The Rust Garden by Steve Miles | Script Revolution

The Rust Garden



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A forensic archaeologist finds her ideals tested when she discovers the horrors of the past are far from dead and buried.

This Script Has Been Reviewed By Shootin' The Shorts

Digging up the past, especially when it has involved brutality, murder or genocide is an all too delicate task. Holocaust memorials, museums and family histories serve to remind of Nazi atrocities. Truth commissions facilitate the healing process in countries battered by ruthless dictatorships. Perpetrators continue to be hunted and pursued through legal channels when possible. Inevitably, there exists a burning desire to achieve closure, honor the dead and scream “never again!” And, then there are others who just want revenge.

Steve Miles dark, dark drama, The Rust Garden, is set 70 years after the war in a forsaken site in Belarus where the dead far outnumber the living. The protagonist Ela and her young son live in the middle of this wasteland, where Ela works diligently each day digging up human remains. One day, as Ela’s son Namov looks on more in curiosity than horror, an elderly disabled stranger emerges from seemingly out of nowhere, shakily walks towards them and collapses.

Ela’s surprise turns to a growing concern when the sergeant who arrives at the scene, fails to show much curiosity and even less concern about the man and his unusual appearance. She realizes that given the stranger’s condition, he could not have traveled far before perishing before her eyes. Who was he? And, where did he come from? As soon as her son has left to visit his father, Ela ventures off in search of some answers.

Ela soon discovers that she has neighbors she never knew existed and that the ones she knew of are nothing like she could have possibly imagined. Her journey proves as painful and frightening as Franciszek Kalina’s, the Polish immigrant from Chicago in Pasikowski’s Aftermath without the catharsis that holocaust revenge movies like Phoenix or Inglorious Basterds offer, nor the comic relief that the latter’s excesses provide.

If you crave the opportunity to work with an awesome script that crafts a darkness that intensifies right through to the end, leaving audiences entirely unsettled, look no further than Miles’ The Rust Garden.

Number of pages: 16

Budget: Moderate. There are a number of specific props, several actors with specific physical characteristics and scenes in outdoor landscapes needed.

Review by Julia Cottle
Submitted: September 11, 2016
Last Updated: June 4, 2018

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The Writer: Steve Miles

Started writing scripts around five years ago after realising his social life was vastly overrated. Enjoys writing in a variety of genres but leans toward raw, grittier characters and the worlds they inhabit - from the deadly serious to the darkly comic. Drinks coffee, owns an unhealthy amount of plaid and uses a calculator for the most basic of sums. Go to bio

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