EXT. FOREST PATH - NIGHT (SUMMER 1969)
We follow two pairs of feet running through a thick forest, unclear whether they are escaping from somebody or chasing each other. We see the two figures from behind, narrowly avoiding branches, almost slipping, catching up with each other, then parting again. Urgency and a sense of underlying danger in the air.
MUSIC: Fast paced and tense. Modern, minimalistic, poetic, dreamy, inspired by Stravinsky. For reference: Max Richter’s Vladimir’s Blues (The Blue Notebooks) and Testament of Youth.
EXT. LAKESIDE - NIGHT
Dark, still water with tall fir trees looming dangerously over it. The two figures run out onto a forest clearing next to a lake. A bright full moon illuminates them - DIMA (12) followed by YOUNG SERGEY (12).
Dima turns around, breathing hard. He offers something to Young Sergey, his hands held close to his pounding chest. Dima opens one hand. Blueberries fall into Sergey’s palm.
EXT. LAKE - NIGHT
Young Sergey and Dima chase each other into water, shrieking. The water is ice cold. Dima dives. Young Sergey follows him.
Sergey swims after him under water, eyes open. Dima turns around and swims back towards him. Just as they reach out to each other, an invisible force seems to pull Dima away. Young Sergey panics as we see from his POV a haunting image of Dima looking at him, disappearing further into the darkness. Young Sergey struggles to swim after him, but can’t. His eyes bulge as he runs out of air. He finally pushes for the surface.
EXT. ESTONIAN BEACH - NIGHT (AUTUMN 1977)
SERGEY (20) bursts through the surface, gasping for breath. Attractive, sensual countryside boy, with a crew-cut. At first we see only him.
He looks at the dark sea glimmering in the moonlight, with large stones peeking out like swimming giants. A spotlight beam slowly scans across the dark sea far-far away. A guard tower at the end of a narrow peninsula.
LUISA (22) surfaces next. Ambitious, charming, diligent, always caring.
VOLODJA (20) appears last, gasping for air. An extroverted, swarthy, happy-go-lucky type from Moscow.
Volodja splashes Luisa, they laugh together. Luisa glances at Sergey. They tread water checking back at the beach.
Alright. Lets go back.
Enjoy yourself for once. One more time! Please.
Race you to the rocks!
Okay, but you’re going to loose again. Ready?
Suddenly we hear a car engine approaching. Sergey and Luisa freeze. Lights of a patrol car penetrate the dark beach.
Sergey and Luisa scramble behind the nearest stone, intimately close to each other.
Car doors opening and slamming. A bright beacon is switched on and starts to scan the sea.
The beacon stops on Volodja.
Halt! Identify yourself.
Volodja takes a few steps towards the beacon. We hear a bullet being loaded.
Stop or I’ll shoot--
--Popov? It’s Sidorov.
A moment of silence.
Sidorov? You again. Kurilka, 0900 hours. Next time, I’ll shoot him.
The beacon is switched off. Doors slam and the patrol car drives away. Sergey and Luisa are close together, their intimacy electric. Sergey hesitates. Suddenly, just as Sergey leans towards Luisa, Volodja splashes them with water, grinning.
Sergeant Popov’s easy. Two packs of cigarets. Life’s about who you know.
The moment broken between Luisa and Sergey.
We can’t all have your connections.
You could have my connections, Luisa. You could have them all.
(steps on a sharp rock)
Ouch! Bloody rocks!
They swim away quickly, racing to the shore.
ON SCREEN: “Based on a true story.”
EXT. FENCE - NIGHT
Sergey and Volodja sneak up to a concrete fence. A guard dog barks nearby. They listen, then quickly jump the wall to get back inside.
ON SCREEN: “425th Soviet Interceptor Aviation Regiment; Haapsalu, Soviet occupied Estonia. 1977”
EXT. BARRACKS - NIGHT
They sneak in. The sky turns from night to day, two MIG-23 stream over.
INT. BARRACKS - EARLY MORNING
SERGEANT JANIS (late 20s) looks around, all including Sergey are asleep, then starts his stopwatch and yells.
TITLES START. MILITARY MUSIC FOR OPENING SEQUENCE STARTS.
Conscripts crash out of their bunks, disturbed, hurrying to put on their uniforms and form a lineup between the bunks.
Get up! Fucking lazy rats! Slow! Stupid! Useless little runts! No mummy to help you. Faster! Faster
Moments later. They rush out the barracks.
EXT. MAIN SQUARE - MORNING
We see the whole base at a bird’s eye view, with a unit drill marching in front of the HQ on the main square. Air Field in the background. Dogs barking. Two MIG’s execute a fly over.
INT. HQ, RECEPTION ROOM - DAY
Pictures of Lenin and Brezhnev on a wall dominate the simple room. Luisa sits at her desk fully immersed in a human anatomy book.
You know, one day the Colonel’s going to open his flight reports and find your human anatomy diagrams.
It’s the hardest exam. Then one more to go, scientific communism. I’m not going to have a life.
It will be worth it in the end. Let’s do the morning report.
Sergey takes a folder from his bag.
Selenov 1:34, Tokarev 1:12...
--You won’t reconsider the Colonel’s offer?
Give me one good reason.
Luisa gives him a look.
Two good reasons.
You could make a career for yourself here, rather than stack hay in the middle of nowhere.
Sergey shakes his head.
What else is there?