Year

2005

Degree Name

Master of Creative Arts (Research)

Department

Faculty of Creative Arts

Abstract

Lives of the Saints is a feature-length, multi-story film screenplay, which explores the obstacles and ethical dilemmas of three protagonists, George, Kristine and Marianne, in their struggle for self actualisation. The screenplay is an example of the siege genre. It is largely structured as a sequential narration but also utilises non-linear narration. The work explores the premise that a saint is one who remains true both to the self and to their responsibilities. The protagonists' journeys begin with the death of a young girl, Rosetta, who has a connection to them all. Each protagonist responds to this event in his/her own way and embarks upon a search for a more satisfying way of life, and for freedom of selfexpression. Middle-aged George explores emerging gender and sexuality issues. Adolescent Kristine finds her faith in God, and in her mother, waning but has nothing to replace them with. Marianne, the driver of the car that killed Rosetta, is initially determined to avoid responsibility for the death, but ultimately finds her own liberation in doing so. George and Kristine's path to self actualisation also puts them in conflict with their families. Marianne too, in trying to escape responsibility, is at odds with those around her. Ultimately however each protagonist is able to resolve their situations and allow room for consideration of the needs of others. Striking a new balance between the self and others allows the protagonists to attain 'sainthood' as defined by the work. An academic commentary outlines the influences and writing process for Lives of the Saints. An exploration of ethical philosophy, specifically Christian, Ancient Greek and Hindu, was an important step in the development of the screenplay's premise and in the creation of the ethical worlds of particular characters. An understanding of sainthood, across religions and as a secular concept, was also important. The choice of narrative structure is discussed; the various stages and challenges in the writing process itself; and an understanding of the work in terms of film genre are also given. The commentary also details with the use of image in the work and places the screenplay in the context of a post World War Two film culture.

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