Watch: A Smile Leads to Danger in Shelly Lauman's Short Film 'Birdie'

April 15, 2019
Source: YouTube

Birdie Short Film

A short look at how a simple smile can lead to danger and terror. Birdie is a short film made by filmmaker Shelly Lauman, the next film debuted as part of Fox Searchlight's new online initiative called "Searchlight Shorts". A woman walks alone to the train station. As she descends the stairs to the underground platform she smiles at a young man, and he smiles back. With the smallest of gestures, the woman becomes caught in a subtle and sinister game. Maeve Dermody stars, with Sam Parsonson, Joshua Brennan, Lynette Curran, and Eden Falk. This simple but powerful short film utilizes the Academy aspect ratio of 1.37:1, and plays without any real dialogue. It's an example of how bad it is out there for women, how aggressive men can be, and how the tiniest of kind gestures can be misconstrued as an invitation. Watch in full below.

Birdie Short Film Poster

Birdie is presented by Fox Searchlight as a "Searchlight Short". Original description from YouTube: "Birdie is a drama following a woman walking alone in a train station, who finds herself part of a sinister game after returning the smallest of gestures to a young man." Birdie is both written and directed by filmmaker Shelly Lauman - see more of her work (inclduing more of her short films) on Vimeo or visit her official website. Produced by Elizabeth Cater; featuring cinematography by Anna Howard. This premiered at the Melbourne Film Festival, as well as at AFI Fest last year. It is being presented as part of Fox Searchlight's new initiative to feature powerful short films they deem worthy of being seen by a big audience, debuting a new one online every month. For more from Searchlight, follow their YouTube. To watch more shorts, click here. Thoughts?

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Always grimace. Makes people feel unease and they won't bother you.

DAVIDPD on Apr 15, 2019


So? Big deal. Lots of weird guys, but this was hardly traumatizing. It's also very difficult and challenging to pull off what this director and actress were attempting to do with just looks, etc. Not sure they pulled it off, but give them an A for effort. First off, I did not and do not like the aspect ratio. Second, I didn't like the washed out photography. I like to see some red and color contrast and hate faces washed out pale looking like this. Another thing, she made a huge mistake retaking her seat and sliding all the way over to the window seat allowing available seats next to her. I thought that was just stupid and lost caring for someone that naive. She knew she had a problem with the guys, so she allows seats next to her that they could take? It's dumb and a bad decision on the director's part. I would of had her sit on the aisle seat and then had the guy sit in front of her and get on his knees facing towards her over the back of his seat to harass her visually...then get up and leave. Actually, I would have directed the whole thing completely different starting with the exchange of small smiles to her standing waiting for the train. She kept looking over towards him and didn't need to. Having eye contact again with a guy only encourages and for jerks it's a no-no. I would've had her glance over unobtrusively, not seen by the guy, just to make sure she knew where they were and staying alert and on guard. I liked the whole idea as I feel for women out in public. I raised a daughter and have several very good women friends who tell me of their uncomfortable encounters with men out in public. It's no fun for them and I have great empathy for their experiences. Many men, too many men, are jerks. Immature, insecure, angry, afraid of females. So, I liked the idea and wished the filmmakers had succeeded in pulling it off better than they did. Perhaps it was too nuanced and subtle. Perhaps they could have raised the stakes and tension a bit more. Other than that this is one of the better short films Alex has shared with us so far. At least to me. I was engaged and bothered and also frustrated with some of the choices, but that's okay. That's a good thing, at least for me, because if not, I wouldn't be interested enough to be bothered one way or the other.

thespiritbo on Apr 15, 2019

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