A Screenplay of The Awakening
Locale: New Orleans and Grand Isle, Louisiana
The opening shot shows a slow fade on the closely bedded spring flowers of a southern Cottage garden. Bougainvillea trail through the carved rails of a low ironwork fence, and an untamed hibiscus suggests the tropical. The colors are vibrant, the shapes indistinct; the shadowless sunlight weighs heavily, as a silence. The moment lingers; then the air of expectancy is realized by a shot of JOE's hand as he unlatches the gate.
Joe is the young black houseboy of the Pontelliers. He is dressed in somber livery and carries a large silver basket. A series of oddly angled shots accompany his movements: his lower legs on the bricked path; a startled bird (the whir of wings); his upper body; the basket; the Dutch door of the cottage office, bottom-half closed, top-half latched outward; and the sign, "Dr. Mandelet."
Large on the screen is the oversized card Joe hands over the doorsill; on it is the silhouette of a weeping willow, bordered with a wide black strip.
The camera pulls back to reveal an English study in which the furniture, books, and objects are all carelessly arranged. DR. MANDELET, who is rather hefty, rises, though only his side and arm are visible, to take the card. Joe's retreating steps resound on the path. The doctor sinks back in his desk chair.