Created by Jess O'Kane, The Pitch 2022

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FATHER (50s) lives with DAUGHTER (23) in a neat suburban street in modern, could-be-anywhere suburbia. Their house, however, is a little different; it's a modern house with affectations of the Regency Period. Thick, ornate hedges hide it from the street - to keep the outside world at bay. Within this world, DAUGHTER sacrifices herself all day by cooking and cleaning. If Daughter speaks out of turn, he takes money from what he calls her 'dowry' - money that her Mother left for her daughter after her death. FATHER eulogises his perfect marriage to her late Mother. This is what DAUGHTER wants. Or at least - this is what she's meant to want... When DAUGHTER disobeys FATHER, he cuts off her hair, and DAUGHTER begins to question him - secretly. The final straw comes when she discovers just what father has spent her money on. DAUGHTER serves FATHER a pie. It takes a few moments for him to pass out; poisoned. She drags FATHER to the bedroom. He wakes to the sound of a chainsaw running. Dazed, FATHER comes outside to see that DAUGHTER has carved 'I BID YOU...ADIEU' into their enormous hedges. She defiantly departs with the remaining money.

Biblical Connection

VERSAILLES is inspired by one of the Bible’s most enigmatic stories - the story of Jephtha’s Daughter. In the Book of Judges, in exchange for success in battle, Jephtha promises God the sacrifice of whoever comes out of his house first upon his return. His daughter is the first person to appear when he returns, but the story is never clear as to whether she is killed. She seems to accept her fate and, in fact, takes a two month trip with friends to ‘mourn her virginity’. When she returns, Jephtha does with her ‘according to the vow he had made’. The fascinating blanks to fill in here appealed to me - who is this woman? Did she know what she was doing when she stepped out of the house? Did Jephtha’s Daughter die, or did she live on in his house? In my film, vows and stories are tools for control. This is rendered humorously through the unnamed Father’s creation of a Regency-inspired world to keep his daughter in - a world that is motherless, like the Bible story, and where Daughter is a permanent ‘sacrifice’. Her ultimate release into the world beyond is one of her own making.