Kate Chopin's the Awakening: Screenplay as Interpretation

By Marilyn Hoder-Salmon | Go to book overview

sits forward in bed, head bent, supported by the nurse on one side and on the other by Edna. They gently ease Adèle back against the pillows. Adèle's face is drawn, and she is damp with perspiration. Edna and the nurse exchange glances. Adèle clenches her friend's arm. The shot changes to an image of the open window, where a light rain drops on the sill.


Scene 9. Past time: Summer. The Grand Isle dinner party.

This sequence begins with a close shot of the Pontellier cottage window viewed from the porch. Edna's hand gathers the lace curtain aside, and she peers out. Reverse angle: from her perspective the camera slides across the sloping lawn to the water oaks. There, in the dusk, two formally set dinner tables stand between two huge trees [ Chopin, Waltz in G-Flat Major, Op. 70, No. 1].

Immediately the image changes, and the strong colors of a lighted Chinese lantern blurred by motion almost fill the screen. The camera pulls away to reveal MADAME LEBRUN steadying the lantern. An attractive woman, she is middle-aged, ebullient, and as always, dressed in white. She surveys the scene before her with obvious satisfaction.

It is darker now, but the scene is still well lit. The lanterns strung between the reaching tree limbs give a soft light, and mosquito torches are placed at intervals. The table settings are luxurious, all in silver, crystal, and white, with wreaths of flowers set between tall candelabra.

The camera cuts to the main house. Victor emerges on the porch, pauses, then importantly rings the bell. The parrot's screech annoys Victor, and he jostles the cage as the camera moves in for a close shot of its swinging arc. This image dissolves to a close shot of a guest's hoopskirt as it sways with a lively motion. Then with a series of random shots, somewhat matching the rhythm of couples entering a dance floor, the guests gather on the galleries. Couples arm in arm greet each other. The children race ahead; their indecipherable chatter is heard as all advance down the lawn toward the luminous banquet tables.

This series is followed by shots of the dinner in progress, all in the same rhythm, with a gradual acceleration as the spirited mood develops. Mme Lebrun presides and guides the service of elaborate

-39-

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