Samira Muster

Against Nature - Des Esseintes

Des Esseintes, Against Nature by Joris-Karl Huysmans



 Bird’s Eye View

It is quiet, only the burble of water can be heard.

Voice from the back:

“Lucy, where are you?”

A boy enters the central courtyard, appears in the light.

He looks around and seems to be searching for someone.

But then, as if distracted from his mission, he raises his gaze.

Fascinated, his eyes and mouth wide open, he turns on his own axis, observes the high, polished walls, their persimmon orange colour is glittering in the diffuse sunlight.

A giggle is heard

The boy tears his eyes away from the walls

BOY: “Lucy?”

He starts walking towards the other end of the courtyard

Close up

Almost as if blinded by the opulence and intensity of the materials, he blinks.

When he finally sees clearly again, his eyes fall on a curtain.

BOY (mumbled): “Looks like the curtain to the room we were not allowed to enter at Uncle Jean’s house.”


But this curtain is different, it seems to carry a big, heavy roof. And to the roof and the curtain belongs a platform that mysteriously seems to float in the air. Confused and curious he approaches and pushes away the thick curtain and enters.

Inside him, an uneasy feeling is growing.

Even the floor tiles, varnished and of a pale pink color, seem to have cracked into hundreds of pieces under the weight of the roof.

No, actually that is impossible as the curtain can’t be holding the roof!

Light comes in through the curtains and the boy can make out a window in the enclosure wall.

Inquisitively he approaches it and pushes the curtain aside.

He has to stand on his toe tips in order to see something, but actually, outside there’s not much to see he finds and turns back from the window.

BOY (to himself): “Well, she’s not here”

And exits the pavilion on the other side

Follow him out


There we see for just a split second how the shadow of a little girl disappears upstairs

Long Shot, girl in the center

Sitting on the stairs, overlooking the scene, she giggles again

LUCY (giggling): “This place is great for hide and seek!”

From the small steps she’s sitting on, she discovers some funny holes in the wall behind, so she shuffles over to the other side to kneel on the bigger steps.

She takes a peek at one of the little openings and remains fascinated.

A movement, seen from the corner of her eye makes her turn around.

In the strange little house that is made of curtains, she can still see the silhouette of her brother.

When he is about to come out, she jumps up and races up the last few steps of the stair.

BOY: “Lucy, I just saw you!”

LUCY: “But you have to catch me!”

She runs along the upper gallery, her little feet almost sliding on the grey terrazzo floor.

Medium Close up

In the corner she finds a big, dark red double wing door with a beautiful brass doorknob, she pushes it open and enters.


Filmed from behind

She stands still for a moment

LUCY: “Wow!”

The space she is in is a corridor, dark red, like the door outside.

The walls connect above the little girl in a barrel vault. She can’t distinguish where the ceiling starts and where the wall finishes.

Then, like drawn to the light, and curious where it comes from, she walks down the corridor until the end.

Surprised, she finds a ladder.

Sounds of the door opening again

Without hesitation she starts climbing down.

Camera on the entrance

The boy enters the room

BOY (bursts out): “Darn, a dead end! Where did she go?”

He turns around and leaves the room


He is once more mesmerized by the beauty of the materials, he now also notices the floor, which is grey with some silver and orange sprinkles, that look like tiny pebble stones.

He ambles down the stairs, holding onto the cold brass of the slender balustrade as if he was under a spell.

After a few steps, he suddenly stops and snuffles.

A short moment later, he slowly starts walking down again, but then stops again

BOY (to himself):n“Is this Jasmine? It smells like the little white flowers uncle showed me last summer.”

The smell pulls him towards the small entrance to his right.

He enters.


Full Shot of the Boy

All of a sudden, he is bathed in a blueish light.

The fragrant is getting stronger.

There is a big window with crackled glass.

He thinks of his football and the window of Uncle’s barn. If only that too had stayed crackled in one piece, that could have saved him from a good scolding.

He can perceive just a silhouette outside the window

The play of light on the wall behind is reminiscent of water.

As soon as he turns the corner of the room, the impression is completely different.

Puzzled he looks around.

The room is dark, except for the light on the backwall and the faint blue glowing around the corner.

A tree is coming down from the ceiling, its leaves are rustling in the wind.

The smell of jasmine is intense and for a moment, he’s wondering if it comes from the upside-down tree, just to feel absurd immediately after.

And he feels even stranger when all of a sudden, his sister- also upside down - appears from behind the tree.

LUCY (excited): “Ben? Are you in there? Come out, quick! There are the best cherries I have ever eaten!”

Still a bit confused he turns around to the opposite wall, where the voice came from.

There is a tiny little hole in the wall.

He approaches one and looks through it, right into the radiant, smile of his little sister, smeared with purple cherry juice, standing next to a cherry tree.

BEN: “I’m coming, but how?”