The establishing shot is a close-up of a glass of water, filmed in black and white, the image disturbed by periodic ripples. The effect is multiplied when the shot pulls away, shows the protagonist in a state of distress, the world he’s in rocked by earthquake. He grabs a phone and heads outside, the sound a low rumbling mixed with sonic distortion. There are people outside. The world shakes and rattles. Suddenly it stops. But then it rains. Rains. Rains. Opening credits, then the world born in color.
Griffin, the director, answers questions after the film’s initial festival screening. The world premiere of his first film. Light applause when the credits appeared. Murmurs and whispers through the crowd. A new talent. Where did you come from? What’s your inspiration? He sits at a table, outside, the day overcast and cool, the festival a collection of noise and people. Somewhere there are horns, a saxophone, drumstick hitting cymbal. Before him flavored waters and roasted almonds. The red beret tilting to his right. He’s feeling a cold coming on. Withholds chills, tries to keep himself upright with his chin planted in his palm. The room starting to float, swirl.
In the crowd, someone asking a question about why 16 mm film, and the use of a blue tint effect, when he sees her walk the perimeter of a crowd, red clad figure in long shot. In later years, when he’ll have trouble remembering this festival and the questions about his film The Thirst, when his assistant will call him every morning to see if he’s still alive, he’ll remember this woman as Helena, even though they didn’t meet until three years later, even though he stood and walked away from the question session, the crowd murmuring and confused and someone calling his name, and he walked after her following the image of her painted in red, until she was lost, leaving him with a stop-motion crowd that marked random spots around his still figure. He stores the image of her in his head, holding it until the day he finds Helena, his only love.
He returns to the interview but the crowd is gone. Moved on to the next showing. On the table is a bottle of water. The liquid disturbed by periodic ripples. In the distance the rumble of drums. There’s a sprinkle of rain. He thinks of the woman, this ghost, wants to give her a name.