Film Synopsis: The Stench Of Kerosine
Delilah Copperfield, a single woman living in New Orleans, unexpectedly awakes in a damp, dingy basement on the 21st of June with only a toilet, a shower and a bed which is nailed to the ground, with no recollection of how or why she is there and the only information she has about the ordeal is the paint on her walls which reads “exactly four years until you shall see the light of day again. ” Her last memory is of the 14th of February, with no recollection of what had happened in between.
All her basic needs are covered, just about keeping her alive as she is destroyed by the long and enduring torture of not knowing why this is being done to her. On the day she exits the house, exactly four years later to the day, having woken with the only door in the basement wide open she goes to a western style bar as her first step into normality, and in a slightly drunken state begins to tell her bizarre tale to a stranger at the table next to her. As they talk they discover they each have a particularly significant thing in common; both of their brothers had been killed in tragic car crashes.
The stranger, Leroy Trilby then decides to help her to seek her revenge as an attempt for them to help each other to get over what had happened to them. They begin by going back to the basement to investigate and track down the owner, who had been renting it out for the last four years to an unknown man. This leads them onto a string of suspects which ultimately leads them to one person; Frederic Demasio. Having found Demasio’s address, Delilah decides to go and find Demasio alone in the final showdown. However, Leroy who is not wholly convinced, sure that there is more to the story, investigates further.
As he does so he finds a really old article about how two people started a fire, but only one of them was found. It turns out the attacker that they caught was Delilah’s brother and as Leroy pieces together all the things that have happened he soon realises that Delilah isn’t a victim, but the person who helped her brother to go after Demasio. He gets in his car and starts after Delilah in the hope that he can stop her, still believing her amnesia prevented her from remembering this, and hence believing that she is still an innocent victim.
He rings her phone and leaves a message explaining that Demasio, a victim in all of this, locked her in the room for revenge because she killed his daughter. The audience assumes Delilah has received the message as she leaves the shack she was staying in and walks into the sunset in a typical clichi?? ending. However, the audience is shocked for the plot to turn completely upside down as we see Delilah take out gasoline from her bag next to an unknown. We then see that Delilah’s amnesia had gone after a mater of days and she was now out to finish the job.
She sets the car alight, which turns out to have both Demasio and Leroy inside, having received the phone message and hence knowing that Leroy knows too much. I have decided to use the song ‘House of the rising sun’ by the animals for several reasons. Firstly the tone and mood of the song is exactly that of the films end; one of complete loss and devastation and very melancholy. Also, the repeated acoustic chords running throughout in the background are very reminiscent of the music used in John Fords films and other modern, western inspired films like mine, such as ‘Naturally Born Killers’.
The song is also very suited to the climax, as it has a long solo near the beginning, helping to convey that the film has ended as Delilah walks into the sunset, when the reality is that the climax s just round the corner. I have used my shots and editing to create an emphasis and focus on the emotion and action of the ending, rather than dialogue, which also ties in with the function and effect of the music. The shots to begin with are positioned to create ambiguity and to redirect the audience’s attention to important factors such as the lighter. ** This is evident in frame (5) as, I have made sure that all focus from the audience is on Delilah’s word, which are of such an importance to the flow of the plot and film that I have made them the only words in the whole scene, by zooming into her trembling lips in an extreme close up and by blacking out all surroundings by using a keyhole shot. This slow build up creates tension as the audience finally hear the words; “I knew from the moment I left that shit hole it was you, and know I’m going to finish the job”. … ositioned to create ambiguity and to redirect the audiences attention to important factors such as the lighter. ***I have achieved this by using many close ups and having the focus in some shots off centre so that the audience is not fully aware of exactly what is happening until the very end, which would hopefully effect them in a way that they are still thinking about the ending even when the have left the cinema. I decided to do a drama, psychological thriller with a ‘western’ influence for several reasons, most importantly because it combined all of my favourite aspects of film.
I wanted to be able to include John Ford inspired shots, such as the infamous one from … which I used to portray Delilah as she left the shacked house in my story board in the desert, cleverly causing all focus to fall upon her. I also wanted to use a generic-hybrid, as this is a draft for a feature length film, as this would inevitably help production, appealing to a wider audience as the film entails several genres. This particular combination, however, was particularly inspired by the film memento which uses the same generic combination to create a dark side to the plot, which were my intentions exactly.
However, to truly achieve this effect I had to change my film synopsis several times. I have evolved the plot into a story which originally let the audience play God, knowing full well that Delilah’s amnesia had gone and that she was not the victim, into a plot that fools the audience until the very end, which I decided to storyboard, when the audience finally learns the protagonist is in fact the offender. I initially found it quite difficult to transfer my ideas onto paper, but after researching the synopsis’ of the films I was going to connect and influence my movie on I soon over came this ‘writers block’.
As I am aiming this film to a young audience of 15-30 (as this is the age group that takes up the largest percentage of the films I have been influenced by, such as kill bill and memento) I chose ten friends and family of this age with an interest in the above films to over look my synopsis, storyboard and cinematic ideas. The general feedback was positive, claiming that if they had read the synopsis in an article they would have been encouraged to go and see it.
However, criticism included that the ending confused them. Because of this I not only changed my ending (as have already explained) but also changed by storyboard from a scene at the start to the very last, so there could be little confusion. On showing my practise audience the changes they then fully understood the plot and my intentions. If I were to produce this idea as a feature film I would hope to use actors and actresses which had not yet broken through into mainstream.
This is because I created this film with the intention of it being an indie film, hence the inspired music and film influence. In fact, during the making of memento Brad Pitt auditioned at the peak of his Hollywood career, but was turned down for this exact reason. For the same reason I would not expect the film to be distributed nation wide, but begin in select cinemas such as the Covent Garden Odeon and the Clapham Picture house, where art house films such as the Japanese old boy began, then expanding as it proved to be extremely popular.
The film should not prove to cause any problems with regulation or censorship and I would expect an average sized budget of around… from a smaller company such as… who aim to take in small scale films. Thus, I feel my sequence successfully works as both a process and a product having researched carefully using both the internet and a target audience to look over my work.