ST GEORGE & THE DRAGON

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GOD FOR HARRY, ENGLAND & ST GEORGE is the working title for a short film project which FOUR OF SWORDS is developing with Jon Seal. The film aspires to be a powerful call for unity in our uncertain, suspicious times! 

The times have been, English patron Saint George was a mythic superstar, classic Christian martyr fused with pagan dragon-slayer, revered and celebrated throughout Europe, Russia and the Middle East. These days he seems in danger of being forgotten, and his emblem of the red cross is associated primarily with football fans and far-right nationalists.

The time is right for his radical re-appraisal!

  • Did you know St George was a Greek Turk resident of Palestine and member of the Roman army?
  • Did you know St George is also revered in the Muslim tradition and aligned with mystic Islamic figure Al-Khidr?

The driving narrative is a story we all know – but with a modern twist. Nodding to the poetry of Jean Cocteau’s Orphée and the visual power of Dave McKean’s The Gospel of Us, St. George is a stranger and hero in his own land. A character of Greek heritage living in Palestine played by a non-white actor. The narrative is interspersed with a multitude of “talking heads” who bring vibrant and challenging ideas: an academic and a 5 year-old child, a Christian priest and a British Muslim, a Mummers play performer, an academic, a Catalonian and an English nationalist. A haunting soundtrack, provided by Devon singer Rebecca Mayes, brings a feminist take to the notion of a damsel in distress.

This short film will be written and directed by Philip Kingslan John and Jon Seal.

Philip is co-founder of Four of Swords, and an experienced writer, director and educator. He has been making films for many years, starting with music videos for the Jewish rapper Danny Raphael, and more latterly the promotional material for Four of Swords and the films which feature as projections in their various theatre productions. He is also a member of the core team on Exeter Phoenix’s own Summer Film School. As a writer, in addition to Four of Swords scripts he has produced work for Cambridge University Press and Somerset-based theatre company The Bluebirds.

Jon has been teaching and directing films for 40 years. Short films include Back to Earth (Shortlisted for a Jerwood First Film Prize), Deserter and Hamster (made in partnership with Exeter Phoenix) and Kubla Khan (commissioned by Somerset Art Works). He has written and directed some 120 short films for Cambridge University Press GCSE English Literature series. 

Outline of Plot/Structure:

  • Interrogation by Roman Generals.
    • academic describes historical George
  • Execution
  • Resurrection by Doctor who unmasks himself as Sancho Panchez
    • interview in pub with Mummers
  • Dream –like wandering through streets. Mentor/Sancho Panchez tells him that King of Egypt daughter will be sacrificed to the dragon
    • writer eg Beth Webb tells what the dragon symbolizes. Vox pox?
  • George does not want to take action and is compromised
    • psychologist/vicar about making difficult decisions
  • He pledges to King to save daughter
    • teenage girl rages in disappointment
  • He forces King to convert to Christianity
    • muslim version is explored through interview
  • He puts on armour for battle and Squire/ Sancho Panchez tries to dissuade him
    • a soldier who has fought in Iraq interview
  • The journey to and through the forest
    • Kids talk about what they imagine the dragon will be like.
  • He finds the dragons layer
    • the dragon as spirit of the earth eg. credible new age
  • The damsel is outside and not in distress
    • Examine feminist view. Interview with feminist
  • The dragon appears. They fight. George slays the dragon
    • English nationalist
  • The King honours his achievement and sanctifies the marriage
    • All contributors put forward their view on importance of the story. What does it mean to them.

Setting: Modern Britain but slightly dream-like.

Visual style: Black and white and elegant. 

Genre: Fairy Tale.

Characters:

George Hopefully played by Moses Hardwick. Black African British. Military attire to start. When resurrected white suit.

the Knave Comic. Older. Plague doctor – black mask with beak. Death. Border morris. Crow like.

King of Egypt Sharp suit. Cadillac. Lexus. Black out windows. Talks from inside the car. Very powerful and gangster.

Daughter Young. Rebellious. Independent. Emo/gothic.

Dragon Hopefully played by Sarah White. High collar. Green? Snakes. eg emerging from a pit of snakes. Serpents.

Roman Interrogators Military.

Kings’ courtiers Varied and stylish.

 

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