About a Girl (film)

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About a Girl
Directed by Brian Percival
Produced by Janey de Nordwall
Rebecca Wright
Written by Julie Rutterford
Starring Ashley Thewlis
Sue Jaynes
Laren Creek
Cinematography Geoff Boyle
Release dates
  • 25 August 2001 (2001-08-25) (Edinburgh Film Festival)
Running time
9 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English

About a Girl is a nine-minute short film directed by Brian Percival. In 2001 it won the BAFTA Award for Best Short Film. It also won an award at the Edinburgh International Film Festival for Best British Short, the TCM Classic Shorts Award prize at the London Film Festival, and the Jury Prize at the Raindance Film Festival. The script was written by Julie Rutterford and the film was produced by Janey de Nordwall. The leading role was played by Ashley Thewlis.

Plot[edit]

About a Girl opens with a striking shot of a silhouette — against a skyline of clouds above a field — of a girl singing the Britney Spears song "Stronger" and doing the dance routine. It cuts abruptly to a close-up of the girl talking in a strong Mancunian accent to the camera: "If Jesus were alive today — right, he'd probably be a singer." She is walking against a backdrop of Manchester's industrial landscape, talking non-stop, mixing wry statements about stardom and singers with random quotes from her parents and descriptions of her life: her relationship with her dad, her frustrations with her mum, her desire to become a famous singer, the band she has formed with her friends. Things any 13-year-old might talk about. Her monologue is interrupted and intercut with different scenes of her with her family and her dad; her in a perfume department, sitting on a bench singing "Stronger" again, and on the back of a bus with her girlfriends singing "Oops!... I Did It Again" by Britney Spears and doing the routine.

As she goes on walking alongside a canal, the girl's stories become more and more underlain by an uncomfortable feeling that the gravity of her experiences does not match her flippant retelling of her everyday life: her descriptions of her pop idols and her favourite ice cream are mixed with hints about family troubles, poverty and domestic violence.

The 'underside' to her light-hearted storytelling is revealed in a shocking scene when, stating that she has become "good at hiding things", she throws the plastic bag she has been carrying into the canal. A camera shot from under the water reveals a baby surrounded by blood.

External links[edit]