A young woman hires a company that claims it can show her future with her boyfriend. But when she discovers a future infidelity, she must decide whether to let the visions dictate her choices in the present.
Cassandra: a tragic figure in Greek mythology who had the ability to foresee future dangers, but as she was cursed, no-one believed her warnings. The term “Cassandra complex” comes from this tale and is still a popular idiom today.
George Ding’s Cassandra takes this myth and spins it into an enthralling piece of dramatic sci-fi. Greece is replaced with near-future Bejing, and Cassandra the prophet is now Cassandra the corporation, offering young couples a glimpse of how their romance will likely unfold. And our lead characters are no heroes, but Xiaoyu and Yi, two people in Cassandra’s target demographic.
Like so many lovers, this duo don’t know if they’re ready to tie the knot and become one. But Amy, Xiaoyu’s dear friend and a newlywed, proclaims that Cassandra erased all her doubts about her boyfriend. In fact, Amy’s such a friend that she wants the same thing to happen to Xiaoyu and Yi.
So Xiaoyu gets booked in for an appointment with Cassandra by Amy. But that’s where the similarities end. Her glimpse doesn’t erase her doubts, it expands them. Worse still, the doubts are self-inflicted; her future behaviour sows the seeds for them, not Yi’s. And while she hints at what she sees to Yi, he doesn’t believe she’d do such a thing…or will she?
Will Xiaoyu accept Cassandra’s caution as the inevitable truth, or will she try to alter the course of the future through her actions in the present?
By combining an ancient legend with a futuristic yet believable setting, Cassandra provides a vision not just for couples, but for budding directors too. It predicts many award wins, but be quick – blink and this glimpse will end up belonging to someone else!
Budget: Moderate. A few different scenes and settings – but despite this being SF, there’s no need for crazy FX!
About the writer: George Ding was born in Beijing and moved to the lush, yuppie suburbs of Washington D.C. at the age of four. He received a B.A. in Film Production with a minor in East Asian Languages and Cultures from the University of Southern California. After graduation, George took a two-month trip to Beijing and has lived there ever since. He currently works as a freelance writer and filmmaker. His writing has appeared in VICE, The New York Times and The Washington Post. Contact George at GeorgeDing.Com
Read Cassandra (22 pages in pdf format)
This screenplay may not be used or reproduced for any purpose including educational purposes without the expressed written permission of the author.
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About the reviewer: Hamish Porter is a writer who, if he was granted one wish, would ask for the skill of being able to write dialogue like Tarantino. Or maybe the ability to teleport. Nah, that’s nothing compared to the former. A lover of philosophy, he’s working on several shorts and a sporting comedy that can only be described as “quintessentially British”. If you want to contact him, he can be emailed: hamishdonaldp (a) gmail. If you’d like to contact him and be subjected to incoherent ramblings, follow him on Twitter @HamishP95.