by Shelt Garner
I have a great idea for a movie, but, alas, I’m too old and too fixated on my first novel to get around to try to write its screenplay. The story goes like this — it’s 10,000 years ago and a bunch of humans are struggling to survive.
A very fey guy who isn’t strong enough to go on the hunt — but has a family to feed — comes up to the leader of the tribe, begging for food. The leader of the tribe scoffs at him and says why do you deserve any food, you didn’t do anything to help.
So this scrawny little guy proposes that in exchange for a good story, he and his family get some food. So, our Hero proceeds to tell a tale about a young woman who pretends to be a man so she can go on the hunt. The movie shows the tale as imagined by the storyteller on the screen, interspersed with him telling the story.
At the midpoint of the movie, our Storytelling Hero makes some sort of goof in the story because he’s never been on the hunt. He has to invoke the gods to keep the story going. Maybe have him make up a One True God on the fly or something.
The story continues. At the end of the third act, something happens to interrupt the story telling and it seems as though All Is Lost for our Hero and his attempt to get food for his family.
The third act begins when him going back to his starving family. He has to tell them there will be no food for the time being. He gets into a fight with his wife who says she should have listened to her mother and never had sex with him.
Then a surprise happens — the leader of the tribe again wants to hear the story. He’s so excited, he wants to know what happens next. So, again, our Hero storyteller continues to tell the story of the young woman who pretends to be a man to go on the hunt.
At the climax of the story, she is somehow saved in a due ex machina kind of situation, and the tribal leaders roar their approval because this is the first time anyone has every done such a trite ending. The joke is, everyone thinks this otherwise hackney ending is so original because it’s the first time anyone has thought it up.
The rest of the movie deals with the surreal situation that our Hero is involved in. He gives his wife and child some food, and then goes into the darkness of the cave to also give his male lover some food, too.