Selkies are sea creatures from Irish and Scandinavian folklore possessing the ability to transform from seals to human beings while on land.
In the modern fantasy short SELKIE, written and directed by filmmaker Amy Frear, one such creature (Katie Stahl) follows a school of herring up the Delaware river. Curious about her new surroundings, the selkie sheds her seal-skin and transforms into a human woman.
When a man (Jordan Mottram) discovers her seal-skin on the shore, he steals it, trapping her in her human guise.
She then becomes his reluctant girlfriend.
Although the selkie appears human, she is not. She tries to sublimate her true nature in an attempt to conform with human society.
Stifled and lonely, she seeks any opportunity to regain her freedom and return to the sea.
SELKIE is a beautifully shot and well-acted narrative metaphor for the soul-crushing effect of being involved in an unhealthy relationship.
What also makes this short film remarkable is it relays the emotional beats of the story without a word of dialogue spoken - except for the fisherman’s opening monologue.
The actors - especially Stahl as the titular sea creature - masterfully use body language and facial expressions to convey subtle as well as intense emotional states such as quiet desperation and the sheer exhilaration of freedom gained.
Watch SELKIE here…
Ultimately, SELKIE is a poignant and elegant fantasy short about the vital importance of maintaining our personal freedom and sense of self throughout the ebbs and flows.of the many relationships we experience in life.
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