on a sparkling summer morning, reclusive master jeweller WILLIAM rushes to finish a piece for a demanding client, while in the square outside two well-dressed men, JOSH and BART, pull up in their Smart car to an odd welcome. Coloured lingerie drifts down from the sky. With quiet fury, go-getter lawyer JANET tosses these pieces out to divest herself of last night’s pain – dinner wreckage, a spectacular jewelled ring, and her lover’s belongings. Adding to Janet’s torment, her eccentric, older upstairs neighbour FELICE stirs up trouble while heading downstairs with a handbag full of cash.
This all amuses Bart, who watches Felice and Janet’s antics through a gun sight while his partner-in-crime Josh psyches himself up to ‘work’. But when Felice enters William’s workshop, Josh’s plan to get William alone is shattered. He and Bart are forced to sit tight. Felice finally emerges with William, and together they head for sunlight to enjoy her new piece – an extraordinary, rose-shaped brooch made of gold and cognac diamonds. But Josh’s hopes for an easy heist are dashed even further when Felice and William run into MARLENE, who has come back desperate to apologise to Janet.
For her part, Janet tries to get on with her day, but can’t resist playing with light sparkles from the William-designed ring she bought for Marlene. When Janet puts Marlene’s ring on her own finger, she decides to take Marlene’s belongings all the way downstairs. But as Janet walks out with the bags and runs straight into Marlene, she inadvertently sets off a chain of events. Before any of them can see it coming, their individual actions collide with so much force as to alter all their lives. And Josh and Bart discover their bullets are powerless when confronted with sunshine, jewels, and love.
While Brilliance is intended as a light-filled, comedic entertainment, it has also been written in response to the often-glamourised nature of guns and greed-motivated aggression. Armed robberies of small businesses, particularly jewellery stores, happen all too often. In this story however, the villains and their weapons are thwarted by beauty. With quiet humour, Brilliance draws its own line in the sand between the short-sighted selfishness of greed-based violence, and the human integrity of creative endeavour.
Brilliance is a study of light, an exploration of light’s creativity versus darkness’s emphasis on greed and destruction. Light is epitomized in the brooch that William designs for Felice, and the ring he makes for Janet / Marlene; both of which reveal the artist in him – two pieces of jewellery that ultimately, with light, overcome the malevolent intentions of those who would take other’s creations, rather than create themselves.
The film is a dance as well; a dance of gems into their settings, Janet’s tossing of Marlene’s possessions, Felice’s floating from her grief into the ‘future’ of William’s workshop, Josh and Bart’s mis-steps towards their own demise.
It is also very much a story about second chances; William’s previous wife didn’t appreciate his artistry – and he in turn doesn’t appreciate others, as he’s so isolated in his work. Felice is so desperate for closure with her dead husband that she ignores the fact she actually needs help to survive. Janet is so bent on having things her way she can’t see that Marlene might have some issues. Even the wannabe heisters Josh and Bart are looking for a new chance. But it’s also a film about learning to see – William finally sees Felice in a new light, all through the prism of this second chance – the bullet that hits the wrong person.
As a result, light and creativity overcome brutality and greed, through elegance, grace and an openness to happenstance.
What I love about the script is the intricacy with which it is interwoven, the delicate clockwork, and its warmth and affection for all the characters. Like a finely designed gem, my intent through performance, camera, editing, design and sound, is to bring out moments of brilliance emerging from the pain of William, Janet, Felice, Marlene, and even Bart and Josh. Josh’s tragedy and come-uppance is that he refuses to rise through his pain, but is willing to inflict it on others as a salve for his own wounds.
Our tonality is a balance:
the playfulness of Vivaldi meeting the gravitas of Beethoven (with a funk undertone), and the whimsy of Dali mixed in with the lightness of Pierre Bonard, the quiet of Vermeer, and a bit of the oddity of Jan Saudek’s photography too.
Hopefully, together, we will create our own little gem, its lights gracing the hearts of our viewers with a dash of charm that will make us value our moment at hand just that bit more.