NEVER GOODBYE

 

Based on a true story, “Never Goodbye” is a star-crossed romance that takes place in the 1970’s, during the Cold War, when the U.S and the Soviet Union are straining to outdo each other in military technology by devising newer and deadlier weapons.  Margaret Fulton, art historian, comes to Leningrad on one of the rare exchange programs intended to promote “friendship” between the two hostile nations.  Her official mission is to do research on the success of female artists in the Soviet Union. Her secret mission: to find the next artistic genius of the century amongst the Russian underground artists who are part of the intellectual opposition.  Her forays into the “forbidden” social scene of Leningrad lead Margaret to Evgeny Rukhin – a charismatic, handsome, cosmopolitan young Russian painter, one of the leaders of the rebel intellectuals.  An innovative artist who also speaks 6 languages, Rukhin is famous for his wit and daring stunts defying the secret police, and a frequent guest at Western diplomat parties where he sells his works for hard currency. 

Margaret falls in love with Rukhin’s art and the artists himself. Rukhin, also a well-known womanizer, at first treats her like one of his usual conquests, but Margaret’s feisty, feminist, independent style – the opposite of what he has seen in Russian women – makes him consider her as more than his previous flings.  The two start a dangerous romance playing hide-and-seek with the KGB.  Margaret is determined to make Rukhin’s art known in the Western world – and to spread word about the human rights violations committed against Rukhin and his friends.  At one of the parties, Margaret meets Dick Life, a young, idealist American military attaché serving at the US Embassy, whose task is to gather information about a secret nuclear submarine the Russians are building in the Leningrad port.  Dick helps Margaret smuggle out several of Rukhin’s paintings to the West in order to stage an exhibit in New York.  Margaret and Rukhin’s activities are closely followed by the KGB, which has long been on Rukhin’s case, harassing him and sabotaging his work – but now that they see a connection between Rukhin and photos of their secret submarine making it to the CIA, the game turns to lethal.  Did Rukhin really cross the line from intellectual rebel to American spy? Does Igor – Rukhin’s unsuccessful, secretly jealous artist friend – have anything to do with the accusations? Will Margaret make the ultimate sacrifice to save Rukhin’s life?  Will their secret supporter inside the KGB – a low-level agent who was converted to the rebels’ side by Rukhin’s charisma – be able to prevent the inevitable?

This captivating love story, full of intrigue, passion and espionage, is more than a star-crossed romance.  Ultimately, it is a story about freedom of speech and artistic expression – which can never really be extinguished by any amount of tyrannical force - and the tragedy that happens when innocent people pursuing love and happiness become pawns in the senseless power struggle between international political forces.   The script is based on a true story related by the real-life Margaret, whose life story this writer has optioned.

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