In a Savage Land (1999) Movie Script

I once met a man.
Not my husband.
Another man.
You look back on a life,
what will you take with you into the dark?
For me, I'll take the
smell of a pearl shell
freshly opened one late day on a beach.
- All right now, my young
seekers of the truth.
We come to the subject
that you've been waiting
all semester for,
cultural construction
and the sexual impulse.
No doubt you've been doing
extracurricular research in preparation.
For two
years he was just a voice.
Okay now.
scribble words on a page.
- The triggers for desire.
What are they?
The product of cultural construction,
custom and ritual,
or merely innate expressions of
primitive sublimations over which we have
little or no control?
Other than perhaps a Tommy Dorsey record
and a bottle of Johnnie Walker's.
He was
brilliant, he was published.
And although he had the world in his head
he could still make me laugh.
- Hi.
- Hello.
- Do you mind?
- Of course not.
- So you don't drink?
- Never.
- Your father an alcoholic?
- Oh, God, no he's an engineer.
- What, mechanical, electrical,
animal, vegetable, mineral?
- He builds bridges.
He worked on the Harbour Bridge in Sydney.
- Hmm, a bridge builder.
Advancing the cause of civilisation.
So you're the product of the mind.
- Hmm, I'm the product
of a sexual impulse.
- To the sexual impulse.
Ladies and gentlemen,
sorry to interrupt.
There's just been a
broadcast on the wireless.
We are officially at war with Germany.
- Linnie.
- What?
- Look, Malinowski.
It's in good condition too.
- Oh, fantastic.
- And you know, for a monograph
I was thinking of doing a
field trip to the Trobriands.
- Really?
- Yeah.
Post Malinowski.
No one's done any serious follow up work.
- It's true.
- It's such an incredible culture.
Linnie, you'd love it there.
Their kinship, their male-female domains,
the mourning rituals.
- I'd love it?
- Oh, I need a linguist, and
you're the best one I know.
We could get a grant.
Geoffrey would give us a grant...
if we were married.
I'm sorry.
I have a circumlocutory
way of saying things.
Get on your knee.
- Not here, Linnie, for God's sake.
- Okay.
- Evelyn.
Will you marry me?
- Yes, Phillip, I will marry you.
- So, the Trobriands.
Tell me, what little
pearls of cultural wisdom
do you have to pick up
that were overlooked by
the esteemed Malinowski?
- I'm interested sir,
in how a matrilineal
society utilises sexuality
to increase social dominance.
- Contentious material, Phillip,
and fraught with all sorts of grave risks.
Academically, I mean.
- I'm no stranger to
professional criticism, sir.
- No, quite.
They tell me you have a keen
ear for languages, young lady.
First class honours, I see.
- She's brilliant, sir.
She's the most promising young graduate
I had-
- So tell me, Mrs. Spence.
Why did you choose anthropology?
- Simply sir, because it's one
of the few science faculties
that would deign to tolerate a woman.
- Trobriands.
They call them the Islands of Love
in reference to the natives' rather
exotic and promiscuous sexual activities.
Hardly a suitable place for a woman,
wouldn't you say?
- Why then would it be any
more suitable for a man?
- All right, Phillip.
I'll have a word to the exec.
- Thank you, sir.
Oh, yes!
Look, it's the.
There's the yam house, the bachelor house.
It's exactly as he described it.
- One of the chief's wives.
- How many does he have?
- 11.
He used to have 12
but one of them did a jumper.
- A jumper?
- Yeah, got caught with another bloke
so she dressed up in her best clubber,
climbed up that tree
over there and dived off.
- What happened to the other man?
- Had to leave the village.
This is Inupi, one of the chief's nieces.
- Hello.
- She speaks a little English.
- Hello.
- She'll help you
get set up.
- Hello.
- Okay, that'll be 50
quid for the passage and
15 for the back out stuff.
- 15 quid?
- Market price.
Anything else you need?
Pencils, soap?
Dunny paper?
We're fine, thank you.
- All right, well I've gotta go.
Got an old girlfriend in another village.
You know how it is.
A word of advice.
Don't trust them.
They're beautiful, these people.
Best in the world, but don't
believe a word they say.
They're all liars and tricksters.
- It's true, Tomai.
We are all liars and tricksters.
What's going on?
Where's everyone going?
To the lagoon, the
- Who's that?
- It's the trader man, Mr. Mick.
He brings special gift.
He trades in pearls.
- Traders buy their way
into societies like this.
Get the Chief on side,
they can make a killing.
Still, we should meet him.
Excuse me.
Mr. Carpenter?
I'm Dr. Phillip Spence
from Adelaide University.
This is my wife, Evelyn.
- The bug watchers.
- I beg your pardon?
- Ain't that what you people do?
Come here, put the savages
under the microscope,
watch them feed and nest?
- Oh.
No, I think you might
have the wrong impression.
For a start, they're not savages.
- What do you call them, Professor?
- Actually, its Doctor.
I call them natives.
- Natives?
Oh yeah.
How long are you two thinking of staying?
- 10, 12 months?
- Uh huh?
I'll give you six weeks.
No, boots like that, make it a month.
- Mr. Carpenter?
I bet you my husband's watch
that you'll be offering
us a passage out of here
in no less than 12 months time.
Is it a bet?
Against your finest pearl.
- You got a bet, lady.
- You just won me a pearl.
- Linnie.
They take those trees out,
then we're gonna have this view.
- We'll be able to see
everything from here.
All right, see from here?
- Uh huh.
Let it shine.
Make them build this?
- Yup.
I think I found my informant.
Thank you.
Thank you.
Can I have the next man please?
Thank you very much.
This one good one.
Big, good?
Japan give good money, Japan.
- Japan?
- Yeah.
- Wow, they'll sell it to the Japs.
Good one.
Good, trade fair?
- Give us a look.
- It's broke.
Sea pearl, big but it's got no shine.
Sorry, boys.
- How does he do that?
Excuse me, could you show
me how to go up the tree?
- Uh huh.
- Yeah?
Will it hurt?
No, no, it won't hurt.
Give plenty.
Get whistle blow.
- Whistle blow?
Gotta be kidding me.
Whistle blow for that?
Yeah, yeah.
- Okay, just this once.
Don't be getting no ideas.
Thank you thank you.
- Okay, go blow your whistle.
- Cool off, before he changes his mind.
She's beautiful.
It's a pity.
There's three things wrong with her.
She's white, she's married.
She's intelligent.
Come on.
- Toyodola, who will you marry?
- I have a girlfriend in another village.
- But I have to marry in this village.
- Hmm.
The Chief's niece, the one
that they call Tilapoi,
does she have a boyfriend?
- No.
She's very pretty.
But no boyfriend, you like her?
- Oh, no, no.
- You like her.
- No, no, no, no.
- You like her.
Yeah, well
yeah, no no no no no.
- Who gave you these?
- From the mission.
- Missionaries?
Oh, they've got no right.
Give me that.
Give that to me.
Thank you, thank you, put that back.
You don't need these.
- Hey, you, Pixie!
What are you up to?
- These people don't need
your brassieres and dresses.
- What in the name of God
do you think you're
doing, you piece of skunk?
- How dare you do this!
- Well done, Pixie, well done.
This lot took me six months
to get here from Scotland.
- Yeah well why didn't
you send something useful
like medicine and food?
Don't you dare call me Pixie.
- Well, it's typical of the church.
They think if they can cover them up
they'll stop fornicating.
Doesn't work on campus,
why should it work here?
- There's fornicating on campus?
- Not in my department.
- So what should we do, Phillip?
He's trying to destroy this culture.
- Well let's not go upsetting
the yet, darling.
We gotta live with these people.
Where'd you go this afternoon?
- Out working.
I just feel trapped here.
Like we're on the outside looking in.
What do you mean?
- We've got to do something
to get closer to them,
like Mick does.
- Mick, dearest, is acting
out of self-interest.
We have higher pursuits.
- Do we?
What do they need more than anything?
- Valoma, the spirits, holy spirits, good.
You tell me the
You can go, she can go.
A good talk.
- My, my.
We've acquired a Florence Nightingale.
How fortunate.
Douglas Stevens, A.R.M.
- Evelyn Spence.
- So this man has status, he's a big man?
- Yes, this man is a big man.
But this man over here is.
The sorcerer.
He do spells.
Make you see, make you die.
And he gives you poison.
- And why would he do this?
Why would he cast a spell?
Why would he give you poison?
- Many reasons.
You fornicate with the wrong woman
and you break taboo.
- Perhaps I best
explain my position here.
You mind?
- Sure.
- I've been appointed by
His Majesty's government
to help civilise these
poor godforsaken creatures.
Bring them out of the trees
and into the 20th century.
Which you can imagine is a somewhat
difficult and thankless task
made more difficult by
well-meaning visitors.
- I can assure you that we
won't interfere in any way.
- Splendid, glad to hear it.
'Cause if I find that
your presence here is
shall we say, unhelpful to the natives
then as A.R.M. I do have
certain discretionary powers
with regard to your entry permits.
Do I make myself clear?
- What do you mean by unhelpful?
- Like that incident the other day
with the missionary clerk.
- I see.
I'm sure that it won't happen again.
- Splendid.
I'm glad to hear.
You must come to the station,
join me and the missus
for a game of deck tennis.
Well, nothing she likes more
than a good old chin wag
with an expat's wife.
- Good old chin wag, I can't wait.
- Splendid, and then I
can meet your husband.
I must say I've never met
an anthropologist before.
- You just have.
- Pardon?
- Well, I'm an anthropologist as well.
- What's happening?
That man,
he do mischief.
The women, they whisper.
Now they do
be like.
- Oh, evil spirits?
- And what do you mean?
- They take him by force.
- What do you mean?
They copulate with the man?
- Yes.
They catch him, tie him like a pig
and stake him to the ground.
They'll cut him and hit him with bamboo.
Then they rub themselves over him.
Then they defecate on his
face and urinate in his mouth.
- Have a look.
This is gonna be big, Linnie, big.
What do you think?
- Well, there's no photos of women.
- No, not yet.
How are the notes coming?
- Okay.
I'd be a lot faster if I can
understand your hieroglyphics.
What does this mean?
bachelor's house.
- The women today were telling me about-
- So you haven't done yesterday's notes?
- No, I went out.
- To do what?
- Talk to the women, someone's got to.
- I'm sorry, what do you mean?
- You're spending all
the time with the men,
I think you're ignoring the women.
- I do have my methodology,
- I know, of course.
I'm not questioning your methodology.
- Thank you.
- It's just...
- Just what?
- Well, we said we'd come here
to do a study of male-female power demand.
- That's exactly what I'm doing, Evelyn.
- Will you need the camera tomorrow?
No, why?
- Well I thought I'd do
some photos of my own.
- Supposing you broke it?
- I'm not a three year old, Phillip.
- Hello?
Got some mail for you.
- Hello.
Come in, do you want a drink?
- Yeah.
- Thanks.
- Got a beer?
- Sure.
So Mr. Carpenter, what brings you here?
- Same as you, I guess.
I came to plunder.
- You think we're here to plunder?
- Hmm, I don't think you're
no different from me.
We all trade in human heads.
- I hardly think that's
a valid comparison.
- Well.
You're here to do a paper, right?
- A monograph, yes.
- Okay, saying this monograph,
your writing goes down well.
They what, they make you a professor,
is that right?
- I think that's a rather
crude interpretation.
- How are you any different
from the Burnsfeld guy,
comes down here, buys himself a boatload
of ebony carvings at two and six
and flogs them down the
mainland for two quid?
- I really don't think
this warrants debate.
- Now go on, Phillip, explain.
- All right then.
Point one, we're scientists.
We're not merchants.
We're not bartering for petty artifacts
in some filthy market.
Point two, we're doing fieldwork here
which will further the world understanding
of the nature of society
and the dynamics of human relationships.
We're not buying up their valuables
and selling them elsewhere
for grossly inflated prices.
You wish for me to continue?
- Are you paying them?
- What?
- For this field work?
Well a lousy stick of
tobacco every now and again,
am I right?
So in fact you're
worse than the Burnsfeld guy
'cause at least he pays them a going rate.
- Mr. Carpenter, we're sitting here now
because several hundred years ago,
explorers set out in boats
and discovered these islands.
I'm doing something similar,
except I'm charting the
waters of human behavior.
It's very glib of you to
try and make comparisons
between your nefarious activities here
and the purity of my work,
but can I say with all due respect
that a hundred years from now,
I will be remembered
for what I've done here
and you will not.
Excuse me.
- I don't want to be remembered.
- Excuse me.
- Thou shall not steal nor
borrow other people's rowboats
without my permission.
Did your mother not tell you that?
- I'm sorry, I didn't realise...
- Ian MacGregor.
Kiriwina's one and only
resident man of the cloth.
You must be Mr. Pixie.
I'd like a wee word
once you've bailed her out.
You see despite what you may think
we don't come here just
to save a few souls.
To do what we do, you can't
do that from the outside.
You have to be a part of the culture,
be at one with the people.
And the culture changes constantly,
and there's nothing wrong with that.
You want to keep it pure because
it makes you feel more
civilised, more superior.
But we are all evolving to a higher place.
And that is inevitable.
Look, I don't want to have any trouble
with you and your wife,
but understand that if
you get in my way here,
I will move heaven and earth
to have you expelled most
ungraciously from my island.
- Yeah.
Well, Reverend, I don't wish to
engage in a debate with you
about the nature of
cultural transformation,
but needless to say,
we respect your wishes
and you have my word
that we will not interfere with your work.
- Good.
Oh you can read that if
you want to, I've finished.
- Would you mind?
- No.
- I only brought Conrad
and the Bronte sisters.
How grim.
Here, take it.
In fact I think I can
probably snuff a few more.
- There you go.
- What?
- No, no, no, no.
- Oh come on.
- No, no, no, no, no.
Go, go, go.
Get out of here, you greedy little bugger.
Come on.
Did someone die?
- Mm, the old man with a cough.
- Be interesting, the mourning rites.
Very interesting.
Here, look.
- Where'd this come from?
- Missionary.
Gave me those books too.
- You've befriended the missionary?
- No, I had a chat to him,
cleared a bit of bad air.
- Yes, I would mind.
I've got work of my own to do.
- Oh.
Pilus revolt.
And what work exactly do you have to do?
- I saw something today
that might be the basis
of a thesis.
- Mhmm, I see.
I thought we're gonna work together.
- You call typing up your
notes working together?
Come on Linnie,
you know I can't type.
- Well learn, like I did.
What's this?
You took my camera out anyway?
Hmm, guess
what, I didn't break it.
- So you spy on two natives copulating,
you think that's the basis for a thesis?
- You really don't like other people
having ideas, do you?
- That's not true.
- Yes, it is, Phillip.
I think that you're overlooking
some obvious material here
because you've already made up your mind
what you want to say.
when do you have the right
to question my work?
- Since I did all your typing.
You know,
I think women have far more
status here than you realise.
And I think their aggression in sex
is emblematic of their
position in village life.
That's what I wish to
explore in my thesis.
- That's ridiculous, Evelyn,
you're barely out of college.
- I brought you here to
help me with the language,
not to compete with me.
I'll type my own notes if that's an issue.
- I'm more than a linguist, Phillip,
and you know that.
- Don't you realise
that if you do work here
and it's discredited, it
will not only reflect on you
but it will reflect on me.
- It won't be discredited!
- Believe me, Evelyn!
You take on a thesis here,
it's professional suicide!
- Well, let me jump
from the tree, Phillip.
Let me jump.
I'm sorry.
- Lie down.
- Hmm?
- No, lie on your back.
Lie down.
Come on.
Enter me.
- Oh my god.
Hold it.
Oh, Linnie.
I'm so sorry.
I'm sorry.
- No, it's okay.
- I'm sorry.
- It's all right.
- I'm sorry baby.
Oh my god.
Oh, you're beautiful.
- What's the matter?
- You tell her.
- The lovers that you
saw in the water cave,
this girl is Isapuna,
the Chief's daughter.
He is very upset.
- You tell Chief Tokunou
that my wife will do no more
study work with the women.
I give you my word.
- How dare you.
- No more work with the women, Evelyn.
I forbid it.
- Then I'll work with the men!
What's happening here?
- Going out pearling on the reef.
- Mind if I come?
There's no room.
- There's plenty of room.
- Is he all right?
- Mr. Mick, he swims with sharks.
- What are you doing?
- Hmm.
Seen this shell?
They use it in the kula for their salava
and their necklaces.
It's quite valuable.
They say that if when you open it
there's a ring of black,
then your love won't last.
But if it's gold, your
love will last forever.
- Gold.
- Want a beer?
- Yes.
Why not?
- Ugh.
- You'll get used to it.
- Show me my winnings.
Your finest pearl.
- Ah, the bet.
Don't you lock it up?
- Huh, no.
No one's gonna steal off me.
Sit down.
Come on, sit down.
Here you are.
See these ones?
They got no shine.
Just sea pearls.
Not worth much, maybe a
couple of bucks a grain.
This one.
Oh, what exquisite paper.
- Uh huh.
From France.
Tell a trader by his
paper, the way he folds it.
- And what does this say about you?
- I pay too much for my paper.
That's what we call an Oriental.
See that?
Top of the line.
- This is your finest?
- Ah, yeah.
Go on, pick it up.
- Oh, it's beautiful.
- Yeah.
We call that one Teardrop From The Moon.
It's almost perfect, got no blemishes.
- Hmm, I like this one.
Teardrop From The Moon.
Yes, I look forward to it.
Oh yeah.
- You have magic in your hands.
- Last night, the old man died.
Now the widow does very sad, mourning.
It will take many weeks, many months.
She takes the jawbone of the husband
and wears it around her neck.
They build the cage.
She stays there for a long time.
She doesn't eat.
If she comes out of the cage,
she might find another husband.
But many women die.
- My name is Lakwabulo.
- Lakwabulo, I'm very sorry
to hear about your father.
He was a big man in the village.
But the chief promised no
more burials here like this.
Your father must be buried
in a Christian place.
No, he lie here!
- Lakwabulo, your father wanted
to lie-
- When are you gonna leave
these people alone?
- This is a heathen practice
- This is a sacred occasion,
you're a religious man.
- and I am doing God's work.
Now keep your nose out of it!
My father goes
- That is as maybe
but we know why he-
- My father goes
- Go, leave this place now!
- Well done, Pixie, well done.
You cannot stay the hand of God.
- Where have you been?
You've been drinking, haven't you?
Hmm, nicely observed.
Do you want me to type it up?
- Stop playing games with me, Evelyn.
You were with Carpenter, weren't you?
- Yes, I was!
And you know what, he even
treated me like an adult.
- We can't afford to have another incident
like this morning, Evelyn.
You have got to stop this nonsense.
- Oh, you're scared, aren't you?
You're scared that I might
actually do something significant
and that your work will
seem to be inferior.
- Don't be ludicrous, Evelyn.
You wouldn't have graduated from college
without my help.
- You pompous ass!
- Rather athletic, your missus.
Must come from good stock.
You know the secret to a good marriage,
choose your woman like you
choose a good hunting dog.
Can't go wrong.
- So, has your husband succumbed yet?
- Succumbed?
- To the charms of the local women.
- Oh.
No, I don't think he's likely to.
- Yes, you go on believing that, darling.
That's the best way.
- We've only been married a few months.
- Oh!
I'm sorry.
Do you think that makes him immune?
He's a handsome man, very attractive.
Those native girls can
be extremely persuasive,
let me assure you.
I wouldn't turn my back if I were you.
Douglas has these little
liaisons, thinks I don't know.
He's pathetic, really.
- And you don't mind?
- Why would I mind?
They're only native girls.
Any news from the front?
- Hitler's taken Paris.
He's flying the swastika
from the Arc de Triomphe, little bastard.
Churchill's predicting
there'll be dogfights over London.
Dammit, where's me lunch?
By the way.
I had a visit the other
day from the Chief,
told me this sordid little
story about his daughter
in the water cave.
- What about it?
- Seems the girl's intended,
thinks he's somewhat shop soiled.
Called the marriage off.
The girl's now in disgrace.
The Chief is hoppin mad.
I told him I'd talk to you.
- It was a mistake.
It won't happen again.
Been another complaint
from my good friend Reverend MacGregor.
Something about a burial.
- Douglas, let the poor man
eat his dinner in peace.
- You be quiet, Helen.
Matters of men, church, and
state, don't concern you.
Anyway, the point of the matter is,
if things don't change, I'm afraid
I'll have no recourse other than to review
your entry permits.
- The problem is being addressed.
There will be no more problems.
Splendid, glad to hear it.
Come on then, eat up, you lot.
We don't wanna miss the show.
- What show?
- The missionaries
introduced it last century.
- What is it?
- Don't you know?
It's cricket.
Thought it'd stop them fighting
and killing each other but
savages being what they are...
- Excuse me.
- Highly strung, your missus.
- Put it in the big house.
- Vise'u, what's happening?
- The photo has brought
great shame to Isapuna,
to the village.
Now she jumps.
- Oh. Isapuna!
- No!
You must stay.
- Isapuna!
Isapuna, come down please!
- Evelyn.
- I'm sorry!
- Stop and talk to me, dammit.
Listen to me.
I can't survive here without you.
I can't, I really can't.
- Yes, you can.
And you have to.
I'm going away for about
three or four months to work.
I don't know where I'll go.
I don't want to jeopardise your work here.
It's too important.
- Linnie.
- You okay?
- I want to charter your boat.
I'll pay you.
Sorry, this is all I have.
Is it a deal?
- Sure.
Thought you'd
sworn off the ladies.
- Yeah, but she's different.
- Yeah.
Hasn't got a bone through her nose.
Doesn't eat human flesh.
You okay?
I'm fine.
Look, I know
it's none of my business.
But that girl?
Don't blame yourself, it's just their way.
You're right, Mr. Carpenter.
It's not your business.
Is there a district office here?
- Nope.
No missionaries either.
Why, having second thoughts?
- No, are you?
- Listen, I trade with these people.
They don't scare me 'cause they need me
but they don't need you.
- Are you gonna lead or shall I?
- You all right with that?
- Yeah, yeah, it's all right.
Where's the village?
- Not sure.
I try not to come here that often.
We should hit a river somewhere.
- Carpenter, welcome.
You got any axe?
- No, got no axes this time, Kidama.
But I got knives, fishing hooks.
- Give me that.
No, I need this.
- I want it.
It's okay.
Can I talk to you,
- Of course, Vise'u.
Sit down, you want some tea?
- No thank you.
There's a whisper among the women.
- What sort of whisper?
They say you
bring evil to the village,
that Isapuna jumps because of you.
- She jumps because of me?
- I don't understand.
Who say these things?
The women.
You must leave the village.
- There's another couple
of villages over that way.
They raid them every now and again,
rape the women, kill the children.
It's a nice place.
I need a hut.
For the woman, for the night.
Tomorrow, I go back to the ship.
I'm gonna need some men.
For that, I'll give you
some axes and some salt.
- Hey, Kidama.
This woman, she plenty big woman.
You touch this woman,
- This will keep you out of the mud.
- Thank you.
- Yeah.
- Mr. Carpenter!
This is very gallant
and totally unnecessary.
Please come inside.
- Hands okay?
- Oh yeah, just...
This is from the typewriter.
- Let me look.
You need something,?
No thank you, Maio.
- More taro?
- No, thank you Maio.
We should get some sleep huh?
- Yeah.
- No, no!
Goddamn you no!
Ah, goddamit!
Goddamn you!
- I was thinking maybe I
stay on a couple of days,
maybe a week.
There's a couple of things I can do here.
- That wasn't part of the deal, Mick.
- I know, but...
Don't worry, I'll sleep
in one of the other huts.
- No, no, I'm sorry.
I need to do this on my own.
But thanks.
- All right.
See you in three months.
To the day.
Don't forget your quinine.
One's on me.
Do you speak any English, pigeon?
- Hey!
What's going on, Doug?
- Couldn't hit a bush pig at 20 paces.
Bagged four tigers right here
in the adjoining islands, Carpenter.
Bit of a wiz I was in those days.
- Yeah, too many gin fizzes, Doug.
What's up?
- Have a read.
Came in last night on the radio.
Two a.m. or some ungodly hour.
- Pearl Harbor?
- Hawaii.
Yank Naval base of some sort.
Seems we're allies now, old chum.
Will you take that, the sights are out.
Anyway, they've inducted me.
As of two hours ago I'm a Captain.
We're now under martial law.
- Yeah? Congratulations.
Should I salute?
- You save your wit, Carpenter,
you're gonna need it.
What I want you to do is
keep your eyes peeled.
Anything unusual, any aircraft,
any boats,
- I know.
You let me know
straight away, all right?
Staying right
out of this one, Doug.
- Well you can't!
You're in it whether you like it or not!
- That's from my village.
- No.
No, these are my books.
They're my books.
Stop, stop!
Mine, they belong.
Give me that, no. mine.
You can't take these.
It's mine!
It's my house!
Put this back, put this back!
You give that to me.
- I want it.
- Kidama, this is mine, I need this.
You can't have this.
It's mine!
I need this!
I need this for my work.
- Evelyn?
Your husband's dying of dysentery.
I thought you should know.
- What have you done?
- My Lord is my heaven.
My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life.
I will grow in the house of the Lord
for the final time.
- She's gone native on us, Reverend.
Heathen burial and the like.
You're losing your grip here, old chum.
- The Lord works in
mysterious ways, Douglas.
Besides, she's a Christian woman.
Eventually she'll be judged.
You're certified?
- Is there anything I can do for you?
- Evelyn?
How are you feeling?
Doing okay?
You need to get some exercise.
You want some food?
Are you hungry?
Are you?
- You feed her, clean
the shit out of the cage,
sit there talking like you're
talking to a brick wall.
Good God, Mick, you had a pet monkey
you never treated that good.
- I can't just leave her.
Someone's gotta look after her.
- By the way, I'm joining up.
- Hmm.
Well, you get
more girls in a uniform.
- I never took you for the military type.
- Me neither.
Me neither.
- Have you got any eggs?
- Yeah.
Come on.
Come and dance.
- Oh, I don't dance.
- Time you learned, come on.
When they begin the beguine
- Start from scratch huh?
That's it.
Backing with you.
Forget this and let's go.
Listen to me.
Never too far
One moment's divine
One rapture serene
Till clouds come along to disperse
The joys we have tasted
And now when I hear people curse
The chance that was wasted
I know but too well
What they mean
Oh don't let them begin
The beguine
Let the love that was once
a fire remain an ember
Let it sleep like a dead
desire I only remember
What the hell's going on, Doug?
- You haven't heard?
The little Nip bastards
hit Rabaul last night.
Damn near wiped it off the map.
Just heard from naval intelligence
there's a fleet of
raiders heading our way.
It seems Mr. Tojo wants to take New Guinea
then leapfrog into Australia.
We're evacuating first thing.
But we'll need someone to stay behind,
act as coast watcher.
- What's a coast watcher?
- Someone who watches the coast.
If the Nipps take Port Moresby
they'll have to pass these islands first
and you'll be the lookout.
- I don't know.
Sorry Doug, not my style.
There's no
one else, Carpenter.
You know these waters, you
got the trust of the natives
and you can use the radio.
- Ain't my war.
- What about the island?
Aren't these people your family?
Isn't this your home?
Eh, that's what you've been
telling me all these years.
You run away from here,
where you gonna go, hmm?
Here you're a god.
Anywhere else, you're just a mug.
- Evelyn?
You gotta pack up.
- I can't, I haven't finished my notes.
- Don't be a fool, Evelyn.
We're about to be attacked.
- Exactly, and that'll be
the end of this culture.
- Yeah, and what if you get killed?
What's gonna happen to all your work then?
- What are you gonna do?
- Don't matter what I'm gonna do.
One thing you gotta know about me, lady.
I am by nature a selfish bastard
which means I'm not gonna risk my own skin
trying to save someone
hanging behind enemy lines
taking photos of a bunch
of useless niggers.
- You're right, I should go.
Goodbye, Mr. Carpenter.
- Bye, Miss Spence.
VK5 to Finschhafen,
VK5 to Finschhafen, over.
VK5 to Finschhafen, VK5 to Finschhafen.
Are you there?
Finschhafen here.
Welcome aboard, VK5.
Has anyone given you
an evacuation briefing?
- No, negative, over.
All right, if the
enemy lands, report in,
destroy all your telly
box and telly radio.
Then head to the southern
tip of the island.
Rendezvous there in the evening
at 2100 hours until pickup.
You got that?
- Yeah I got that.
What if the pickup doesn't come?
You're a spy now, VK5.
Now the Nips have these
quaint little custom
of beheading spies.
So I would strongly advise
you don't get caught.
Over and out.
I second that.
- What the hell are you doing here?
- Hmm, it occurred to me it's
been more than 12 months.
I've come to collect on our bet.
Jesus Christ.
What's wrong?
VK5 to Fin-
VK5 to Finschhafen, do you read me?
VK5 to Finschhafen.
VK5 to Finschhafen.
- Don't run!
Keep the children together,
keep them together!
Just one line, don't run!
Keep the children together,
take them to the caves.
Here we go.
- Is that your stuff?
Come on, let's go.
- Goodbye.
- Goodbye.
Yeah this spot's fine.
VK5 to Finschhafen, over.
VK5 to Finschhafen.
Get down, Japs.
What are they doing?
- Give me a look.
- Kids.
- Your hands aren't soft anymore.
- They betrayed me, the heathen bastards.
I hope they all burn in hell.
Do you have a drink?
Yeah, you okay?
Hear that?
- It's ours.
Maca, Maca, wake up!
Give us your hand.
That's it, come on.
Here you go, watch your step, miss.
All right.
What are you doing?
- Take care of 'em, Maca.
- God be with you, Michael.
- Mick?
- Let's go.
- Mick!
I returned home
to a city that was somehow
more alien and primitive
than the place I just left.
But after a while, it all began to fade
like the silver plating
on an old platinum print.
His laugh.
The taste of salt on his body.
I never lost hope that one
day I would see him somewhere.
- Anything on Michael Carpenter?
- Yes, ma'am.
On the street perhaps.
- I'm sorry, there's nothing again today.
- Or by a wharf.
- I'm sorry.
Playing cards or loading
drums onto a boat.
That he would turn,
ask me to dance.
After the war, I came back
to find my notes,
and to answer the question
that had been pulling at
me for all these years.
- All the women are wearing dresses.
Yes Ma'am, we are Christians now.
The big
house, the place we built,
where Phillip and I made love,
where he died.
It was now no longer ours.
- Do you know what
happened to the trader man?
- What trader man?
- Mick Carpenter, Mr. Mick?
There was some
talk about a trade man.
- What sort of talk?
- They say there's a grave
in a different village
for the trade man.
- A grave?
If you walk with hope,
you carry the burden of pain.
I let go of that hope that day.
I finished my manuscript,
something I had to do
complete that part of my life.
I did the circuit.
Made the news each town I went.
Woman anthropologist lives
with sex-starved headhunters.
- Thank you.
The towns and the cities
began to blur after a while.
I kept moving,
afraid that if I stopped,
an emptiness would grab hold
and never let go.
- Thank you so much.
- It's a pleasure.
- Thank you.
- You look beat.
Can I give you a lift back to the hotel?
No, thanks, I feel like a walk.
- Is this yours?
- Listen.
Did you see this guy,
American, dark hair?
- No.
- No?
- Sorry.
Can I help you, love?
You look back on life,
what do you hold?
What do you take with you into death?
My father built bridges.
My mother a home.
I once wrote a book
about a time and a place.
But the thing I'll
remember on the day I die
is the smell of a pearl
shell freshly opened.
Yes, that's what I'll take with me
into the dark.
When they begin
The beguine
It brings back the
sound of music so tender
It brings back a night
of tropical splendor
It brings back a memory ever green
Oh yes let them begin the
beguine make them play
Till the stars that were
there before return above you
Till you whisper to me once more
Darling, I love you
And we suddenly know
What heaven we're in
When they begin
The beguine