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of you (his look includes the rapt Nausicca), I owe my life.
As for my name, I withhold it only to spare you, for it is accursed.
Nausicaa can't get enough. Her eyes shine.
ALCINOUS
In Phaeacia we honor the wishes of our guests; nameless shall you remain. (an awkward pause) Come, our hospitality is not yet exhausted. (he claps his hands) Demodocus! Sing for us. His songs will wrap us in dreams.
The Man bows and resumes his couch as an attractive WOMAN leads in the BLIND poet, DEMODOCUS, who uses a STAFF to help TAP his way. The woman carries the minstrel's LYRE for him.
As the GUESTS watch, the bard is seated and takes his instrument. He stares blindly at the setting SUN, his sightless eyes bathed in its golden glow.
DEMODOCUS
What poem will you hear, lord king?
*NAUSICAA
Troy! Let us hear tales of the Trojan war and of that beauteous queen, Helen, she whose face launched a thousand ships and sent all the heroes of Greece in search of glory.
The stranger's face twitches at this request.
ALCINOUS
(laughs, eats a grape)
You are an innocent, my child. The Greeks went in search of gold, not glory.
NAUSICAA
(a moan)
Oh, father...
ALCINOUS
(sententious)
'Twas the Gold of Troy, not the face of Helen that all your heroes coveted. (to his guest) Sir, you seem to be a man of the world: do I not speak the truth?
THE MAN
(heavily)
Indeed, many say that Trojan treasure provoked the siege.
NAUSICAA
(beseechingly smiling)
Even so. I put it to you, stranger: will you not second my request and add your voice to my own? Which is better - bitter truth or the beauty of romance?
Nausicaa gestures to the blind poet who sits immobile, waiting to be instructed. Finally, sadly -
THE MAN
I am certain your father can deny you nothing, lady.
ALCINOUS
Oh, very well. Demodocus, let us hear of Troy -
The poet collects himself and touches the LYRE delicately...
CU HIS FINGERS
plucking deftly at the STRINGS...
DEMODOCUS
Muse of poets! Give to my voice the magic of inspiration, that my words may pierce the hearts of all listeners and therein paint pictures of life. (pause) "Helen,
wife to Menelaus, King of Sparta, was raped by Paris, Prince of Troy.
As the poet begins, PUSH INTO HIS DEAD EYES, REVEALING -
INT. HELEN'S BEDCHAMBER, SPARTA - NIGHT
The rape of Helen and her abduction - a scene charged with brutal eroticism as she surrenders to Paris' ardor...legs, tongues, breasts, arms, loins - a mating of God-like perfections and violence, a coupling that will be paid for in BLOOD...
The HEARTBEATS OF PASSION grow ominously louder to accompany their love-making, becoming the DRUMS OF WAR, then -
EXT. PLAINS OF TROY - DAY
TEN THOUSAND GREEKS, their armor CLASHING, their HORSEHAIR PLUMES waving, march towards the HUGE WALLS of TROY, leaving their FLEET of ships beached behind them...
*DEMODOCUS' VOICE (cont'd)
"...and all the heroes of Greece sallied forth to bring her home. From Arcadia, Corinth and Thessaly they came. Agamemnon, Lord of Mycenae, commanded the Greek
armada. With him went Nestor, King of sandy Pylos, Menelaus of Sparta, valiant Achilles and cunning Odysseus, Lord of Ithaka...
We see these supermen, fighting furiously as the poet describes them upon the battlefield before Troy... they throw their JAVELINS, whip the HORSES of their racing CHARIOTS, draw their BOWS, use their SWORDS...
DEMODOCUS'S VOICE (cont'd)
"For ten years they laid siege to the impregnable city, and one by one they tasted death before its virgin walls, their souls departing their bodies for Hades and the underworld...
SLOW MOTION
STUNT MONTAGE as the Greek heroes DIE, by spear, by sword...Achilles is last, STRUCK in the HEEL by an ARROW as he pitches over his CHARIOT in agony...
CU ONE WARRIOR
watching, amidst the battle, beneath his plumed helmet, his face concealed by his faceplate. Only his eyes are familiar as they peer from the fighting up to the WALLS...
DEMODOCUS' VOICE (cont'd)
"And still the citadel defied them. (pause) Then it was that that man skilled in all ways of contending, cunning Odysseus, brought to bear the power of his mind...
CU THE MAN
listening to the tale. We are close enough to recognize those piercing EYES...
DEMODICUS (cont'd)
Of all the heroes, he alone possessed that special quality of thought and foresight that men call - imagination..."
In remembrance - or pain - the man CLOSES HIS EYES.
BLACK.
SOUND OVER
the crash of DISTANT SURF, the CRY of GULLS...
EXT. MOUNTAIN TOP, ISLE OF ITHAKA - DAY
looking down at the harbour below the green hillside from a great height. Nestled in port, a SPARTAN GALLEY...
Below us on the hill, a WOMAN scrambling hastily upwards...
THE MAN
*who watches from his vantage point. The face belongs to Alcinous' guest - but he's TWENTY YEARS YOUNGER, handsome, BLACK-HAIRED and CLEAN SHAVEN, but beauty is not his most striking feature, it's brains. You can almost hear the wheels going around...
Next to him a frisky YOUNG DOG...
We see the WOMAN CLOSER
She's carrying a BABY in her arms as she hurries up the mountain path.
And she's a beauty. Her name is PENELOPE.
PENELOPE
Odysseus...husband...
She's gasping for breath as she joins him. He goes hastily to help her the last part of the way. Now we know his name.
ODYSSEUS
My love, be careful...
PENELOPE
They're here...from Sparta..!
She's starting to cry -
PENELOPE (cont'd)
They want you to go with them... to bring Helen back from Troy...
He holds her, lets her sob as he looks unhappily down at the ship in the harbor. TWO WELL-DRESSED MEN can be made out, walking ashore...
ODYSSEUS
I must go with them.
PENELOPE
But why? Why?
ODYSSEUS
(tender)
Before I met and fell in love with you, my own best beloved, I was, as you know, a suitor for the hand of Helen, that is now queen of Sparta.
PENELOPE
(bitter)
So was every prince in Greece.
ODYSSEUS
Exactly. And to forestall a quarrel over her choice of husband, a horse was sacrificed, and standing over its bloody quarters each of us swore to uphold and
defend the honor of that husband, whoever he might be. Now King Menelaus is calling due the debt.
PENELOPE
(turning away)
And who devised this dreadful pact?
ODYSSEUS
(heavily)
I did. Come, be of good cheer, this war cannot last long...
He puts an arm around her waist from behind...
PENELOPE
That is what men say of every war, but I think the shortest war lasts long for widows - (re the baby) and orphans...
ODYSSEUS
Penelope -
PENELOPE
How long must your son wait to learn if his father is dead or alive? You will go; you will have adventures and memories. You will live or die. We will only wait.
ODYSSEUS
I swore an oath. I have no choice.
She slips from his embrace and faces him.
PENELOPE
No choice? Are you made of stone? A stone has no choice. A man has a choice because a man has a BRAIN. A man can THINK. It was you who taught me that - and I loved you for teaching me.
ODYSSEUS
But my oath...
PENELOPE
Did you not swear an oath to me? Are you not king of this kingdom? Does a king owe his subjects nothing? What becomes of us if you heed your oath to Menelaus? THINK.
He stares at her. She's a match for him, alright.
ODYSSEUS
Penelope...Penelope... you are too clever even for me. (sighs) Go. Greet our guests. Bring them here. Let me see what can be done...
He kisses her, wiping the tears from her cheeks. This is a passionate couple. The BABY makes a NOISE. Odysseus laughs and gives him a kiss, as well. Pats his DOG. Happy family...
INT. ODYSSEUS' FEASTING HALL/THRONE ROOM, ITHAKA - DAY
a large, well-appointed room, which will later be the site of dreadful events. Its whitewashed walls are adorned with WEAPONS of every description - spears, bows, swords, arrows.
FEATURED behind the THRONE is an ENORMOUS BOW, different from the rest. We'll come back to it - in twenty years.
To one side, SCRUBBING THE WALLS, is a BEAUTIFUL and modest young girl (14), MELANTHE... Awed, she watches discreetly as
AGAMEMNON (35) and NESTOR (45) stand together, waiting, their huge helmets crooked in their arms. The GREAT DOORS are swung open and Penelope enters, still carrying the baby, followed by EURYCLEIA, his NURSE (she's about forty)...
PENELOPE
Thank you, Melanthe.
Acknowledging, Melanthe scurries from the room as Penelope move forward to greet her visitors...
The visitors bow low... Nestor is older, distinguished...
AGAMEMNON
Queen Penelope...
NESTOR
Your majesty...
PENELOPE
My Lord Agamemnon, my lord Nestor; I bid you welcome to Ithaka. It is not often that kings come calling.
NESTOR


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