The Smell of Frangipani
Written By Mand Paskuski
Romance War Epic
In 1941, in the throes of World War Two, a young Lieutenant finds himself at the base of Pearl Harbor and quickly enraptured in a fateful love affair.
The Smell of Frangipani is a feature Historical Romance War Epic set in the South Pacific during WWII, 1941.
Encapsulating the heightened sense of fear and carpe diem that is ever-present in times of geo-political unrest, this film is a love letter to romantics everywhere.
With rich and intensely passionate glimpses at love, trysts, betrayal, devotion and duty, The Smell of Frangipani has an ingrained theme of longing instilled within its story: Love's ability to transcend time and place.
A deeply moving, conflicting and bittersweet think-piece that begs the question: If in war, love can be found then isn't love but war?
The sweeping expanses of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, are the setting for a passionate yet sordid love affair in this terrifying time of war. A Reconnaissance Specialist, British immigrant from Punjab, India, Lieutenant Kesh Haman-Khan, arrives at the base for an important intelligence mission only he is skilled enough to conduct. After reconnecting with his longtime friend and Captain, Charlie Strikard, he is vaulted into being a last-minute best man where he first sets eyes on the woman of his dreams, Hani Keona, the bride. His attempts to avoid her fail and a mission up the mountains requiring her involvement forces the two together. Their affair begins and every decision they make narrows to the head of a pin in the coming days till that fateful morning of December 7th. 1941.
Similar to The English Patient, Casablanca and Titanic, this film should imbibe the feeling of scale in the grandiose. At every glance, things around our characters should seem massive, imposing, looming like the very real threats they are. We should feel somewhat shut-in at the sides, as if forced into a line we never intended to enter.
The love scenes should be burned for and each touch of our lovers should feel earned. We as the audience should be screaming at the screen for them to "kiss already!" and when they do, if done right, we should feel the tingles of that kiss ourselves from crown to toe-tips. A sense of raised desire that is both lustful yet rooted in the deep earth of true love should make us root for them to find a way... through family divides, her marriage to his friend and superior, through war itself bursting around them.
The music should feel just as large, cascading and crescending symphonies of sheer beauty and shape. Soft like a lullaby in moments of tenderness juxtaposed with the loud and harsh blashes of brass when in action or perilous situations. We should barely notice that we're being carried along by the score, letting it guide and accentuate our emotional experience.
Lastly, we're going to cry. Love in war is hard to watch under any circumstances and this will be no exception. The uncertainty of time, caught up in seconds that pass too quickly... for love's first kiss might also be love's last.
LIEUTENANT KESH HAMAN-KHAN (30's), is a war hero, a devoted military officer, a loyal friend and a passionate lover. His main focus is a mission involving reconnaissance on the coastlines and in the mountainscapes of Pearl Harbor's Military Base. He is kind, shy and cooperative, albeit a touch cynical at times. Kesh's fealty to those around him is a serious matter and one he tries to take great care about.
HANI KEONA (Late 20's), is rain in a drought. Beautiful, bold, and brilliant she is the bloom of this story in the heart of a flowerhead. Hani represents hope, resilience and light in the darkest of times. A loving daughter and sister she has learned to take care of those around her with a precious ferocity.
CAPTAIN CHARLES STRIKARD (30's), Quippy, lippy and dripping in that old British charm, Charlie is the levity in a tense storm. He is the wind, blowing the boat forwards and filling the ship's sails. He doesn't take life or himself too seriously and in the end looks at his job as just that, a job though the stakes are high. He knows death is certain so he doesn't fear it. He's calculating, methodical and practical when it comes to his mission but he'll carve space for fun every chance he can.
REAR ADMIRAL LAYTON (50's), Stocky, Stoic, Stern. We don't get to see much of the real man underneath his strong facade. He's practically a clichè, but he gets the job done and is fair. He listens to his officers, respects the ranks below him, is kind to women and cares more about the military than himself.
ADMIRAL HUSBAND KIMMEL (59), Commander in Chief of the USA Pacific Fleet. Runs a tight ship. Big on drills and preparing the fleet for missions. He's come in as a replacement for a predecessor that deemed the fleet "unfit for battle" which he means to refute.
GENERAL WALTER SHORT (61), A squirrely man with a one-track attention. Arrogant, confident, and totally out of his depth here. He's elevated to a position befitting his preference but it's clear he's not the right man for this job.
HIRO NAKAGAMA (20's), Kidō Butai Strike Force Pilot. A devote dreamer with a brave heart. A patriot and a poet. He is the window with which we see that there is no good and evil, no right or wrong when it comes to war - such vast extremes do not equate when simplified down to the human experience. Hiro wants to do well by his country, by his friends and family and leave a legacy worth being proud of - he can't see which side of history he's on - he becomes our eyes on the other side.
MAKOTO "MAK" (20's), Hiro's friend and war partner. We need Mak as a contrast to Hiro, to see how vastly different two minds can reflect on the same issue. Mak is brave, resolute and fearless. He is a leader, a courageous cog in one big turning wheel. He sees himself in sacrifice for the greater good.
VICE ADMIRAL CHŪICHI NAGUMO (40's), An imposing figure. Stately and formidable with a sharp grasp on the seriousness of each potential move. His men respect him as an absolute.
TAKEO YOSHIKAWA (29), Imperial Japanese Naval Intelligence. He's handsome, charming and quiet. Always with a camera or journal in his hand, he keeps mainly to himself and can be seen walking the trails of the Pearl Harbor perimeter.
MAKANI KEONA (40's), is a complicated and kind man. The father of Hani and Parani, early on he must make a hard choice to pair his eldest daughter with the Captain who's family gained legal ownership of his ancestral and sacred lands. The merger means re-obtaining those lands, but at the potential cost of his daughter's happiness. He is a sweet, good-intentioned person with only the deepest respect for those who show signs of great integrity.
PRIVATE "KIP" KIPPINS (20's), A Georgia-boy through and through, Kip goes nowhere without his poetry book (with two bullet holes through the cover, it saved his life twice and he's a man of superstition). Slow-spoken, smart and a fan of the simple things, Kip is a voice of reason.
PRIVATE HOLLY ALLBRIGHT (20's), Blam! Slam! Damn, Miss Ma'am! Allbright is all bright. With a thousand-watt smile to knock you off balance and the courage to shame a lion, Allbright is the feminine yet dominant voice to our group of misfits. She's stubborn, loud-spoken, brazen and wily and a wonderful contrast to the others.
PRIVATE "RADIO" GILBERT (30's), Ah, the silent type. Gilbert wasn't meant to join the war, wasn't meant to be in the field nor on any front line and yet, here he is with some of the bravest men and women serving. With a slight chip on his shoulder, Gilbert's main focus is to stay alive and stay useful.
PRIVATE "2-BIT" BORRETZI (30's), Italian-American and proud of it, 2-Bit comes as our bull at a tea party. Bulldozing his way and opinions into every situation presented, he's an act-before-you-think kinda guy. Outspoken, crass, brash and wildy funny, 2-Bit is the friend we all know and love.
MAJOR RICHARD STRIKARD (50's), Charming, whimsical, and extremely well-mannered, Charlie's father is the most loving dad you might ever witness. Proud, patriotic and pleasant, Major Strikard cares only for his son's well being and safety.
PARANI KEONA (8), A precosious, sweet and precious little darling. Parani represents the innocence of war and the future those fighting are fighting to protect.
BETTY (20's), A real broad, you might say. Not afraid to speak her mind and not afraid to put herself out there at the risk of rejection. She's really a gentle woman with a big heart.