The Voyage Out

The Voyage Out

THE VOYAGE OUT

 

BLACK SCREEN.

ARTHUR (V.O.)
I feel certain that I am going mad again. And I shan’t recover this time.

OST: Frank Sinatra, Glad to be unhappy.

INT. ARTHUR’S APARTMENT – LIVING ROOM – DAY Three close-ups:
– a dream catcher
– a bag that reads “PINK FLOYD”.

– a self-portrait by Frida Kahlo.

FADE IN:

A WIDE SHOT: ARTHUR (26) lies down on the sofa of his living room.

He smokes a cigarette, looking at the ceiling. The only light comes from the large window.

ARTHUR (V.O.)
So I am doing what seems the best thing to do.

INT. ARTHUR’S APARTMENT – KITCHEN – DAY
Arthur takes a pair of scissors out of a closet.

INT. ARTHUR’S APARTMENT – BATHROOM – DAY

Arthur grabs a razor blade and several boxes of medicine.

He hears someone KNOCKING on the front door.

He turns around. This is the first time his face appears in a large close-up. What is striking is his stillness, his peace.

INT. ARTHUR’S APARTMENT – HALLWAY – DAY

Arthur opens the front door.
LEAH (28) stands there.

Her bright smile fades away as she sees what Arthur holds in his hands: the scissors, the razor blade and the medicine.

She points towards a badge on her chest that reads PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, and then towards the interior of the apartment.

Arthur tries to close the door but she pushes it back. Arthur frowns.

Close-up on Leah, who has a weak smile.

LEAH
Please?

Arthur sighs and shrugs his shoulders. He steps back, letting her in.

She follows him into the living room.

INT. ARTHUR’S APARTMENT – LIVING ROOM – DAY On the table, there is a large kitchen knife.

Next to it, Arthur puts the scissors, the razor and the pills.

Leah stands behind him. Her eyes widen when she makes the connexion between the objects and Arthur. She shakes her head.

ARTHUR (V.O.)
You have given me the greatest possible happiness.

Arthur is lost in thoughts. To get his attention, Leah grabs him by the shoulders.

He barely looks at her, as if she were invisible. Leah steps back and turns on the light inside the living room. (The transition from darkness to light is fast, brutal.)

Leah pushes all the objects away from the edge of the table. She puts her hand on Arthur’s chin and pulls him towards her.

There’s a moment of stillness, of silence, as they stare at each other.

Leah takes his hand and leads him to the couch. They observe and touch each other’s faces, softly.

ARTHUR (V.O.)
You have been entirely patient withme and incredibly good.

Leah embraces Arthur. She looks around. How can she convince him to live? She spots a PICTURE of his family.

She points towards it: don’t you want to live for them?

Arthur stands up, walks towards the picture, and pushes it towards the floor, discarding it.

When he turns towards Leah, she’s pointing at a book – The Golden Notebook (Doris Lessing). Arthur takes in his hands, kisses the front cover, and lets it fall on the floor.

Leah frowns, worried. She looks around her. There’s a vase on the table, with one flower inside. She stands up and takes it in her hands.

She offers it to Arthur, who lifts the flower out of the vase. He looks at it, smiling, and closes his eyes to smell it. Then, slowly, he opens his hand, and the flower falls.

Leah winces and looks down. Her breathing quickens. She runs her hands through her hair and clenches her jaw.

Arthur watches her from a distance. He both pities and admires her sadness. He is peaceful – she is conflicted. He passes his hand along his neck: what could I do to make her feel better? to make her understand?

A smile appears on his face as he has an idea. He puts on a song (Heureux, by Jacques Brel) and extends his arm towards Leah. She takes his hand.

They start dancing.

At first, their dance is mechanical, embarrassed – like a waltz.

A bright light appears above their heads, as if they were performing on a stage.

ARTHUR (V.O.)
Rope?
(she shakes her head)
Medicine?

LEAH
Isn’t failing to die worse than failing to live?

She takes his hand and she makes him touch her forehead, her eyes, her lips, her neck, her hips.

Their dance becomes passionate – a tango, a very slow and languorous tango.

LEAH (CONT’D)
Wouldn’t you stay for my eyes?

Arthur looks at her beautiful eyes and his smile fades away. He caresses them. But he doesn’t answer.

LEAH (CONT’D)
For my lips?

Same reaction.

Arthur looks at the ceiling as he breathes deeply in and out. Then, he seems as determined as he was before – and their eyes meet again.

ARTHUR
Blade?

LEAH
Too messy. And painful.

Arthur’s eyes meet hers.

ARTHUR
Have you ever thought about it?

Leah frowns. Then, she understands he’s talking about suicide. She nods, once.

LEAH
I’m better now.

Arthur wraps his arms tight around her waist. Their dance changes again. It becomes tender. Their faces get closer, until their foreheads touch.

ARTHUR (V.O.)
If anybody could have saved me, it would have been you.

INT. ARTHUR’S APARTMENT – LIVING ROOM – DAY

Leah lies down on the sofa. Arthur stands against a wall. Close-up on Arthur’s face during his whole monologue.

ARTHUR
My grandfather was about to die. We celebrated his last birthday in the hospital. It was joyful, tender.
(he turns towards Leah)
He smiled and thanked us. He said: “This is my time. I am not scared. I am ready to die. In peace.”
(his smile gets brighter)
Now I know what he meant.

Arthur lies down next to Leah. He takes her in his arms. She puts her head on his chest.

A close-up on Leah’s face shows her anguish, her sadness – almost as if she were already nostalgic, as if she were already grieving.

Arthur passes his hand along Leah’s hair, shoulders and waist. Then, he looks at his watch.

Leah winces.
She sits up slowly. Her breathing becomes louder.

Arthur stands up. He kisses her on the temple, then on each eyelid.

She doesn’t move.
He walks towards the hallway. When he’s about to disappear –

LEAH
Arthur?

Arthur stops but doesn’t look back.

LEAH (CONT’D)
The window.

Arthur nods. A calm smile appears on his face. He disappears into the hallway.

Leah stays paralyzed on the sofa for a couple of seconds. Her breathing keeps getting louder and quicker.

She hears Arthur’s STEPS. She stands up and walks towards the picture of his family. She puts it back on a shelf.

ARTHUR (V.O.)
I can’t fight any longer.

She hears Arthur OPENING THE WINDOW. She puts the Doris Lessing’s book on the table and the flower in the vase.

She looks at her watch.

She walks towards the hallway and disappears into its darkness as well.

INT. ARTHUR’S APARTMENT – BEDROOM – DAY

Leah stands at the threshold, her arms extended on each side, reaching for the walls – reaching for support.

In front of her, the window is open.

We still hear her breathing, and, low, distant sounds of screams and of an ambulance.

From behind, she looks like a crucified woman, like a cross.

ARTHUR (V.O.)
Everything has gone from me but the certainty of your goodness.

Leah’s arms slide against the wall. She lowers her head.

FADE TO BLACK.

ARTHUR (V.O.)
I don’t think two people could have been happier than we have been.

 

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