Director Molly E. Smith and screenwriter Sara Oliva’s short film, Lioness, makes its title a metaphor, applying it to a mother’s fierce love for her child.
Our tale opens in a seedy motel room. As her child (Lily Jane) sleeps, a mother (Sara Oliva) stands by the window as we hear the sound of a car driving off into the distance. Almost immediately, the mother barricades the door using the motel room’s furniture. She then embarks on a special project MacGuyvering the Yellow Pages, a sewing kit, and her literal spit and sweat.
“…embarks on a special project MacGuyvering the Yellow Pages, a sewing kit, and her literal spit and sweat.”
Smith and Oliva’s short runs a brisk 7 minutes and wastes no time on needless exposition. Oliva is front-and-center playing the mother, and all the explanation you need to know about the mother’s story is in her face and body language. Like any good story, Lioness keeps you in the dark about its intentions until the end. But the filmmakers surprise us once more with the button.
Speaking of, Lioness brilliantly shifts focus from the mother’s point-of-view immediately to the daughter’s for a genuinely touching moment near the conclusion. In the end, filmmakers Molly E. Smith and Sara Oliva make that poignant connection between a mother lion protecting her cub in a very unexpected way. Isn’t this precisely what we want from short films?
For screening information, visit the Lioness official website.
"…all the explanation you need to know...is in her face and body language."