a screenplay by Urs Frei and John Scott


We hear the sounds of shoes creaking before we see a man's feet walk into frame from behind us. He is wearing a shiny pair of formal black dress shoes and burgundy sweat pants tucked into extra white sports socks. We follow the feet to a door closed most of the way. He opens the door slightly and reveals a figure in bed asleep. On the floor in the room we see scattered tapes and CD's next to a blaster, some magazines and one old sneaker. The man quietly enters the room, picks up the sneaker and then walks out of frame in search of the other. Off screen we hear him knock something over accidentally. The figure in bed shifts but doesn't wake. After a small pause the old man comes into frame again with the other sneaker in hand. He gets out of the room and walks off-screen behind us. CUT TO a close shot of the figure in bed. We see only his eye as it opens and watches the old man leave. ZOOM IN AND RACK OUT OF FOCUS then FADE TO WHITE. FADE IN TITLE:




We hear the sound of the garage door squeaking as a crack of light appears at the bottom of the screen and widens until it reveals the man opening the door. A well-worn mountain bike lays in a heap in the foreground. The man walks towards it and looks at it a little quizzically as if he had imagined that it would be something a little different. He leans over and feels the back wheel tentatively. Satisfied that there must be air in it, he grabs hold of the bike form the seat and pulls it back toward him. The front tire careens uncooperatively and the man struggles to control it by grabbing onto the handle bars also. And thus with one hand on the seat and one on the handle bars the man slowly and awkwardly backs the bike out of the garage. Once out the garage a slimmer and much younger figure steps of the shadows to the right of the inside part of the garage. He is wearing a dress shirt, a skinny tie, dress pants and he is carrying a briefcase. As he walks diagonally towards us we TRACK FORWARDS. In our end position we see the young man in the foreground on the left side of the frame and in the background to the right we see the old man clumsily getting on the bike and then peddling down the driveway. The young man speaks to us directly.

Young man: "One Saturday morning in November my father, taking the advice of his doctor, fetched my bicycle and began to pedal in the direction of the countryside".

The old man turns right at the end of the driveway and leaves the frame. CUT TO:


We see a montage of shots involving the two men. The older man is pumping away on the bike, breathing hard, and the young man either in the foreground or in the background strikes various relaxed poses either leaning against a tree or sitting on a bench reading the paper -- or as is the case in one shot, drinking his coffee from a cup and saucer. In all scenes the young man watches the older man with a guarded indifference. With each shot we get further and further out of the suburbs into the countryside. CUT TO:


The old man peddles towards us up a hill and we TRACK AWAY from him at his pace. However, as he slows down we speed up until he gets quite far away from us. We stop just as we see the young man entering the frame. He is standing at the roadside looking at his watch with his briefcase in hand. He puts down his arm and then looks directly at us.

Young man: "Twenty minutes later he stopped on a hill".

The young man looks back for an instant. ANGLE AND RACK FOCUS TO the old man as he gets off the bike to rest for a minute. ANGLE AND RACK FOCUS back to the young man in the foreground.

Young man: "Feeling briefly faint he bowed his head".

From our distance we barely see the action.

Young man (off screen): "...and when he righted it he realised he had no idea where he was".

CUT TO CLOSE SHOT of older man. He rights his head. He has an incredibly blank stare on his face. The shot starts to become more and more overexposed. CUT TO the young man in the foreground.

Young man: "He had forgotten everything. He had even forgotten his name. 'Hello my name is...' ".

CUT TO older man still with an incredibly blank stare. He seems on the verge of trying to say something but can't get it out. The shot flickers in and out of overexposedness. He looks at the bike as if that might give him some clues. He reaches towards the back tire -- it's full of air -- but still nothing comes to him and it too loses detail and becomes whiter and whiter (overexposed). He feels the back of his neck noticing the dampness there. Then he turns around and with the bike in hand he walks a few paces in the direction that he came.

CUT TO the young man (with the old man still way in the background). The young man looks at us blankly for a minute then he closes his eyes. DISSOLVE TO:


A WIDE SHOT of a bedroom. A womanly figure lies alone in a double bed. She is way over on her own side with her back to us. The room is dark except for the light coming through an open doorway.

Young man (offscreen): "He forgot that he'd been married to a woman who didn't love him. He forgot the coldness of her looks and her weeklong silences and the constancy of her refusals".

The light source from outside is extinguished as someone outside shuts the door. CUT TO:


Lights above us turn on and we realise that we are inside the family bathroom. The old man walks in wearing a similar suit and the same tie the young man wore in all the previous scenes. He starts taking it off.

Young man (offscreen): "He forgot that for 34 years..."



A SLOW TRACKING SHOT in an office building. It is moving in the direction of one desk that is much bigger than all the others.

Young man (offscreen): "...he had spent his days in an office building, away from the light of the sun, at work that was stupefying and without purpose, and that recently he had been let go, to fend for himself..."

Once we get to this bigger desk we realise that unlike the others it is empty. All the other desks have evidence of work, like papers, files, books, binders, pens, and open drawers. This one, though bigger than most, is completely empty, there's not even a chair. Once we are directly in front of it we CUT BACK TO:


The old man. He is finishing undressing.

Young man (offscreen): "...against boredom and his loveless relations".

The old man is wearing only a blue pair of boxers. He opens the medicine cabinet, takes a pill from a bottle. His hands are unsteady.

Young man (offscreen): "He forgot how the summer's heat had crippled him".

Old man looks at himself in the mirror as if for the first time. The old man begins to touch his shoulders and his chest while staring at himself in the mirror. He looks horrified.

Young man (offscreen): "And he forgot that he was old".

We hear the bathroom door open. The old man looks over, startled and angry. CUT TO young man, casually dressed, looking much younger, standing in doorway. He looks shocked. CUT TO a close up of his face. He shuts the door immediately. FADE TO WHITE.


FADE UP on the view down the road he had come, from behind the old man. He steps back, out of the frame. We PAN 180 DEGREES to the old man looking down the road. He continues looking the way he came with the same unsettled expression on his face. We ANGLE ON the old man somewhat, enough to see that in the background the young man begins walking towards us. He is much closer than before

Young man: "Though his memories were gone, some part of the truth of them remained... And a feeling of such hopelessness overcame him that he stared down the innocent road, as if into the mouth of a pit".

The young man stops. FADE TO WHITE. FADE UP ON A SIDE-ANGLED WIDE SHOT of the young man standing by the roadside. He is facing off screen right but he turns towards us as he speaks.

Young man: "He was shaken. He needed to rest. He walked the bike over to the side of the road".

The old man and the bike enter the frame in the foreground. We RACK FOCUS on him as he brings the bike into frame and half leans, half sits on the crossbar of the bike. The young man is still visible in the background. He turns to look at the view. CUT TO A FRONT-ON SHOT of the young man. He is on the left side of the frame.

Young man: "When he had been sitting there a minute he turned to look into the valley..."

TRACK RIGHT. (Towards the old man).

Young man: "...and it seemed to him that he had never - he could not possibly ever - have seen anything so fair".

Just before we get to the old man we begin DISSOLVING IN AN OPPOSITE DIRECTION DOLLY SHOT AND PAN of the landscape. The image of the old man and the tracking landscape compete with one another DISSOLVING IN AND OUT of each other.

Young man (offscreen): "He was looking into a wide plain of farmland. A paved road passed through the middle of it, on either side the fields were laid out in squares, yellow, green, and brown. [Begin fading voice here] There were brooks accompanied in their meandering by trees; there were ponds; there were cows... [audio out]"

As the last landscape dissolves out we are left with an image of the two men standing side by side looking out into the valley. Both are silent. CUT TO:

A car passes noisily in the foreground and reveals the old man all by himself with the bike in a heap at his feet. The old man turns around abruptly.

Young man (offscreen): "Suddenly he was in terror of being recognised".

Old man looks worried and watchful. We begin to hear voices coming offscreen. The old man looks in that direction. WE PAN LEFT down the hill and in the mid-ground we see two cyclists talking to each other as they cycle up the hill. CUT TO the old man's point of view of the cyclists. The male cyclist approaches in the foreground.

Young man (offscreen): "Were they with him? Had he stopped to wait for them? He could not turn away, they had seen him now."

The young male cyclist nods and then goes out of frame. WE ANGLE ON the young female cyclist. She too goes in and out of overexposedness. But as she gets to the same spot where the male cyclist nodded she slows down a little, looks at the old man and then smiles.

Young woman: "Beautiful day".

At that she gets into full exposure and then bikes out of frame. CUT TO a close shot the old man. Way in the background and down the hill (where the cyclists had come from) we see the young man. RACK FOCUS to him.

Young man: "It was a simple statement of the truth".

CUT TO a point of view shot of the young man looking up the hill at the old man. We begin to TRACK UP the hill toward the old man while he picks up his bike and walks into the middle of the road.

Young man (offscreen): "He watched her go... the road dipped and turned. Where it might end was impossible to guess. Could he find his way south? His head was filled with strange names: Tennessee and Mississippi, Little Rock, Ohio, and Philadelphia and they conjured visions of forest and abundant field, of arrangement and of order".

He begins to walk his bike down the other side, and our pace matches his so that he doesn't disappear behind the crest. Then we reach the crest and we see the whole view he sees with the young cyclists in the distance. The old man climbs onto his bike.

Young man (offscreen): "South was there, in the sun, in those receding hills".

The old man begins peddling off down the road into the distance.

Young man (offscreen): "And it seemed to him that nothing was more fit that that a man should leave his home one morning on a bicycle and never return".

CUT TO the old man in the midground approaching fast. He whizzes past us and reveals the young man at the crest looking on. He sits down on the briefcase. He takes off the old man's shoes that we saw at the beginning of the movie. He gets up off the briefcase, picks it up then turns and walks slowly out of frame down the hill the other way in his sock feet. In the foreground we see only the shoes, and as he walks down the hill we see him only from his knees to his sock feet, then as he descends, his midsection, then his head and then that too disappears and we see only the road and the shoes. FADE TO WHITE. ROLL CREDITS.

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Last Updated: 17 February, 2010
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