A sailor comes to Crete, film synopsis

Publisert: august 1, 2012 i Fiction, litrature, novels, film scenario


“A sailor comes to Crete”


By Sven Buchholz

Clue to script writers in Italics bold.

 The drama takes place in

  1. 1.      A traditional village at the north coast of Crete in the present time.
  2. 2.      A rocky bay at the coast of Northern Crete.
  3. 3.      Selected places around suited to show the Cretan nature.


……, The sailor.

Alexis, fisherman.

Eleni, his wife.

Maria his sister

Zina her daughter

Antonis, Zina s fiancée , owner of local cafeneion – taverna.

Village priest.

Village doctor.

Other fishermen and villagers.

Place northern coast of Crete, VlichadaBay, very wild and rocky with a sandy bay in the bottom, open out to the open sea.


Terrible weather, storm thunder lightning etc.. In a «vision» we se the misty ghost – like contour of an old sailing ship in a misty fading picture.

A person appears swimming ashore falling down in the sand as he reaches the beach.

Daylight next morning reveals a man lying in the sand. He is dressed in old 17 century sailor’s clothes. The captain uniform has been taken off, now lying besides him together with his hat.

Two fishermen are coming to look at a boat pulled further up in the bay.

One of them discovers the sailor after some time. After some shaking up we can se the sailor is alive but confused. Do not seem to understand any language, looks completely lost. The sailor is seen to leave the bay supported by the two fishermen.

The fishermen bring the sailor to their village.

The sailor is put to bed and taken in the care of the fishermen’s family. After some time he wakes up but speaks no known language, only a few phrases that no one understands, he no idea of who he is or where. His memory is probably lost. His old sailor’s clothes are put away in a cupboard and he gets to borrow some modern clothes of the same type as the villagers.

Now starts the «real drama». «The unreal in the real» Difficult, . It is a fine balance! The possibilities are everywhere

 The sailor is thrown into, a, for him strange and unknown world.

 It is important that the village is populated by inhabitants in giving an adequate description so that the script reflects a Cretan village the year 2010.

Al the standard «village elements» Must be present. The cafeneion, a tavern, etc +,all the typical characters and “originals to be found in the village , last but not least, the priest. Here I have the possibilities to describe the daily life of a perfectly normal Greek village with the undertone of mystery creeping closer all the time..

 Obviously not all the villagers take too easily to the stranger. There are many things to «play at» here, the conflicts are in the air everywhere. First, he is a stranger; the Cretans are traditionally suspicious to strangers. He speaks no understandable language and he is different from the other, the phrases that come out of him are of a no understandable language, the strange clothes he was dressed inn, the way he behaves etc.

An important element is the fact that the fisherman’s sister has a widow sister. Her beautiful daughter Zina is overprotected by dominating mother. No man is allowed to get near to her.  Zina was promised to her cousin Antonis by the father before he died. Antonis the antagonist in the story is a somewhat older and quite unsympathetic owner of the local tavern. In this village, like in most other villages in Greece marriage must be kept within the village.

Antonis is to be “built up as antagonist, the bad guy, with all it takes

Zina, with has managed to postpone marriage for some time using various excuses and objections. She got help of village doctor who fares result of inbreeding.

The conflict accelerates as the stranger seems to get a good contact not only with Zina, but he also seems to appeal to other women in the village. Zina is very curious about who he is and were he comes from. Although sailor belongs to a different place and a different time he represents “fresh air” for the poor women who are totally dominated by their boring macho men.

I must be careful here, the contact is «in the air», nothing substantial, at least not in the beginning.

Zina tries to try and communicate with him by teaching him her language, word by word.  She takes him around for walks in the surroundings (Great chance to describe the nature of Crete) during one of these walks she takes him back to the bay where he came ashore. During the walks they often clash Antonis who gradually becomes sick of jealousy and increasingly more hostile to the sailor. Anything can happen now. Conflict is growing.  Gradually, portions of the sailor’s memory returns. What comes out of his returning memory is strongly connected to the ocean. It becomes more and more likely that the stranger belongs to another time and another place.  At one occasion they meet the Priest and she asks him for advice. As a learned man, the Priest can identify the fragments of speech as ancient Dutch language. The priest can also tell a story of sailors that are doomed to sail for eternity on the ocean. One of them is told to be a Dutchman.  With gradual return of the sailors memory it becomes clear that the stranger has a lot in common with the the doomed sailor. He is condemned to sail on the sea for eternity. We all know from the legend that the only thing that can liberate him is the faith and love of a woman. At the same time however he will bring nothing but misfortune to the village. Zina desperately tries to make the sailor understand that IF he is the doomed sailor, she will make the sacrifice.

The stranger gives Zina no direct answer he only looks at her with his enigmatic expression on his face.

In developing the script further it is important to gradually build up aiming at the climax. There are already sufficient elements to design the necessary intrigues and following climax.

We get no clear answer to any of the questions, the mystery is in the air. The villagers are looking at the sailor with increasingly more dislike and suspicion.

Conflict is now growing even more as Antonis gets even sicker of jalousie.  Zina and Antonis, starts a quarrel that develops to a fight. The sailor enters the room just in the moment  that Antonis has thrown his arms around the Zina. His entrance causes Antonis to loose his temper. He pulls out a long knife and comes at the sailor who has no other alternative than to defend himself. He pulls out his own knife and the two start fighting. During a dramatic fight the sailor puts the knife trough Antonis heart, blood pumping out of his mouth… In the meantime the weather has «built up» to the same storm as in the beginning of the story. The sailor leaves the room in a hurry, goes to the cupboard and takes out the old “uniform” with the strange hat he was wearing when he first came and runs away towards the bay. In the meantime Zina has understood something is wrong as she can not find the sailor. Instantly she runs towards the bay through the storm. Parallel cutting to get at  climax.

Arriving at the beach she sees the last of him walking out against the open sea. A wave tears the uniform and the hat off him. That is the last we see of him. Again, in a faint vision the old sailingship comes through the storm and mist. The vision faints and picture goes in black.

Next morning on the beach. The storm is gone; Zina who has fallen unconscious on the beach gradually wakes up. Bright sunshine. Besides her half cowered by seaweeds and other bits and pieces thrown up by the storm she finds the old uniform and the hat of the sailor.

End of story.


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