In the opulent drawing room of the Presidential Palace, Kathryn, a British photojournalist, awaits the return of the dictator. Outside, the city is seized by revolution and rebels have taken over. Kathryn is here to take the dictator’s portrait but he is late...very late. She is forced to wait with Micheleine, the dictator’s wife, her best friend Genevieve, and her kleptomaniac interpreter. It soon becomes clear that Micheleine’s husband has fled the city, leaving his wife to the bloodthirsty rebels who are bombarding her with increasingly threatening phone calls. Although Micheleine tries to keep up appearances, her fear and trepidation are evident and she begins to crumble. It also becomes clear that her friendship with Genevieve masks a troubled history and bloody secret. The language barrier between Kathryn and the other women makes communication awkward and strained, and all four women are forced to analyze each other closely while they wait. As they drink and attempt to talk, the same scene is played out several times from different perspectives, and the women’s inner thoughts are slowly revealed. With danger on the doorstep, Micheleine is forced to accept her vulnerable position and offers Kathryn the coup of a lifetime: the before and after photograph of the body of a rebel-ravaged dictator’s wife.
Splendour guide sections