A reputation built on a small filmography, Cate Shortland’s work is acclaimed for its sensitivity and breathtaking imagery. After a series of shorts, Shortland debuted with ‘Sommersault’, which featured a compelling breakthrough performance by Abbie Cornish. She plays Heidi, a young girl who escapes the claustrophobic confines of her hometown and embarks on a journey of personal discovery in the Australian Alps. Shortland’s poetic rendering of the landscape and account of a young woman’s finding her feet in the world were magnified in her second feature ‘Lore’. The film follows its titular heroine, the eldest daughter of a high-ranking Nazi family who at the end of the war is forced to flee with her siblings. On her journey, she come to terms with the division between her old world and the one she now struggles to fit in to. It is an original take on World War II – sympathetic to its protagonist whilst never shirking the need to show the horrors wreaked on this world by her parents’ generation.
Shortland’s most recent film ‘Berlin Syndrome’ once again offers a complex female character at its heart. Teresa Palmer plays a young woman involved in an intense affair only to discover how alone she is in the world. Like all her work, ‘Berlin Syndrome’ finds Shortland balancing a strong narrative with sensual, fleeting images of rapturous beauty.