Soldier, Sailor, Mermaid, Spy
screenplay by Alan Nafzger
As an eight year-old boy, Adrik Lebedinsky is vacationing with his family near Sochi. While swimming, he gazes deep into the ocean and sees something that fascinates him. Adrik dives deep into the water. He grasps the hands of a girl who is inexplicably under the water with him and an instant connection forms between the two. Adrik very deep and is nearly out of breath. He passes out and is drowning, but is suddenly something propels him to the surface and fishermen being him aboard a ship, though apparently no one else sees the girl. After the ship moves off, Adrik continues to look back at the girl in the water. She then dives underwater again, showing her mermaid’s tail. Adrik comes to believe the encounter was a near-death vision hallucination, but his bond with the mermaid proves so strong that his subsequent relationships with women invariably fail as he seeks the connection he felt with the mermaid.
Years later, in the middle of a Ukrainian civil war, Adrik is a pilot in the Russian navy on the Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov. When the civil war begins the Kuznetsova with Adrik returns to the Black Sea. The captain of the ship is an eccentric and somewhat deranged Zhenya Yaroslavsky. When his plane is shot down Adrik parachutes into the sea. His parachute and flotation equipment fails and he sinks into the water. Apparently he is dead.
Adrik wakes up back on the aircraft carrier where he encounters a beautiful naked woman who, unknown to him, is the mermaid he met as a boy (her tail transforms into legs when it becomes dry). He instantly becomes attracted to her as she had again saved him from drowning. After kissing him, she dives into the sea and leaves Adrik to recover his health. Yaroslavsky, while flying strange missions in order to seek proof of strange sea creatures, also encounters the mermaid in her sea form, causing him to become obsessed with finding her again.
Curious and naked she boards the naval vessel again. She brings information with her about a mysterious submarine that is hunting the aircraft carrier. Still naked, she uses a grease pencil to drawn the location of the submarine. Only one sailor sees her in the fog of war and he is paralyzed to silence.
Throughout the film, a marine gets a glimpse of the mermaid and is continually on the verge of eliminating her.
The mermaid uses her smell to find Adrik’s bunk and she crawls into his bed. While Adrik is in the ship’s hospital, she is cared for by Fredek Shchavelsky, his womanizing roommate. She picks up Russian from listening to the ship’s various radio frequencies all day and chooses the name Aviation from an Aviation sign. Her Mer name is unpronounceable.
When Adrik is released from the hospital. Aviation is vague about where she comes from and tries to distract Adrik from asking questions about her country of origin. She tells Adrik that she will be on the ship for “six fun-filled nights when the moon is full” and if she stays longer, she can never go home again. There is a scene in which Aviation is visited by a sea hag and they make this bargain. Despite Aviation’s occasional unusual behavior, she and Adrik fall in love. Adrik eventually proposes to Aviation, to which she declines, refusing to explain why and runs away, leaving Adrik confused and heartbroken. After pondering her reason for coming to the ship in the first place, Aviation returns to Adrik and agrees to marry him, with the added promise of telling him the truth about her at an upcoming dignity dinner to welcome the President of Russia.
Meanwhile, Yaroslavsky, realizing that the naked woman on his ship was the mermaid he had encountered, pursues the couple, trying to expose her as a mermaid by splashing her with water. Many attempts are unsuccessful and Yaroslavsky ends up with multiple injuries, including a badly broken arm and whiplash. When he finally does so at the dignity dinner attended by Adrik and Aviation, the exposed mermaid is taken to the ship’s brig. Yaroslavsky’s career could skyrocket, if the mermaid can be weaponized. However, Yaroslavsky regrets his actions after he learns that Aviation is due to be studied and dissected, as he just wanted to prove that he wasn’t crazy.
Adrik is, of course, shocked by Aviation’s secret and when he denies his love for her, Fredek lashes out at him, telling his friend how happy he was with her. Finally, Adrik confronts a guilt-ridden Yaroslavsky, who agrees to help him.
Adrik and his roommate enter the brig with Yaroslavsky and manage to smuggle Aviation outside.
This story ending gives the audience what it wants, but not in the way it expects.
SOLDIER, SAILOR, MERMAID, SPY LINKS
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