Cynara: Poetry in Motion (1996) - full transcript

1883, Baycliff, an isolated English village on the Irish Sea. Two women's friendship becomes passion. Cynara, a sculptor, alone, befriends Byron, a visitor who's left Paris in unhappiness. They ride horses, talk, play chess, and exchanging tenderness. Byron inspires Cynara as she sculpts, Cynara becomes Byron's muse as she writes. Then each imagines expressing physical passion to the other, Cynara's visions in black and white, Byron's in color. Their touches remain brief. Does respectability hold them back? What might pull down any last barriers to their expressions of love?

(soft piano music)

(waves crashing)

(slow dramatic string music)

(choral singing)

(flutes begin playing)

(melancholy piano music)

- [Cynara] Dear Aunt,

I must wonder your reasons for sending me to Baycliff

so many years ago.

That I am sentenced to this life of exile.

I tire of still lifes.

I tire of my life.

(lively string music)

- [Byron] I saw a vision today.

Racing against the wind.

I believe she boards at Baycliff.

They say she is a sculptress, and a bit of a recluse.

Sent from her home many years ago, for reasons no one knows.

A secret.

Baycliff's very own mystery.

She goes by the name Cynara.

(uplifting piano music)

- [Cynara] Dear Aunt,

I met the most peculiar woman yesterday.

She's boarding here at Baycliff.

One cannot guess why she would choose this place.

But nonetheless, she's a writer you actually once adored.

She told me after dinner that she had traveled from Paris

to find solitude for her work.

She said something that quite struck me,

that she had gone there to capture

the essence of beauty and romance,

but found herself captive instead,

seduced and intoxicated into a world

that left no room for her poetry.

(fountain pattering)

I wonder if you would be disappointed

to find the ingenious schemes of your favorite mysteries

devised by a woman.

(fire crackling)

She dresses as a man.

Very sophisticated,

a bit cynical,

and I detect a weariness about the corners of her mouth.

A tightness to her jaw.

She pretends at gaiety,

as if she has not a care in the world,

but I suspect otherwise.

(dramatic piano music)

- [Byron] Away with your fictions of flimsy romance,

there's tissues of falsehood which folly has wove.

Give me the mild beam of the soul-breathing glance,

or the rapture which dwells on the first kiss of love.

How I miss Paris.

God, how I miss Paris.

I cannot work in this dungeon.

This paisley prison of respectability.

Naked heart lies flat and still.


The silence, too loud.

Naked heart lies flat and still.

The beating breast no more.

Silent are the tears that paint in a thunderous roar.

The black of blood, my frozen blood.

Its arid landscape raw.

My naked heart is still in love, but can beat ne'er more.

(waves crashing)

(thunder roaring)

(moody piano music) (fire crackling)

(clock ticking)

Yea I was desolate and bowed my head.

I have been faithful to thee Cynara,

in my own fashion.

Your namesake.

- Why do you write as a man?

- Because a woman has no voice.

- Do you enjoy it?

Your mysteries?

- I enjoy poetry much more.

(fire crackling)

(piano music crescendos)

She walks in beauty like the night.

Of cloudless climes and starry skies.

And all that's best of dark and bright,

meet in her aspect,

and her eyes.

(dramatic piano music)

(dramatic piano music crescendos)

(melancholy piano music)

Last night.

Ah, yester-night.

Betwixt her lips and mine,

there fell thy shadow Cynara.

Thy breath was shed upon my soul

between the kisses and the wine.

And I was desolate and sick of an old passion.

Yea, I was desolate and bowed my head.

I have been faithful to thee Cynara, in my fashion.

(suspenseful piano music)

All night upon mine heart,

I felt her warm heart beat.

Night long within mine arms, in love and sleep she lay.

Surely the kisses of her bought red mouth were sweet,

but I was desolate and sick of an old passion.

When I woke and found the dawn was gray.

I have been faithful to thee Cynara, in my fashion.

(dramatic orchestral music)

I have forgot much, Cynara.

Gone with the wind, flung roses,

roses riotously with the throng.

Dancing to put thy pale lost lilies out of mind,

but I was desolate and sick of an old passion.

Yea, all the time because the dance was long.

I have been faithful to thee Cynara, in my fashion.

I cried for madder music, and for stronger wine,

but when the feast is finished and the lamps expire,

then falls thy shadow, Cynara.

The night is thine,

and I am desolate and sick of an old passion.

Yea, hungry for the lips of my desire.

I have been faithful to thee, Cynara, in my fashion.

(dramatic music crescendos)

(upbeat flute and string music)

(moody piano music)

(sweet piano music)

(dramatic music)

- [Cynara] What are you doing here?

- [Byron] I felt,

I thought I would find something for my work.

- [Cynara] And?

Have you?

I want to touch her.

Touch her skin.

Her hair.

Her silk hair in my hands.

- [Byron] I want to feel her.

Her softness upon my skin.

Sweet hands upon my skin. - [Cynara] Her eyes.

They own me.

- [Byron] I ache to taste her.

- [Cynara] Own me.

(moody piano music)

(melancholy piano music)

(sweet piano music)

(dramatic piano music)

(fire crackling)

(dramatic orchestral music)

- [Cynara] Oh Aunt, she is leaving.

Leaving for Paris in the morning.

(melancholy piano music)

Why can't you still be here, dear Aunt,

to help me through this?

Why must you be in the cold earth,

when you are the only one who understood the way I am?

(thunder crashing)

(moody string music)

(thunder crashing)

Breath away those lips.

Silken brush with butterfly wings.

Tender tips and velvet tongue.

I haven't even kissed you, and your softness melts me.

With lips my eyes travel to,

I hear the stories in your eyes.

In between the sighs.

Scaping though sweet.

Tender ache to caress lips.

Silk like spun webs of sweet deceit.

Betraying me with a gentle taste,

a single gift to sear the core of me

and brand my heart forever.

(dramatic percussive music)

(birds chirping) (waves crashing)

- [Byron] Maid of Athens, ere we part.

- [Cynara] Ere we part.

- [Byron] Give, oh give me back my heart.

- [Cynara] Oh give me back my heart.

Or since that has left my breast.

- [Byron] Or since that has left my breast.

- [Cynara and Byron] Keep it now, and take the rest.

(dramatic piano music)

(dramatic orchestral music)

- Is it over the top?


Without exception it's over the top.

But it's also a very lush high romance on the seas,

Heathcliff on the moors romance.

It's our lesbian love and romance.

- And I programmed many, many films for the film festival,

and I never came across something like this.

So I'm very, very proud of this project.

And it really moves me, so.

(Reinette laughing)

- You know I feel strongly about this piece,

because I'm volunteering.

I'm not getting paid one iota of money.

(dramatic orchestral music swells)

- Just love these bodies.

- [Camera Operator] Now why is that, Sammy?

(camera operator laughing)

- [Samantha] I don't know.

(Samantha laughing)

'Cause they're great shapes.

- [Camera Operator] Uh-huh.

(upbeat piano music)

- I must maintain my glamor image at all times.

- It's really bad.

I hate my job!

(women laughing)

(crew chattering)

- I think it's something very raw,

something you have to film.

- [Camera Operator] Constance?

- Constance.

(women laughing)

- I know her, Sharon.

(camera operator laughing)

- I don't know what to say.

I hope this isn't going at the end of the movie.

- Curve magazine.

- The best magazine.

- The best and classiest lesbian magazine

that's ever, ever been published.

- [Camera Operator] What a great dressing room, huh?

(dramatic music swells)

(moody percussive music)

(camera operator laughing)

- [Camera Operator] Very nice, very nice.

You're both so foreign looking and cute.

- We actually are foreign.

- We actually are.

- And you know there's rights for this.

You don't have the right one.

(upbeat piano music)

(woman laughing)

- You get to help me?

- So Bill, we want to know,

what does it feel like to be an honorary lesbian?

(Bill laughing)

- I am touched.

- Do you like it better than being a straight man?

(all laughing)

- Hell yeah.

- [Camera Operator] She knows everything.

There you go, hold that shot.

- Yeah, fully come up and like, just go in there like that.

(phone ringing)

- Oh, oh!

(women squealing)

- [Camera Operator] That's great.

(women laughing)

(Cynara blubbering)

(chair squeaking)

- This is-

(all laughing)

(soft piano music)