Spring has almost fully transformed into summer
Surrounding us rhododendron bushes stand tall as trees
We find ourselves in the midst of an enormous forest
Twined branches closing in, all covered in thick green leaves
Before us points a large flower sprout
Slowly it blossoms, as if a day passes in a second
Shortly the majestic petals are fully out
And we begin to glide forward above the rigid ground
Season alters into autumn, therefore displaying
Brambles stretching uncontrolled towards the skies
Our pace slows down as we are approaching
The forest edge, where an empty road lies
Landscape still covered in early morning haze
The vanilla sky restraining the sunbeams blaze
An old man appears at the opposite roadside
Behind him buildings in a far distant fade in grey
With a sack on his back and a machete firmly in his hand
He stares determined over the deserted highway
Gazing at the woodland rising at the opposite border
Awaiting his arrival with great anticipation
Half way over endless black tar a large truck approaches
His limbs freeze in a position of motion
Above its horrid grille in chrome, top front lights stare
Flashing up the old man’s face as he looks at it in terror
Like a Cyclops pitch-black eye the windshield glare
The old man makes a final spurt for the roadside in horror
Truck passes, making the wind twirl with an extreme force
Grazing his back, he’s safe but not without remorse
The sound of bird twitters is all that is remaining
An impenetrable wall rises behind him
Towards the blue heavens coarse brambles are aiming
On twisted bushes growing unyielding
Leaves and withering flowers are desperately clinging
Suddenly a small bird beside him stands so strangely
It tilts its head observing him curiously
Feathers black as a summers night
And beak so yellowish bright
Raising the machete, he makes his way into the woodland
Leaving a narrow opening of snipped branches behind
The bird flies through the opening where the man is working
Passing over his right shoulder and mounting
Over the forest roof the bird is now gracefully gliding
Everlasting the shrubbery beneath seems growing
On a horizontal branch the bird is soon landing
A large caterpillar carefree comes strolling
Rapidly the birds’ beak is swiftly striking
Squirming in the fatal grip the caterpillar is hanging
The bird remains still, blinking its pointy eyes, staring
Suddenly the bird flies away
As the branch underneath, him is falling
Emerging out from the bushes is the old man’s face
Dripping of sweat and with a tiresome gaze
Behind him lies a small clearing
Where twined rhododendron bushes are encircling
Out from untouched shrubbery stretching
Towards the centre where he is standing
That night under a pitch-black sky
The old man is about to fry
Tasty beans in front of a campfire
That gleams up the surrounding bushes
Making the rest of the forest
Hide in complete darkness
Before long the bird is appearing
Sitting behind him once again, staring
The old man severs a bit of bread that lies beside him
Pleasantly observing while the bird is eating
Midday sun rise high up in the bluish atmosphere
Almost hinting the rush-hour traffic but not very clear
We glide along the outer fringe, seeking for a way inside
Shortly moving through the bushes, searching until we find
The old man still working and trimming
Surrounded by severed twigs, he seems weary
Not far from him the bird is landing
Its beak piercing the soil all suddenly
Pulling out the end of a long earthworm so joyfully
The bird struggles to get it all out from the ground
As the earthworm lets go the bird falls on its behind
When standing the bird pompously looks around
As out of the blue a branch suddenly falls
Startled the bird flinches before it recalls
The man who’s so eagerly working
His way through the forest, now disappearing
Twigs falling, leaves’ rattling is all we’re hearing
But shortly nothing but a tense silence is remaining
We find the old man squatting
Staring down in wonder he’s pondering
He has found something, something he’s not expecting
Carefully moving the branches, one at a time exposing
A red motorcycle, still relatively complete
Beside some minor dents and rust
He explores this strange finding, clearly so obsolete
Decades’ passing after its arrival is a must
The bird begins to search for bugs hiding
Within the cracks, now fleeing from its sharp beak
Caterpillars, spiders and beetles are crawling
Out in terror as the bird with its pointy mouth seek
The old man emerges once again into the forest, disappearing
Behind him on top of the motorcycle the bird is still hunting
After a short period, the old man come to a standstill
Yet another discovery seems to lie before him
Only a few feet away raise an enormous tree
Among its flourishing shrubbery
Distinguishing this one from the rest, he can see
The shadow of a dark figure hanging heavily
Stretched over branches, thick as they could ever be
Intrigued the old man carefully approaches
Moving aside the last branch that covers
Bright sunlight is now presenting
The truth about what hides before him
The dark figure being the motorcycles owner
Body dressed in a slim leather garment
Completely intact and helmet still on
With the black visor, slightly dismantled
We can almost hint the mummified cranium
The bird sits down close to where the body dangles
Motionless the old man gape at the rigid cadaver
With a contemplating expression, he ponders
When feeling the birds intense stare
He shrugs with a deep sigh
Reaching a conclusion, he won’t even try
Instead cutting his way into the forest, leaving it all behind
The bird flaps its feathery wings and flies off
The old man visible amongst the bushes working
Dead owner still dangling in the tree and not far from it
Inside thick shrubbery the motorcycle is resting
The bird glides over the rhododendron greenery
Speed picking up while slowly rising and we so clearly see
The tar-covered street surrounding the forest
And we understand so perfectly
That everything took place inside an enormous roundabout
It sure makes one wonder why no one ever sort out
The reason for that crash and why
That owner was never found in all this time
Written by Alex Backstrom
Year of Creation: 2009
Based on a story by Miriam Bäckström from Anonymous Interviews
RHODODENDRON (FILM SCRIPT)
EXT. RHODODENDRON FOREST – ONE CONTINUOUS SHOT
The spring has almost fully transformed itself into summer when we find ourselves in the midst of an enormous forest of rhododendron bushes. Some as tall as trees, all covered in thick, green leaves.
Before us, a large flower bud is slowly blossoming, as if a whole day passed within seconds.
As the flower is then fully exposed with its majestic petals glowing of deep purple, we begin to move forwards --
-- Hovering above the rigid ground, surrounded by twined branches, thick foliage and an endless sea of flowers with colours shifting in pink, white and purple.
As we keep moving through the bushes in a slow pace, summer turns into autumn, flowers withers, leaves falls towards the ground, leaving the brambles exposed stretching uncontrolled towards the sky.
As we approach the fringe of the forest we slow down our pace, and halts as we exit. Finding ourselves --
EXT. ROAD - MORNING
-- Staring out over a wide and empty road. The morning mist still lays heavily on the landscape and the vanilla sky prevents the impenetrable rays of sunlight to gleam.
Shortly at the opposite side of the road, an OLD BUFFER dressed in a red flannel shirt, an unshaved face and short greyish hair, steps up to the roadside.
On his back he carries a rucksack and has a firm grip of a large hedge cutter in his left hand.
EXT. ROAD, OPPOSITE SIDE – SIMULTANEOUSLY
With a melancholy but yet determined expression the Old Buffer stares out over the deserted road, gazing over at the rhododendron forest rising from the opposite side.
Behind him, buildings in a far distant arise from the sphere, fading in grey.
The Old Buffer keeps staring towards the forest of rhododendron that awaits his arrival with great anticipation.
So with heavy steps, he begins to cross the street. While walking on the seemingly endless black tar, he listens carefully for approaching vehicles.
Suddenly his limbs freeze, as if still in a position of motion. He has heard something not yet visible, a subdued sound of a LARGE TRUCK APPROACHING.
Around the forest bend, bright beam lights shines over the bushes. The Old Buffer, half way a cross, picks up his pace.
A huge TRUCK becomes visible, top front lights flash up his face as he stares towards it in terror. The truck hauls a long trailer and in the front is a horrid grille in chrome. And as a Cyclops pitch-black eye, the front windshield stares back at him.
Suddenly the Truck SOUNDS THE HORN THREE TIMES.
The Old Buffer makes a final spurt for the roadside and shortly the Truck passes behind him, almost brushing against his rucksack. Making the wind whirl with an extreme force and dead leaves gets caught in the draft.
Out of breath the Old Buffer, safely at the roadside, watches almost offended towards the Truck as it disappears around the other bend.
Nothing but silence and a vague twittering from birds within the forest remains.
EXT. RHODODENDRON FOREST, EDGE
The Old Buffer turns towards the forest edge behind him, still gripping the hedge cutter in his hand.
As an impenetrable wall the bushes grows in uncontrolled twines and as serpents, coarse branches twist themselves around each other.
The brambles stretch high above his head like skyscrapers aiming for the sky. Some of the leaves and withering flowers still cling to them in desperation.
Suddenly the Old Buffer notices a BIRD with feathers as black as coal and a beak as bright as a sun-tanned orange, standing on a rock beside him, tilting its head while observing him curiously.
The Old Buffer once again focuses on the brambles before him, searching for a way in. Raises his cutter and starts to trim the branches as he with calculated steps begins to moves into the forest.
The Bird observes as the Old Buffer disappears, leaving a narrow opening of snipped branches behind.
A continuing sound of BRUSHWOOD BEING CUT, BREAKING OFF and FALLING is audible in the distant.
EXT. RHODODENDRON FOREST – ONE CONTINUOUS SHOT
The Bird starts flapping its wings, takes of and flies through the narrow opening where the Old Buffer is working.
It passes over his right shoulder and then flies up over the forest roof, gracefully gliding over the seemingly endless shrubbery.
EXT. RHODODENDRON FOREST, BRANCH - AFTERNOON
One of the thick, coarse branches stretches horizontally before us. A few persistent leaves and dead flowers cling to it.
In the distant we can detect a low hum of the afternoon TRAFFIC set in motion.
Shortly a large CATERPILLAR comes strolling, carefree down the branch. In lingering moves it makes its way towards the outer end, aiming for one of the remaining leaves.
Then, as out of the blue, the Bird’s orange beak strikes in a swift move and the Caterpillar is caught, wriggling in the fatal grip.
The Bird sits on the branch above and now returns to its upright position, Caterpillar still hanging in his beak.
The Bird maintains still, staring and blinking its pointy eyes as the Caterpillar squirms.
But before long, the branch, which the Bird is sitting on, is suddenly cut of. The Bird then flaps its wings intensely and flies away.
Emerging out from the bushes, the Old Buffer’s face dripping of sweat, stares straight at us with tiresome eyes.
EXT. RHODODENDRON FOREST, CLEARING
Surrounded by newly trimmed branches pointing, the Old Buffer wipes of his forehead with the sleeve of his flannel shirt.
Behind him lies a small clearing, soil covered with twigs, and twined rhododendron bushes stretches out above the ground.
The Old Buffer putts down the rucksack beside him, opens it and takes out a frying pan along with a can of beans.
EXT. CLEARING, CAMP – EVENING
Under a pitch-black sky with sparkling stars, a campfire gleams up the forest edge that rises around the clearing. Making the twined rhododendron bushes cast long shadows over the twig covered ground.
The rest of the forest hides in complete darkness.
In the centre of the small clearing, the Old Buffer is making dinner in front of the fire. He’s gripping the frying pan, filled with creamy brown beans in one hand, and in the other, a spoon that he uses to stir.
He leans over the beans, inhaling deeply through his nose, sniffing the aroma. He then takes out a piece of bread from the rucksack next to him. Sever a bit and dips it into the buttery beans, eating it slowly with a satisfying grin.
But it doesn’t take long until he realizes that he’s not alone. He glances over his shoulder and sees the Bird standing on the ground behind him, staring.
The Bird makes a few neat hops. Now standing a bit closer to the Old Buffer, it gives out a vague CRAX.
The Old Buffer breaks of a smaller piece from the bread and hands it to the Bird.
Suspiciously the Bird stares at him, then down at the bread in his hand, and then back at the Old Buffer with questioningly tilting its head.
The Bird makes three more hops towards him, taking the bread from his hand. Swallows it quickly and hops back a step.
The Old Buffer turns away and continues eating his beans when he suddenly hears another CRAX behind him. There, the Bird stares at him, waiting.
The Old Buffer hands the Bird yet another piece of bread, this one fairly larger.
The Bird takes it and the Old Buffer observes at the Bird begins to struggle, tearing smaller pieces from the chunk of bread with its beak.
EXT. FOREST ROOF – ONE CONTINUOUS SHOT
Hovering close above the forest roof we can see one side being neatly trimmed and the other still rough and uneven.
Its midday and we can hint the roadside with its rush-hour traffic. Slowly we begin to move along the outer fringe of the forest, gliding close to the brambles.
Shortly we seek our way in through the wall of rhododendron, and moves through the bushes, searching. Until --
EXT. RHODODENDRON FOREST – DAY
-- We see the Old Buffer working, trimming between the branches, surrounded by cut off twigs.
He’s worn and tired. A few days have passed and his beard stubble is clearly rougher. He scratches his chin and then continues cutting amongst the bushes.
EXT. RHODODENDRON FOREST, GROUND
Not far from the Old Buffer is the Bird standing on the ground looking down while tilting its head.
Suddenly it pierces the soil with its beak and pulls out the end of a long EARTHWORM. The other end of the Earthworm is still in the ground, unwilling to let go.
The Bird struggles, almost tipping backwards as it pulls harder. Finally the Earthworm lets go and the Bird falls on its behind and flaps its wings to get up.
When standing, the Bird pompously looks around, Earthworm hanging from its beak, still touching the ground with both ends.
As out of the blue a branch suddenly falls down next to the Bird. Startled it flinches, looks up and sees the Old Buffer working above him.
Annoyed, the Bird CRAX several times, staring up at the Old Buffer trying to show his disapproval. But the Old Buffer ignores the Bird.
Instead the Old Buffer continues making his way through the thick forest. The Bird observes him, makes a few hops after the Old Buffer who disappears amongst the branches.
Clear sounds of him CUTTING, TWIGS FALLING and LEAVES RATTLING is audible as we stares towards the area where he disappeared.
But then, it all becomes quiet and there’s nothing remaining then a tense silence.
EXT. RHODODENDRON FOREST, SHRUB
The Old Buffer squats over a short shrub. His face is filled with a pondering wonder as he stares down into it. He has found something, something not expected.
As the Old Buffer begins to cut amongst the thick foliage the Bird curiously approach behind him, with neat hops.
The Old Buffer slowly moves the cut-off branches, carefully, one at a time exposing --
-- A MOTORCYCLE.
It’s still relatively complete, besides some minor dents and a broken beam light.
Mainly covered in rust and moss the Old Buffer can still read the licence plate on its back wheels fender;
Discovering that it has been there for at least a couple of decades.
While the Old Buffer continues exploring this strange object, the Bird jumps up on top of the Motorcycle and begins searching for bugs, hiding within the cracks.
Fleeing from its sharp beak, Caterpillars, Spiders and Beetles, crawl out from their holes in terror.
As the Bird tries to snag one of them, the Old Buffer rise up, grabs on to his hedge cutter, takes a broad step over the Motorcycle and disappears into the forest.
EXT. RHODODENDRON FOREST, LARGE TREE
The Old Buffer makes his way through the brambles with his cutter. A couple of feet behind him we can hint the Bird, still on top of the Motorcycle, hunting for insects.
After a short period of trimming the Old Buffer suddenly halts. Branches close shut behind him as he squint his eyes, trying to see clearer what lies ahead.
Another discovery seems to hide inside the bushes.
Only a few feet in front of him, raises an enormous rhododendron tree. Branches are as thick as a vacuum hose and roots too big for the ground, instead arching out through its surface.
Amongst the flourishing foliage, that distinguishes this tree from the rest, a shadow of a concealed dark figure is hanging heavily on top of the branches.
Intrigued, the Old Buffer approaches the tree and when the last branch, that keeps him from fully see what hides ahead, moves aside, the bright sunlight enlightens the dark figure and we can see that it in fact is --
-- The OWNER of the Motorcycle.
The body, dressed in a slim leather garment, is intact and helmet still on. The black visor is pulled down but as one corner is missing we can almost hint the mummified skull inside.
Flying, The Bird approaches and sits down on a branch next to where the Owner’s body dangles.
The Bird glances over at the body then at the Old Buffer who motionless and with a contemplating expression, stares at the rigid body.
Feeling the Bird staring at him he turns towards it. Pondering they stare at each other and the Old Buffer shrugs with a deep sigh.
He walks away, passing the tree, cutting his way into the forest.
EXT. RHODODENDRON FOREST – ONE CONTINUOUS SHOT
The Bird gives out a CRAX, flaps his black feathery wings and takes of towards the sky.
The Old Buffer is noticeable down amongst the bushes, working. The dead Owner dangles in the large tree and not far from it, the old Motorcycle rests on its side in the thick shrub.
The Bird keeps moving, gliding over the roof of rhododendron bushes. Speed picking up while slowly rising higher and higher until --
We clearly see the tar-covered road, surrounding the forest, and we understand perfectly that everything that has happened took place inside an enormous --