Synopsis for a stop motion or a puppet movie
Scene 1: Rest room
An overweight and worn out wolf in his best human outfit is looking at himself in a mirror. He is not happy with what he sees. He tries to look cuter and manages to fold down his ears, hiding his teeth under his lips and smiling a very happy smile to look like a dumb-happy golden retriever. For two seconds. Then all the pointy things pop back into their original position, and a mean-looking wolf stares back at him. He curls his face into a very ugly scowl. Then sighs.
Scene 2: Dull, bare-looking waiting room
The wolf comes in. He is nervous, takes out a cigarette, lights it and opens the window. It is beautiful weather, but when he opens the window, there is just blackness outside, the weather was painted on the window. Both him and us on some level realize that this office is in a sort of limbo. He quickly closes it again, and goes to the fish tank to distract himself, but he discovers that the fish are fake. Looks around and drowns the cigarette in the water. He then sits down to bury his thoughts in the brochure, which lead him here. “Family – guaranteed eternal love”. On the front page a family is hugging a dog while smiling manically into the camera.
Scene 3: Flash back: theatre stage, forest, cliff on wheels, moon
Two good-looking wolves come on stage and dance a very in love modern type dance and perform some abstract sexually hinting moves. The dream gets interrupted by a voice. “Mr Wolf. Young, Male Wolf, please go to room 4”. The wolves stop dancing and look annoyed out at “the audience”.
Scene 4: Waiting room + hallway + office
The wolf goes through the door. The camera follows him flying over the wall, revealing that the building is like a movie set, walls in a black space. He walks along a long corridor with multiple fire extinguishers on the walls, knocks on door. “Come in.” He comes into a regular office with two chairs, but there is no one there. The wolf is confused. Should he act like a dog or a human? He ends up sitting like a dog on the chair. A voice from nowhere starts talking. To prove that he is housebroken, the wolf has to shit on an imitated lawn, while a dead-looking woman puppet on a bench looks at him. He gets the classical embarrassed-dog-look on his face. A drone flies over and picks up the bag, ties a knot on it and places it on the table. The wolf is so distracted and confused, that he doesn’t hear much of what the voice is saying. Muffled voice/hyper attention to certain visual details like different dog collars in a display case (some quite brutal looking!) He only hears sentences like “strangles if you pull”, “small procedure”, “Have you ever hurt or killed anyone?”
Scene 5: Flash back, theatre stage, forest
The two wolves are dancing. The wolf abruptly puts up a paw, stops the dancing and says, that it is enough, now he has to go and be a Lonely Wolf. The girlfriend is shocked and outraged. She thought, they had the same idea, that this conservative nonsense was not for them, that they would be free and live together. He argues against her. She should be with the pack. He should be Lonely Wolf and howl at the moon. She argues against this ancient view on wolf roles. “The moon doesn’t listen! It doesn’t have ears!” She threatens to kill herself, if he leaves her alone in this unbearable “society”. He doesn’t take her seriously. “Stop saying that all the time. I have made no promises. And besides, no wolf has ever committed suicide, that is for lesser animals like lemmings.” Girlfriend crying. “I don’t know why you keep holding on to this bullshit. But this is not a world I or my cubs will be a part of.” She pushes past him and runs for the cliff. The wolf mouths “my cubs”. He turns slowly around to disbelievingly see his girlfriend commit suicide jumping from the cliff. The moon sways slightly. For a while he is dumb-founded. Then he slowly walks up the cliff and stretches his neck to howl, but no sound comes out. He bends his head.
Scene 6: Inside taxi driving through blackness
The wolf is sitting in a cage wearing a dog collar, otherwise naked. The driver’s cap is overshadowing his face. The uniform jacket is big on him. He looks at the wolf in the rear view mirror. “Cigarette?” A very long, pale arm reaches back with an open cigarette packet in a leathery hand. The wolf looks shortly at it, but then looks with a determined look at a folder with a photo of a young human couple on it at his paws (the woman is pregnant.) It says “non-smoking home” on the first page. The driver looks at him in the rear view mirror. “You are one of the ones in the cage, huh?” Uninvited the driver starts telling the wolf his story. He is in fact an albino orangutan, who immigrated because of a natural disaster, which destroyed his sanctuary.
The orangutan tries to make jokes about not missing his family, but it all sounds hollow. In the end he turns the conversation back to the wolf. “I guess you would have to mean it seriously, I mean… to go through the whole procedure. I mean, you didn’t just get a shave, I presume?!“ “What do you mean, the whole procedure?” The orangutan points to the wolf’s groin. We see that he is shaved between the legs and has a kind of band aid on his genitals. “I guess they knocked you out for that little detail there?!” The wolf looks at himself in the window as his ears start to soften and fall to the sides of his head with the realization that he has been castrated. “The food, man, don’t forget the food. And the central heating…” The wolf opens the electrical window (excruciatingly slow) to howl at the moon, but out of his mouth comes only a weak barking. The taxi stops in front of a house with the lights turned on in the windows. “Here we are.”
Visual realisation of the movie
The film will be made in stop motion in miniature sets. There will be two different worlds with each their concept and types of dolls. One world is the world in real time (The rest room, the waiting room, the office and the taxi). They will all be inhabited by realistic-looking elements, but will have a sense of unreal to them (window out to nothing, no humans, blackness). It will be revealed to both the wolf and us, that these sets are like movie sets placed in a limbo between the human world and the wild world/ a metaphor for the vacuum one is in when making life changing decisions.
The dolls in the real time world will be animals with fur on, but with slightly human mannerisms, posture, a lot of facial expressions, clothes.
The other world is the wolf’s flash back memories of the time with his girlfriend. These will play out on a theatre stage. Black curtains. Strong theatre lighting. Symbolic props (cliff on wheels, 2D trees, a moon on a string).
The dolls in the flash back world will be humans in wolf costumes. Perhaps only the area around the eyes will be human skin, but the whole body language will be that of humans playing wolves. Unmovable faces.
The inspiration for the style, the sets, and the pacing of the story comes from: Charlie Kaufmann: Anomalisa. Roy Andersson: Entire production. Wes Anderson: Fantastic mr. Fox. Yorgos Lanthimos: The Lobster. Alejandra Tomei & Alberto Couceiro: Automatic Fitness. Niki Lindroth von Bahr: Bath house.
Description of protagonists
The wolf: is convinced he has figured out who he is, and what he wants from life, but something happens when the girlfriend, who he wanted to break up with, commits suicide for her believes. It is a strong wake up call for him. Is love really something he will miss? After her death he feels a vacuum inside. He has lost what he didn’t even know he needed. Now he will try to follow the path she so strongly believed in and find love directly at the source: the human world. For me the wolf is a metaphor for what I feel, having moved to another country for love, trying to come to terms with losing the intimacy of my family, friends, and culture and hoping that the monogamous relationship is indeed the right choice.
The girlfriend: Has been smitten with the ideas of the human world and finds it unthinkable, in the light of these discoveries, to live a traditional wolf life. Being already pregnant with a guy who doesn’t want to be with her, she does not see a way for this dream/necessity to come true. What other male wolf would be in a family with another male’s pups?! She therefore takes the consequence. For me, she is a picture of how set the population of the world has become, in the believe that romantic love is a life goal, the strong narratives that we live by and sometimes let ourselves (myself included) suffer under whether we have a partner or not.
The orangutan: Is the refugee, who didn’t have a choice, and is telling himself stories to survive. He is a mirror in which the wolf can possibly realise that he is not a victim of something outside himself. If he is a victim, he is a victim of his own mind, expectations and fear of change. The orangutan is an important contrast to the wolf, to teach him, that if you make a choice, deal with it! Others don’t even have a choice.