'The Pool' is a short film I'm planning to shoot this summer.
Set in the far flung mountains of a fictional Mongolian wilderness, travellers Mark and Emma traverse an epic expanse. Hiking by day and camping by night, the young couple journey through some of the most beautiful landscapes unknown to man.
Despite the beauty, there is a heaviness to Mark's movements. A mark that cannot be healed. His is a heavy heart that Emma carries softly.
One day, as they reach yet another peak of the infinite expanse, Emma sights a small Lake below them. Not recorded on any of their maps, she decides to investigate. With Mark reluctantly trudging on her heels, they descend the hillside to the water's edge.
In the middle of the Lake stands a Man staring up the sky. Dressed in sun stained clothes, he appears oblivious to the young couple at the shoreline. But when Emma calls out to him in Russian, then English, the Man in the Lake begins to tell them the story of the Water. And the history it contains.
Images from 'The Pool's' lookbook
Centuries ago, an old woman named Yisun was found here. Collecting water into a bottle she sealed carefully, she begins a long journey. Climbing mountains, traversing thick forests and deep valleys, we watch Yisun travel endless miles back to her home.
Inside the walls of her Yurt, Yisun's sickly elderly husband lays dying from an infection. She turns his body to reveal a wound upon his back. Pouring water onto it, she waits for a miracle that does not come. The liquid she has preciously carried back from the Lake has not healed him.
Quickly but methodically, Yisun dismantles the Yurt to make a stretcher within a sled. Lifting her husband into it, she begins her journey again, pulling her husband through deep valleys and thick forests. Over mountains and the miles they contain, onward to the Lake.
Every step is hard. Every pull of the sled a mountain. But despite the physical weight, Yisun continues. It is love and the fear of losing it, that drives her.
Arriving at the Lake she moves the sled and her husband within it, into the water. She waits for a reaction. All hope too. Suddenly within the water we see it. Her husband, transformed back to youth. We see the Man in the Lake in his form. The infection of his back healed and cured all. Yisun takes to the water as well. Her body transformed to youth. They rejoice in power of the water. In one another. Her relief, his gratitude.
As Yisun leaves the Lake, we see her transform again - back to the age of before. It is only within the boundary of the water's edge where youth is transformed. And so when her husband returns to the shore, aging too, we see a pain in his back. Blood again born. He is not cured. He will not be.
When Yisun asks for his hand to return home, he does not take it. Choosing instead to stay within the Water. In a prison of youthful form.
'The Pool' - shooting location in the Lake District
As the Man of the Lake finishes his story, Emma questions whether fear should ever win in a battle with love. She bids the Man of the Lake goodbye.
Mark addresses the Man of the Lake without looking at him. Telling him that Emma's cancer has returned once more. That she won't fight it with treatment this time. That "she believes one day making memories is better than a thousand days remembering them...".
When Mark leaves the water, hugging his wife with an understanding now known, the Man in the Lake returns to the shoreline, aged and dying, asking the couple to bury him.
The film will be directed by me, and produced by my great friend, Georgina Walker-Ralph. Our attached cinematographer is the award winning, unbelievably talented Tamás Apor Méder.
Please find the script below (or email email@example.com for a pdf copy):