The Man Who Collected “Violet”

The Man Who Collected “Violet”
FADE IN:
INT. THE THEATRE ROOM – DAY
The camera slowly moves over the room, on the walls are the lurid images of Italian style exploitation movie posters of the 70’s. Between these are shelves filled with DVD cases, to begin with the titles we know: The Exorcist, Evil Dead and Cannibal Holocaust among them.
THE COLLECTOR
(v.o.)
It was unloved before it got to me, freezing basements and baking attics had made the film brittle, its soft edits insecure. Every time I run it I take a chance…
These give way to coverless cases, some with typed titles on self adhesive “punch tape”. These have titles that an aficionado of film may recognise, titles for long lost films from the horror genre, films thought no longer in existence.
Beside these are VHS video cassettes, similarly labelled; and beside these are film cans.
THE COLLECTOR
(v.o.)
Each time the film is run the risk is higher, but my need grows more intense… To touch what she had touched… To see her again…
FOCUS FADE: A mans hands, The COLLECTOR, as he turns over a package wrapped in crumpled brown paper. A dozen stamps decorate the front of it.
The COLLECTOR rips it open carefully, sliding out a thin box measuring six inches square and an inch high. He opens the box reverently and looks at the contents.
It is a REEL OF AUDIO TAPE.
The COLLECTOR, caught in silhouette, raises the REEL to his lips as if to kiss it.
THE COLLECTOR
(v.o.)
The reel of tape cost more than I could afford, but by the time the creditors could appear I would have already put a voice alongside her soft eyes and brittle black hair.
INT. LIVING ROOM – EFX (16mm Footage)
A woman, VIOLET, raises the very same REEL to her lips and pauses a moment before glancing at the camera. She has dark hair and dark skin, she is of middle-eastern descent.
INT. THE THEATRE ROOM – DAY
A SPECTO 16mm film projector in CLOSE UP: Hands lace up a reel of 16mm film.
An old but serviceable screen is setup.
Lastly a REEL TO REEL TAPE DECK is laced, a long length of blank HEADER beginning to run through the machine.
In CLOSE UP: The edge of the MAGNETIC TAPE is positioned at the HEADS but it is not turned on.
Next to the TAPE DECK is an old RECORD PLAYER, a 33rpm RECORD already on it.
The COLLECTOR sits down in a large worn chair. We do not see his face but we can see nervousness in his short erratic movements. He leans towards the projector…
THE COLLECTOR
(v.o)
Now I have every frame and every inch of audio tape, I hope it is enough…
The PROJECTOR is turned on, the irregular FRAME OF WHITE projected onto the screen, marred by dirt and scratches.
EXT. MONTAGE – EFX (16mm Footage)
The PROJECTED FILM begins with an almost random selection of SILENT shots, each collection of clips seperated by a LENGTH OF BLANK HEADER film: Trains on platforms and people scampering about mixed with the skyline of cities. Each shot contains a moment or two of VIOLET.
The PROJECTED FILM cuts to a close up of VIOLET outside; perhaps in a children’s park. The film is shot backwards and her hair moves oddly as she turns to the camera (originally she would have been turning away). She smiles and the smile seems seductive.
The PROJECTED FILM pans roughly to a close of her lips and then to one eye, the colour of the image seems to make her eyes violet in colour; she closes her eyes and drops her head in faux coyness.
As the CAMERA moves away we see her arm in frame, this is a “selfie”.
The PROJECTED FILM then moves indoors, it PANS over the walls and VIOLET turns the CAMERA to face her as she walks into the LIVING ROOM.
VIOLET moves to a record player and drops the needle onto the platter, turning the volume down a little. Music begins to play, a kind of soft jazz to which she begins to sway a little to it; but the movement seems mournful.
INT. THEATRE ROOM – DAY
The FRAME PANS over the COLLECTORS RECORD PLAYER as it turns, the same record playing. The FRAME PANS to the screen…
EXT. MONTAGE – EFX (16mm Footage)
She takes the CAMERA to the sofa; she turns and sits with an eerie lady-like grace.
The CAMERA ROUGHLY CUTS. The CAMERA is now either on a tripod or a table or chair. A REEL TO REEL TAPE DECK, identical to the one we just watched laced is beside her. VIOLET leans over to it and starts it RECORDING.
INT.THEATRE ROOM – DAY
A mans hand turns the REEL TO REEL TAPE DECK to PLAY.
At first the sound is just VIOLETS movements. They are slightly OUT OF SYNC to the film being played.
INT. LIVING ROOM – EFX (16mm Footage)
(As she begins to speak The COLLECTOR sits forward in his chair and gasps a little at the sound of her voice. Her accent has a vaguely Scottish lilt, an accent that jarred slightly with her exotic Middle Eastern appearance.)
VIOLET
(Calmly)
I know there’s only one thing you will be asking; why…
Her voice is refined and firm, but it carries a sense of pain or reluctance. She pauses a moment.
VIOLET
Why…
Her voice drops in volume, becoming introspective.
VIOLET
Under the circumstances I think that’s the only thing you don’t know about me. By now I’ve probably been weighed and measured, and strangers have touched parts of me no one else has even seen…
She looks into the LENS a moment before continuing.
VIOLET
You probably know more about me than I do… That is, apart from “why”…
She looks OFF CAMERA, nodding slightly towards her unseen bookcase.
VIOLET
A look through my books and you know what I study. Psychology and Feminism, I’d guess you would know which are accredited studies… You probably turn your nose up at the one that isn’t…
Again she pauses and looks into the LENS, this time with a wry smile.
VIOLET
I have studied people, and I know I am not afraid of people, what I do isn’t because of fear; and it’s not because of hate… I don’t think I believe in either… But I do believe in hope…
She stares into the LENS as if trying to will the next words out of her mouth.
VIOLET
And now I believe in the absence of hope too…
This time the pause is very long, long enough for the COLLECTOR to think she had stopped speaking entirely. She lowers her head and for a moment she speaks without us seeing her face…
VIOLET
The headlines are the same everywhere I look, the “Moors Murderers” in black lettering with little pictures of children underneath. It makes me sick right to my stomach, but I read every article to the end…
Again she is looking into the LENS with purposeful directness.
VIOLET
They recorded the children’s pain on reels of magnetic tape, their cries of pain and their calls for their mother caught forever… If the perverts who had them weren’t imbecilic they’d have used a camera like this one as well… I thank God they were fools…
Once again she pauses, oddly she unbuttons the top few buttons of her blouse. The act would be sexy if it were not for the words she speaks… She pulls her blouse open slightly at the neck, baring her throat.
VIOLET
Yesterday I overheard two men speaking about it. They were sat near the back of a bus I take and they didn’t realise I could hear… One asked if the other would listen to the tapes… And the other replied “why, do you have them?”… And then he grinned… He actually grinned…
She pauses and reaches OFF CAMERA without looking away from the LENS.
VIOLET
We’re damned Mr Policeman, when a child’s death is no more than entertainment to people; we’re just damned…
She raises a long knife into the FRAME, she does not look at it, her composure is hard but under it we can sense she is ready to fall into hysteria. As she speaks the knife unconsciously drops out of FRAME.
VIOLET
A few years ago a Buddhist monk set fire to himself in protest somewhere in Vietnam. They said that as he burned he didn’t move a muscle or make a sound. I’m not as brave as he was, I can’t burn… But I can protest in my own way… This isn’t going to be very nice… I’m sorry…
She pauses and stabs upward with the knife, driving the point into her throat to the left of her jaw, using both hands she drags the blade through her throat until her fingers become too weak and the blade slides through them and onto the floor. Blood cascades over her chest from the wound and she drops OUT OF FRAME.
For a long moment the FRAME stays on the empty sofa, until the REEL RUNS OUT.
INT.THEATRE ROOM – DAY
The 16mm film finishes running through the PROJECTOR and then flips again and again around the spinning REEL.
A moment later the AUDIO REEL does the same.
The COLLECTORS hand rests on the arm of the chair, it trembles. He lifts it and clasps his hands together almost as if in prayer. He raises them to his face and we see IN CLOSE UP his eye as tears fall from it, making his hands glisten in the PROJECTORS light.
THE COLLECTOR
(v.o)
I had every frame and every inch of audio tape, and I hoped it was enough… It was too much… I feel sick…
Under the flickering PROJECTOR light we MATCH DISSOLVE TO:
EXT. WOODLAND – NIGHT
The COLLECTORS hand, his chin resting in it. A WIDER SHOT reveals he is sitting next to a small open fire which he pokes with a long stick. He looks up into the sky.
THE COLLECTOR
(v.o)
She had been given the name Aneeqa McKee-Dutta by her parents, a mother from India and a father from Scotland. She died at the age of twenty-two; by her own hand…
Overhead the stars are bright and clear.
CLOSE UP: He places the stick aside, his hands still shake.
WIDEANGLE: He pulls a bag closer and pulls out a FLASK and drinks directly from it.
THE COLLECTOR
(v.o)
I had called her “Violet” because of a flaw in the old film, a moment that showed eyes of that colour…
CLOSE UP: The fire as a REEL of AUDIO TAPE is tossed in beside an already burning REEL of 16mm film.
THE COLLECTOR
(v.o)
The same colour that the film now burns…
CLOSE UP: The REELS melt and the film burns, the fire sparking into brilliant violet flames.
ROLL CREDITS:
THE END.

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