candle foreground, CU face
SCENE: 10: WATER
cut to: water drop, LS water dissolve to: timelapse clouds and water,
dissolves to: hand-processed water
super hand-processed water with video two: 2 men fall in puddle
then luma key Carolynne CU face fade in/out
SCENE 11: WATER AND CANOE
image: woman and kid on boat
image: CU water streams past
image: Carolynne rows slow but out of focus
“one day you’ll have a daughter.
Mothers says that like me
she used to forget everything.
Forgetting is a tradition in my family.”
THE HIRO SECTION HAS NO WORDS
title: fade in Amy
image: man and projector, family leaves house and faces camera, shy girl runs behind her brother, man and projector
baby girl montage with v/o:
baby girl towards cam CU
baby girl runs towards cam (slo-mo)
CU face, clothesline, walk towards cam
baby girl towards cam brief (slo-mo)
baby girl runs in field (slo-mo) plays around flowers, flare out
“Last night I was watching television when this terrible thing happened. All the talk show hosts, all the guest stars, even the news anchors, all started talking like me, and looking like me. Last night it was all about moi. My first dress (which was blue with white stripes), my first word (home), my first period. And after the embarassment I have to admit it made me feel okay because I was coming across and all, but after a few hours I started feeling shitty because it was my memory, because these things had happened to me and now they were happening to everyone. I went to bed knowing that my memories don’t belong to me anymore.”
fade in actor in studio: “How was that? Was that okay?”
empty interiors montage
tilt down top of blue boarded up house,
door swings shut on empty porch,
plastic blows past window,
zoom to window w/2 wipe marks on it,
bathroom with phone ringing,
empty room seen over shoulder,
frame door CU,
pink chiffon falls in front of mirror,slow pan to cigs on table,
dark pan past TV
bright colourful abstract pan,
cigs on table
empty living room night
LS house night
empty exteriors montage
2 shots movement thru grass,
bicycle on road,
slow dissolve to: still photograph by Jock Sturges, cam pans vertically to face, then zooms out from face to show entire picture. A young girl wrapped in a towel stands alone on a beach.
voice-over: “He’s pretty fat now, the guy who took this picture of me. Jock, Joooock that’s what we called him, but only when he’s not around cuz he’s real sensitive. He’s an artist you know, or that’s what my mother told me. He’s an artist so it’s alright if he takes your picture. Even if i’m not wearing anything mom? I asked her and she said: you’re always wearing your soul.”
image: fade in/superimpose: image of liisa repo martell (actor) reading text in sound booth with Sturges photograph, then fade out
“Jock is like 200 pounds or something and he never wears any clothes, I mean no one really wears any clothes out here, not on the beach, that would be weird right? Only he’s got all this stuff on him, this big camera and the tripod, the three legged man I call it and his meters and boards and whatever, so he’s not really naked, not at all.”
Learning to Walk
new baby/girl learns to walk montage
image: nurse comes out of hospital holding baby, nurse walks to car with baby, mother holds baby
image: punch hole at end of roll
image: chris sits by mother
image: baby in ring chair on floor
baby walking on her own, she falls, consoled, then picked up and passed around by family this is what still photo dissolves from
dissolve to still photograph by Jock Sturges. The same young girl stands with arms behind her head naked on a beach. Begins with CU face and zoom
out to reveal entire photograph.
“I don’t really like the way I look in this picture. You see the way my right boob hangs a little lower than my left? Or the shaving cuts on my legs? Or the way my left knee is bent kind of funny? And my face. There’s something wrong with my face. I know what it is, in my face there’s already an old woman my body belongs to a teenager but my face belongs to an old old woman.”
image: super-8 bike ride begins in garage
music: tone loop
voice-over: “You know I think that people only really have one age
they could be just five or twenty five or fifty…”
image: liisa repo martell (actor) runs holding super-8 camera, pixillated
voice-over:”…but really they’re one age all their life, and you can see that age in someone’s face. But when I look at this face…”
image: CU bicycle wheel pixillated
voice-over: “I almost said her face, I almost said: when I look at her face, I think: she never had a childhood. She was never a teenager. She was always responsible, a grown-up, always did the right thing…”
image: Liisa Repo Martell (actor) runs holding super-8 camera, pixillated, slo-mo, freeze frames
voice-over: “…or tried to. She didn’t waste her time, she didn’t fuck around. The only problem she really had, this woman machine, this face, the only problem she really had, was that she was never all that happy.”
home movie montage: little girl on display
image: young girl on knee of her father,
young girl on knee of grandmother, older (same) girl on knee of mother shyly looks away from camera
underexposed blue dress woman in forest montage (10 shots)
dark wedding, couple emerge out of darkness from right to left followed by children,
the shot of children repeats backwards in slow motion supered with Liisa in booth
Actor in Booth
fade in: actor in sync in recording booth lights flicker on/off
“This is a picture of me and my sister Lynn. I know my sister looks like she’s thinking about Newton’s second law or why experience is like a toothpick, once you’ve had it nobody else wants it, but that isn’t it at all. She’s thinking about him all right because the only person that’s really looked at us like this is mom and dad, only, only he isn’t blood, no, not at all. And that makes all the difference.”
image: teen girl initiation. Four girls enter suburban attic room, greeted by four other girls. Liquid is poured over their hair, they are blindfolded and forced to kneel, before one has blind taken off and is kissed.
image: LS trees, magic hour tree and water, water, back of sign and horizon on beach
voice-over: “So it’s the end of the day, and the others have gone home. He’s asked me to stay and it’s cold, a lot colder than it looks because sometimes you can’t tell by looking, and there’s a smell coming off him, only you can’t know that, the smell doesn’t carry like the picture does, but it’s him alright, it’s Jock. I always know when he’s around because he always smells American.”
image: CU water beaker something is poured into it and stirred, bottle placed on shelf, red darkroom man pours liquid into tray
door opens, object moved on floor
zoom in to object, photographs cut
supered with: home movies, older woman on couch looks at pictures, she looks up slo mo
image: slate in sound studio booth in front of actor
image: photograph by Jock Sturges shows a teenager lyuing naked, her stomach on sand, camera pans from her face up to another woman (who is in the two previous pictures) who faces the viewer.
voice-over: “My sister whose bigger than me always says eat eat, you have to be as fat as possible to give happiness a bigger surface to stick to. She says I’m always so serious because I’m skinny. Somehow this head still doesn’t look like it belongs to the rest of me. My body is easy and relaxed, just soaking up the sun, while the head is asking: why me? Or: don’t look at me like that. Stop it. Your look is starting to stick to me and I can’t wipe it off, even when I’m alone, because I’m starting to look at myself like that. ”
Actor in Booth
image: dissolve to: actor in studio
“That’s what I didn’t know at the time. I’m starting to look at myself the way you’re looking at me now. I didn’t know that after having my picture taken things would change. They call it that, don’t they? Taking pictures. And then you find out the picture doesn’t really stop. The taking never really ends.”
image: LS girls running in slow motion
song: If you should ever leave me
Life would still go on believe me
The world would show nothing to me
So what good would living do me?
God only knows what I’d be without you
I may not always love you
As long as there are stars above you
You’ll never need to doubt it
I’ll make you so sure about it
God only knows what I’d be without you
God only knows what I’d be without you
God only knows what I’d be without you