Caroline Harvey, Writer & Director
Emily comes from a place of frustration: about the form of short film, the fashion for them to be silent, to be genre driven, to be bleak, to have an obvious twist in the tail. It also comes from an irritation with the way in which women are portrayed on screen: be it Jane Austen, Bridget Jones or Sex And The City. Female characters are usually rigorously pinned to a narrative by a mass of explanation and consequence: ‘she’s that way because of this and now she’ll suffer…’ - a falsehood. If only we knew why we are the way we are, why we behave in certain ways, if only we weren’t so mysterious.
I wanted to interrogate gender politics from the perspective of a young woman, living in contemporary London. I wanted the story to be a character piece, to be a complete story, with strong dialogue spoken by two great actors.
Emily puts two English characters within the framework of a stereotypically French film, deconstructing a common sexual fantasy to explore the moment two strangers meet and attempt to fill their loneliness with each others’ need. I’m preoccupied with how acutely attuned we are to our own existence when we’re at a low ebb. It is egotism but it leads us to behave in impulsive and dramatic ways.
The film is about gender roles, desire, control, frustration, the lust inherent in sorrow, the lies we tell ourselves and each other, the peculiarities of being English. I wanted to write about a sexual encounter in which no-one is attacked, hurt, contracts a disease, gets pregnant, arrested or dies. Most significantly, I wanted to write about a situation where no woman is controlled, rather the opposite: certain encounters allow us to learn about ourselves, our limitations, what we want and need. That these experiences are as capable of healing as they are of damaging us.