FIRST, THE DIRECTOR made a pitch. The film finance people told him to get a scriptwriter. ‘I’ve got a vision,’ he said, but they told him he needed a script as well as a vision or otherwise they wouldn’t fund the film and they wanted to fund it because they liked the idea of the sea and the cello-playing heroine and the nexus between the rhythms of the ocean and of the music and the dairy; the milking-machines, the cows, the leisurely coastal ebb and flow of peoples’ lives – everything had a rhythm, they said. What was needed was a script.
A woman on a white beach in a sun hat, holding a walking stick, intricately carved, and walking a dog. Sunset. The waves are pale grey, vitreous, like glass in the making. The sun has lost its heat, darkness is imminent. The world is holding its breath. She stares out to sea, very still, and then the dog barks joyously and leaps but the woman doesn’t turn. A man approaches and the dog runs to meet him, leaping higher now. Still the woman has her face turned to the sea and it is only when the man is right beside her that she turns her face to look at him. The woman’s name is Sylvia Meridew, and she is almost deaf. She is also dying. Dying just like the dairy industry that once animated the coastal town and gave life to the farmers and the shopkeepers in the district. The man who has come to walk her back to her house is her son, Max. Max Meridew.
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