Drama - Development 2013

1945. An American GI and a British Student have to learn how to love again in after surviving the horrors of the Second World War.

    • Year of production
    • 2013
    • Genres
    • Drama, Historical
    • Countries
    • Languages
    • Budget
    • 10 - 25 M$
    • Duration
    • 90 mn
    • Writer(s)
    • Krysty WILSON-CAIRNS
    • Producer(s)
    • Johan NEETHLING (Thames Gate Films), Elisha NEETHLING (Thames Gate Films)
    • Synopsis
    • Autumn, 1945. World War II, the deadliest conflict in military history, is over. As victory celebrations dim the World reels as the true cost becomes clear: 60 million people have been killed, tens of millions are injured, and as many again are homeless. No soul is left untouched. For the first time in 6 years over a billion people have awoken to find peace.
      However they have also found their lives altered, interrupted and forever changed. Soldiers and Civilians, Axis and Allies, people the world over, have spoken and dreamed of after the war. The idea of a time after the War was once a place so foreign to them it may has well have been another planet; but after is now where the world finds itself.
      ‘After’ is the story of the young men and women who now find themselves a lost generation. Growing up in the shadow of the war, their lives irreconcilably cleaved in half, who now have to learn what it is to live in peace. Based on the true events of the United States Army Air Forces’ Training Within Civilian Agencies program, which gave American Servicemen and Servicewomen a chance to study in the finest universities in the world for one year. ‘After’ takes place in Cambridge University a beautiful and enduring place where tomorrow always looks like yesterday.
      American Servicemen and women of all ranks, colours and creeds came to Cambridge. They established the short-lived Bull College, and studied alongside their British peers. It was here that they were given a golden year to live the youth they were denied by war, make friends, fall in and out of love, come to terms with what they have been through, grieve for the friends lost and mourn the lives they themselves thought they would live.
      Our story centers on Lettie Brudenell, a fiercely intelligent young woman reading mathematics at Newnham College, the Alma Mater of her Aunt Anne Brudenell- Ramsay, and eclectic widow, professional photographer, and guiding figure to Lettie. Aged only 15 when the war broke out, Lettie has seen many things in her young life; evacuated away from everything she had ever known, the destruction of her home city, and the death of friends and loved ones. After watching as her world teetered on the brink of total annihilation her life’s dream of getting her degree now seems somehow less important.
      As we meet Lettie, she’s beginning her undergraduate course, in a world that seems now more intangible than ever the clarity of numbers and unwavering rules will be like a fixed point, which she can re-build her world around. As Lettie resumes her original life plan, after years of working on the land, she believes herself remarkably unscathed, and can’t understand the sense of it. It’s not until she meets Jack Dawson that she realizes the toll the war has taken on them both.
      Jack Dawson, an aerial navigator in the USAAF for the last 3 years, flew in flying fortresses, doing nightly bombing runs over Europe. Living by day in relative peace and security and by night flying off to bomb countries with odds of not surviving the trip has taken its toll on him. Jack has the soul of a poet, and an enduring appreciation for human life, society, architecture, and art. For the sake of these he then had kill people.
      Originally from East Haven, Connecticut, Jack studied English literature at Yale before America entered the war; he leapt at the chance to study in Cambridge. But the chance to study at one of the finest universities in the World isn’t Jack’s only reason for signing up to the T.W.C.A. He hasn’t been home since late 1943, he doesn’t know how to go back home and return to his old life, a life which now seems to have belonged to someone else.
      Finally going home will mean dealing with the momentous loss of his big brother, and taking on his brother’s responsibility in his family’s company. A job and a life Jack has never wanted. Jack is trying to be the carefree, fun loving man he was before the war, but the disconnection he feels from that person is too great. However, spouting poetry and telling almost every girl he meets how he is falling in love is practically fooling everyone, even himself. It is only Lettie that sees Jack for what he is, for what they both are: good people who have been fundamentally damaged.
      Originally at odds with each other, Lettie doesn’t want a relationship and cannot stand Jack’s attempt to woo her. Jack cannot accept defeat; he cannot accept the Lettie can see through his poetry and through his romanticism to the broken man underneath.
      ‘After’ is a love story with Lettie, obsessed with the future, agreeing to fall in love when there is no future. And Jack so destroyed by the past that he’s trapped in the present and cannot even begin to imagine the shape of the future. They fall in love just as their time is up. But in falling in love, albeit for a brief moment, they manage to overcome their tragic youth and even though they go opposite ways they live better and fuller lives for having known each other.
      Lettie and Jack are surrounded by a host of characters, from the eclectic and very modern Aunt and Lettie’s best friend Elma, an American Red Cross worker who is marrying an Englishman. To Jack’s T.W.C.A. friends: Connie, an aggressive and passionate young woman who served with the Women’s Marines, determined to be respected as much as any of her male counterparts. The not so bright Marty, who conned his way into the program by forging a letter from his superior, and George a decorated African- American Tank Corps soldier and unreserved overachiever.
      Through these characters and by drawing on real events, such as the half-rugby half-American football match Bull played against Peterhouse, the relatively opulent parties the Americans held at Bull Hotel and Bull College’s comically disastrous attempts in the Lent ‘toggers’ boat race, this story offers a glimpse into a world never before seen on screen. ‘After’ looks at the World War II era from a new angle, an era of seismic social and political change. It concentrates on the human element of war, and the rippling effects the enormous challenges that young people had to face had on an individual level, it also explores gender and race equality, issues as relevant today as they were 70 years ago.
      A coming of age story in reverse, Jack and Lettie have had to grow up, have had to witness and perform terrible acts and now they must learn to move on and become young people again. At its core ‘After’ is a touching love story about people who are struggling to understand because they have lived through so much hate.
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