So, some of you know and some of you may not, but since last September I have been studying for my MA in Film Studies at Wolverhampton University, and I’m enjoying it immensely. To be talking film back in academic settings is something I have missed for a few years now, and the opportunity to get funding for the MA coming up last year helped intensify my encouragement to go for it, like I’d been planning to for a few years now, just not being able to afford it.
Which brings me to this blog entry. This semester, I am taking part in the Scriptwriting module, a course that is very close to my heart already what with my love of writing, so when this was offered I jumped at the chance! So every now and again, on here, if you see MA Scriptwriting as a title, feel free to have a nose, but they are to help form part of an ongoing portfolio I guess you could say, for the coursework, which requires me to show my workings, my techniques as well as reflections on writing a script for submission in May time.
So, we started around two weeks ago, and I must admit, my brain has been a bit empty of late, as I’ve been doing some interviews about GRID, filming SUSTAIN, as well as working on post-production for SCREAMING DEATH – all of which are keeping it focused and mildly chaotic. But I’m always on the look out still for those small stories, the ones that are rarely seen, or even heard of, yet when I see them, they immediately jump out at me and my mind is immediately swarming with mental images of how a scene can play out, who could play a specific role, as well as what the conflicts could be (there’s always more than one, where would the fun be else!?). And this moment kind of happened to me the other day.
I stumbled across this article through a facebook group I’m part of, and when I read it I was taken aback by it. Because not only do the themes of being gay speak to me, but how brave this person was, and yet how scared he must have been at the same time.
LINK TO ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Willem Arondeus demonstrates the best of the human spirit in my eyes. He isn’t well known, his story has never been made into a film (why on earth not doesn’t really surprise me, Hollywood is not known for making that many films featuring a gay male lead in a blockbuster that could rival the likes of similar WWII biopics like Schindler’s List), and yet his life was purposeful. He quite possibly saved a few hundreds of people, maybe even more. He was also openly Gay and fought against not only Nazi occupation, but personal prejudice, and in a modern world where the US Government is openly causing segregation against communities of people, I feel this time is perhaps the best context for Willem’s story to be told.
Working Title: WILLEM
It is July 1st 1943. In a confined prison cell, Willem Arondeus, a Dutch resistance fighter, has been convicted of blowing up a building that held records kept by the Nazi’s of Netherland citizens, in an attempt to fight back against the ever growing rise of fascism.
As Willem sits alone in the cell, he is accompanied by a lone Nazi officer, who has been tasked to watch him, to make sure he doesn’t escape. As time seemingly counts down to some unspoken event, Willem decides to confide in this enemy, and reveals not only his homosexuality, but also recalls some of his most treasured moments from his life, as well as recounting the events of the bombing to justify his actions.
As Willem retraces everything about his life that was good, even those stemming from his open homosexuality, the guard suddenly comes over to him and places a kiss on his lips, revealing his own sexual insecurities that can never be realised. As the moment passes, the guard asks if Willem has one last request. He replies by handing the guard a piece of paper addressed to his lawyer, that simply states ‘Homosexuals are not cowards’.
As the guard suddenly pulls away for fear of being caught kissing his prisoner, more guards enter the room, take Willem outside and we hear a firing squad take his life, leaving the young Nazi officer with the message inside the cell still.
After writing the above outline, I am very much more overcome by the possibilities that this short eventual script could achieve, through more dialogue, the idea of time running out, yet all the while Willem (seen right), never waivers, or loses hope. He had accepted his fate and stands defiant, against the Nazis and those who would attempt to oppress his life choices.
I also like the symbolism as well, that Willem is taken outside of his confinement, to defiantly stand in the face of death without ever compromising himself or his belifes under a blue sky perhaps (although we do not see the actual shooting, just hear it), while the closested Nazi officer remains in the cell, forever imprisoned by his sexuality.
Already I want to write and direct this film!