Berlin International Film Festival

Ali Abbasi, director of “Shelley” #Berlinale2016

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10 min. and 10 sec.

A psychological thriller to treat the “surrogate motherhood” topic

Play Podcast
10 min. and 10 sec.

PODCAST: FRED’s Chiara Nicoletti interviews Ali Abbasi, director of Shelley, from the Panorama section of the 66th Berlinale

To listen to the interview, click on the ► icon on the right, just above the picture of the film

Ali Abbasi presented Shelley in the Panorama section of the 66th Berlin International Film Festival. FRED caught up with him to talk about it, and he explained his choice of the psychological thriller/horror genre as a metaphor, a device that allowed him to treat the complicated topic of surrgoate motherhood with a distant and impartial point of view.

SHELLEY: Young Romanian woman Elena arrives in the Danish countryside to work as a housekeeper for a recovering Louise and her husband Kasper. It’s an eerie feeling, being deep in a dense forest, far away from modern life. Especially since the isolated house is still and somber without electricity, according to Louise’s wishes. Elena adjusts quickly to her new routine of household chores, tending to chickens and helping fragile Louise. The two women grow closer, but the more they know one another, the more each finds the other stranger. Louise is devastated being unable to bear children after a horrifying miscarriage. Desperate for a child of her own, Louise offers Elena a generous financial deal to be the couple’s surrogate mother. Elena kindly accepts, and the money will help her return home sooner to her own small son. Elena’s pregnancy brings joy to the home of Louise and Kasper, but only briefly. The couple are troubled by Elena’s atypical cravings and aloof behavior. Bizarre hallucinations and unbearable sensations drive Elena to believe that something is frightfully wrong. The life growing inside of her is taking shape too fast, upsetting the lives of everyone like an evil force…

  • Reporter
    Chiara Nicoletti
  • Guest
    Ali Abbasi
  • Interviewee role
    director
  • Film title
    Shelley
  • Festival section
    Panorama
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