Key decision in my run up to the next screenplay is selecting the music tracks. Even if things all get tossed out, I like building a file of songs that catch the flavor.
Bossa is of course Brazilian built for yearning, heartbreak and pathos. You want to dance you’ll play a samba.
Bye, Bye Brazil tells the story of a group of street performers trying to remain true to their musical roots when one of their players betrays the group and sells out playing a kind of disco version of their culture’s roots music. Members of the band desperate and broke drinking in a bar in a slum look up and see their former player on a television show dressed in a sequin shirt playing his accordion in the ridiculous new disco style.
That’s not what I have in mind here. Instead I’d like to play the sexy singer thing and the common man dreaming of having a love affair with her. The lyrics of yearning in The Girl from Ipanema nail it.
Plot line is simple. Man sees singer, singer and man fumble in twist and turns towards a relationship only after failing to achieve such a thing to begin with.
The background is all the climate chaos that has now become part of our daily lives. Most of us in the United States have now seen Air Quality monitoring agencies warning of wildfire smoke. We read with some detachment about the melting ice sheets at the North and South Poles. Coral reefs across the oceans of the world are under stress, like the ice sheets there’s little we can do.
In this plot the key physical climate induced problem will be one particular piece of the collapsing cliffs along the 840 miles of California coastline. There are 50 sites identified, many in remote uninhabited roadless areas, while others are located in critical urban areas.
There are no actual nightclubs threatened, none featuring bossa nova singers and/or samba dance clubs, that’s good since I can write without fear of litigation. I just need a plausible location.
I like the cultural visa, lot of friends from Canada come here under such documents to perform. Usually they are issued with a contract and a fixed set of dates. To remain in the country you’d need a green card or marry a citizen. Good! Plus, we can likely work undocumented workers into the kitchen at the club, all here because of the climate back where they come from down there.
If we know that the club is going to collapse into the Pacific Ocean at the end, what can we do before the tragic ending— I’d like to have the club staff and patrons all in climate related stress, but in subtle ways. There could be surprising weather events, wildfires, floods, downpours, heatwaves, odd insect invasions, cold snaps that harm gardens, peculiar bird migration, whales off the coast when they shouldn’t be.
I’ll puzzle out the singer and her or his suitor, line out their beginning, middle and end point then turn my attention to the club owner and the engineer called into stabilize the cliff the nightclub is perched on.
Climate change comedy because we need to look fearlessly at our problem’s, and then laugh in the face of the challenge. Catharsis is a big fancy word, but laughter is good medicine, and to extract ourselves from the fix we are in we’ll need to laugh in the face of the challenge.
Bergman and Bogart in Casablanca, now there’s a fine plotting of a love affair. I do like the angst, and of course a bossa nova singer likely comes with a freighted past, a long line of lovers, and so I’ll need to figure out how much heartbreak and sorrow this comedy can afford, because the really great comedy’s frame the heartbreak, the certainty of loss with the surprising twist of a happy ending. Lot of conjuring to do here—