Sophie’s Violin is the story of a young woman, who, on the eve of starting university, holidays with her parents in Bali at an unfortunate time in that country’s history…October 2002. She and her parents are in Bali as a reward they have given her after successfully completing high school. She is on the verge of starting a course at the Conservatorium of Music. At age 18, Sophie is already an accomplished violinist.
Enjoying the surf by day and restaurants by night, the family find themselves at The Sari Club in Kuta’s nightclub precinct on the evening when a car bomb blows the club apart.
Two hundred and two people lose their lives in a series of bomb blasts, among them Sophie’s parents. Sophie wakes to a terrifying hospital scene far from home and any support. It is the beginning of weeks in a foreign hospital followed by a prolonged period of rehabilitation.
When she returns home to Australia, she has to come to the realisation that her life must now be spent in a wheelchair as she is paralysed from the waist down.
Further rehabilitation in Sydney sees her finally return to the south coast of NSW to her grandfather’s home. In the time she has been away, he too has died leaving his best friend, a little dog called Jack, to whom Sophie returns and is welcomed. Although this section of the coast is full of wonderful memories from her childhood, she is unsure of how she will be able to continue.
She has to deal with many demons, not the least of which are the powerful memories of the blast that killed and maimed so many people around her on that October night. Horrific recollections of bloodied body-parts over which she had to crawl so as not to burn to death. The spine-chilling cries of the dying repeatedly fill her dreams…nightmares really that never seem to go away. Also however is the dilemma of having to deal with looking after herself with the minimal assistance she’s prepared to accept.
Slowly she attempts to forge a new existence. Coming to terms with her predicament came quickly, aided by the wonderfully supportive team of doctors and nurses in Indonesia. But now back in Australia, she has new challenges.
Day by day and week by week she makes laborious efforts. Two steps forward, one step back she often thinks. She begins to circulate and socialise and on one visit to the nearby coastal town of Bermagui, drops in at the pub to meet friends. On the television above the bar as they enjoy each other’s company and discuss the future, a newsflash broadcasts the disturbing event of the second Bali bombings. This tears her apart, sending her spiralling backwards into a state of despair and depression.
A chance meeting however sees Sophie introduced to Robert who is visiting the coastal hamlet for some peace and quiet in order to complete his thesis on the use of children as soldiers in war.
The two of them get together, and this offers an opportunity for Sophie to leave the depths of depression and get stuck into something worthwhile. Together she and Robert research the depressing background of areas of conflict where children are involved…Angola, The Congo, Eritrea, Sudan, Sri Lanka and others.
During this period, one of the most important things of all returns to Sophie’s life…her involvement in music. She starts to play her violin again.
Robert successfully attains his PhD and is assigned a position in Northern Zambia in a rehabilitation camp for child soldiers from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He invites Sophie to join him in what becomes the chance of a lifetime, not only for the two of them but more importantly for the young victims of war.
After a few months in Zambia they are recalled to Australia to assist in plans for the most progressive rehabilitation camp ever devised for the continent of Africa.
The screenplay for “Sophie’s Violin” is in the final stages of writing.
Listen to Andreas Wolf read an extract from “Sophie’s Violin”