Listen… I’ll tell you of your father, it is below that he did die,
I hoped that if I brought you here, you would start at last to cry.
Mute and angry, sixteen year old Nina flies with her mother across the vast West Australian desert in a hot air balloon. Her mother sings of her love for the huge empty land, but Nina fears and hates it and stubbornly listens to Goth-rock on her iPOD. A violent storm attacks the fragile basket. Nina escapes with a parachute, but watches in horror as the balloon is hit by lightning and her mother plummets to a fiery death.
Nina’s lost out there, alone
Help me find her, bring her home
Nina trudges through the desert, walking in circles, dancing out her anger and despair. In the detritus of the balloon she finds only her mother’s champagne. Hallucinating under the effects of the alcohol, shock and hot sun, she imagines a camel rising up from the wreckage. Together they travel across the desert, becoming progressively weaker.
And here our spirits stay, amongst the tides of sand,
An oasis which has bubbled from this strong and ancient land.
The spirit of Nina’s mother staggers into an oasis populated by numerous people-spirits, where she is lovingly reunited with her dead husband. Thinking of Nina lost in the desert, she pleads that she be allowed to bring her to the waterhole, but the oasis is only for the dead. Ancient spirits have allowed the newcomers this paradise, but only those who have learnt to love the arid lands before they died may stay. The spirits share their stories of life and death in the wilderness and convince the new arrival to undergo a ‘trial of belonging’. She succeeds, and there is great celebration.
Live on. Live on. Life is precious
Live on. Live on. Think of all the joys to come
Nina enters the oasis and collapses, only to be dragged back into the desert by the spirits. Rescued by her mother, she embraces her long-lost father. However her father knows they must send her away, for she still has a full life to lead. Nina takes the hard decision and courageously leaves to seek a new life.
Life or death regardless, my love is with you. Always.