LOVEBIRD LULLABY

Based on the short film Transference

Production: Skydome Pictures

Producers: Chelsie Dias, Michael Nakache

Technical Details: Ratio: 2.39:1 – Color – 115 min

Stage: Casting

Release year: 2021

Feature Film

Lovebird Lullaby

Mind-Boggling Riveting Cerebral


Director:
Michael Nakache

Writer: Olivier Volpi

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Logline
A psychiatrist and her baby get trapped in their house by a patient who turns out to be a dangerous psychopath and unfamiliar figure from her traumatic past.

Feature Film

Lovebird Lullaby

Mind-Boggling Riveting Cerebral

Director: Michael Nakache

Writer: Olivier Volpi

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Logline
A psychiatrist and her baby get trapped in their house by a patient who turns out to be a dangerous psychopath and unfamiliar figure from her traumatic past.

Production: Skydome Pictures

Producers: Chelsie Dias, Michael Nakache

Technical Details: Ratio: 2.39:1 – Color – 115 min

Stage: Casting

Release year: 2021

Influences

DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT

Undoubtedly inspired by my mother, a doctor and psychoanalyst, “Lovebird Lullaby” is the manifestation of a childhood nightmare. While fascinating to be raised around psychology books and hear the often hair-raising stories of my mother’s patients, an inherent fear always loomed that she could one day begin treatment with a dangerous patient who would put her and our family in harm’s way. This is the very premise for “Lovebird Lullaby”: Rachel Klein, a well-trained psychiatrist, comes toe to toe with the worst prototype of a patient, a psychopath. We’re set up to think the film will mostly show a confrontation with a lunatic, Edward, like it normally should in your average psychological thriller. But it doesn’t. A complex tale of love, mental illness, and the unexpected healing that emerges when surviving a dreadful situation ensues.

FLAWED HEROINE | RACHEL

This is true for our flawed heroine, Rachel, who suffers from dissociative amnesia born from a traumatic childhood that she can’t remember. An equally strong protagonist to the svengali Edward, her emotional journey is just as important as the narrative one. Even though she’s tough, we’re genuinely terrified for her well-being as she tries to break free from Edward’s grip. We sense her vulnerability given she not only needs to look out for herself but also her newborn, and experience catharsis when she finally prevails. Heroes appear more heroic when we empathize with them.

SVENGALI VILLAIN | EDWARD

But let’s take a minute and talk about our antagonist, Edward. While he’s a snarky, sardonic, menacing “factor 2 psychopath,” there’s an undeniable magnetism about him. He’s like that brilliant classmate in college who engaged every bit of your attention and carved a space in your mind. However, what is frightening about him is that he can break you down – psychologically because he’s so intelligent and physically because he’s so strong.

INTELLECTUAL SPAR | DIALOGUE

In my opinion, the real entertainment is in the dialogue as opposed to the cast being slashed to bits like in your typical horror movie. So, the second half of the film is a character study where Edward and Rachel intellectually spar. Rachel is challenged to reevaluate her morals when met with the philosophical implications of a psychopath – one of the many ways “Lovebird Lullaby” succeeds in turning the genre on its head. But it also succeeds within the unspoken rules of the thriller/horror genre. So yes, for those less interested in character development, the story is intriguing, the villain terrifying, and the film has just enough horror beats to satisfy you. Audience experience is very important to me. I don’t know about you, but I still enjoy going to the movies for the sheer pleasure of being in a theatre for 2 hours and firmly believe films should be seen on the big screen. Therefore, the audience needs to feel this film is worth the price of admission and great cinema is never telling the audience what you are doing; this ain’t a novel. Great cinema is showing it.

RESPECT FOR THE CRAFT | DIRECTION

I intend to direct “Lovebird Lullaby” with style, authenticity, and drama so you care about the characters and their circumstances as opposed to, “Who’s the killer?! OMG…Don’t go down in the basement!” I will also take great care to ensure meticulous precision in all visual aspects of my directing. A lot of directors just go, “Let’s put the camera here, shoot coverage, and hand it off to the editor and he/she will find the humanity” but I’ve always had an opposite view. A director must have a reason to shoot close. Wide. Use this color. Clarify any bumps in the narrative. Furthermore, “Lovebird Lullaby” will be flat out beautiful from the sets, props, lighting, everything but it won’t just be beautiful for the sake of being beautiful. It’s the respect for the craft.

A LIFE OF ITS OWN | VISUALS

My visuals will match the screenplay both in evilness and terror so it will feel like one big panic attack. In every frame, I’ll build a sense of eeriness that will develop into shivers, then hysteria – but slowly, just like the pace of my previous works. Even though I usually favor long focal lenses, I intend to frequently use wide-angle lenses on Rachel’s face to affect the viewer psychologically, so they feel uneasy as if they’re in the room watching the pandemonium unfold. Additionally, the two leads will often look directly in the camera as they speak to one another so we feel like we’re having the conversation ourselves.

It’s essential to understand the psychological effects that specific lenses, camera angles, and, furthermore, the edit and score will have on the viewer. The editing will reflect the acceleration of the story and the infernal spiral Rachel is trapped in. It will also focus on the emotional journey of both Rachel and Edward, emphasizing every look and reaction, so the tension progressively builds. In contrast, I’m a firm believer that playing with the audience’s imagination is the best way to maintain suspension of disbelief so much of the violence in the film will be moved off-screen and heightened by the sound design and score. On its own, the score will be an integral part of the film’s narrative. Orchestral and harmonious, a zombie lullaby will drag us along Rachel’s descent into hell.

THE MASTERS | INSPIRATION

Throughout the making of this film, I’ll draw inspiration from thriller masters Hitchcock, De Palma, Fincher, and Verhoeven, but also from artists such as Gregory Crewdson, Georges de La Tour, and Joseph Wright of Derby who have all had a large influence on me.

CINEMA | COMMERCIAL YET ARTISTIC

Both artistic and commercial, “Lovebird Lullaby” sums up what I think cinema is: an intersection of both art and entertainment (which seems to be mutually exclusive now). Cinema should not be married to either intellectualism or commerce. Like all art, it has the capacity to make you think, feel, and inspire without having to explain itself with $20 words or cater to the lowest denominator. Thus, not only is “Lovebird Lullaby” a psychological thriller that will keep the audience on the edge of their seats but it’s also a necessary and layered female-driven film raising universal questions about independence, guilt, and trauma. And when a film can terrify and engage you the entire way, you’ve done your job as a filmmaker to tell your story and command the attention of the viewer through image and sound.

ONE LOCATION | RACHEL’S HOUSE

The majority of the film takes place in Rachel’s home that has a distinct identity of its own within the film. The desired aesthetic is similar to the house in Bong Joon-ho’s “Parasite”: a contemporary open floor-plan with polished concrete floors, glass walls, and minimalistic furniture. However, Rachel’s home has unique attributes that not only reflect her taste in art, but also her need for security and her professional comfort.

RACHEL’S HOUSE | A MODERN FORTRESS

The entire home might as well be Fort Knox! Equipped with a state-of-the-art security system including motorized metal security shutters on every window and door, it’s very safe when the enemy is outside, but an effective prison when held captive.

RACHEL’S HOUSE | PSYCHIATRY PRACTICE

In contrast with the sleek lines of the house, Rachel’s home psychiatry office will be crowded with books and the walls in warms tones.

DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT

Undoubtedly inspired by my mother, a doctor and psychoanalyst, “Lovebird Lullaby” is the manifestation of a childhood nightmare. While fascinating to be raised around psychology books and hear the often hair-raising stories of my mother’s patients, an inherent fear always loomed that she could one day begin treatment with a dangerous patient who would put her and our family in harm’s way. This is the very premise for “Lovebird Lullaby”: Rachel Klein, a well-trained psychiatrist, comes toe to toe with the worst prototype of a patient, a psychopath. We’re set up to think the film will mostly show a confrontation with a lunatic, Edward, like it normally should in your average psychological thriller. But it doesn’t. A complex tale of love, mental illness, and the unexpected healing that emerges when surviving a dreadful situation ensues.

FLAWED HEROINE | RACHEL

This is true for our flawed heroine, Rachel, who suffers from dissociative amnesia born from a traumatic childhood that she can’t remember. An equally strong protagonist to the svengali Edward, her emotional journey is just as important as the narrative one. Even though she’s tough, we’re genuinely terrified for her well-being as she tries to break free from Edward’s grip. We sense her vulnerability given she not only needs to look out for herself but also her newborn, and experience catharsis when she finally prevails. Heroes appear more heroic when we empathize with them.

SVENGALI VILLAIN | EDWARD

But let’s take a minute and talk about our antagonist, Edward. While he’s a snarky, sardonic, menacing “factor 2 psychopath,” there’s an undeniable magnetism about him. He’s like that brilliant classmate in college who engaged every bit of your attention and carved a space in your mind. However, what is frightening about him is that he can break you down – psychologically because he’s so intelligent and physically because he’s so strong.

INTELLECTUAL SPAR | DIALOGUE

In my opinion, the real entertainment is in the dialogue as opposed to the cast being slashed to bits like in your typical horror movie. So, the second half of the film is a character study where Edward and Rachel intellectually spar. Rachel is challenged to reevaluate her morals when met with the philosophical implications of a psychopath – one of the many ways “Lovebird Lullaby” succeeds in turning the genre on its head. But it also succeeds within the unspoken rules of the thriller/horror genre. So yes, for those less interested in character development, the story is intriguing, the villain terrifying, and the film has just enough horror beats to satisfy you. Audience experience is very important to me. I don’t know about you, but I still enjoy going to the movies for the sheer pleasure of being in a theatre for 2 hours and firmly believe films should be seen on the big screen. Therefore, the audience needs to feel this film is worth the price of admission and great cinema is never telling the audience what you are doing; this ain’t a novel. Great cinema is showing it.

RESPECT FOR THE CRAFT | DIRECTION

I intend to direct “Lovebird Lullaby” with style, authenticity, and drama so you care about the characters and their circumstances as opposed to, “Who’s the killer?! OMG…Don’t go down in the basement!” I will also take great care to ensure meticulous precision in all visual aspects of my directing. A lot of directors just go, “Let’s put the camera here, shoot coverage, and hand it off to the editor and he/she will find the humanity” but I’ve always had an opposite view. A director must have a reason to shoot close. Wide. Use this color. Clarify any bumps in the narrative. Furthermore, “Lovebird Lullaby” will be flat out beautiful from the sets, props, lighting, everything but it won’t just be beautiful for the sake of being beautiful. It’s the respect for the craft.

A LIFE OF ITS OWN | VISUALS

My visuals will match the screenplay both in evilness and terror so it will feel like one big panic attack. In every frame, I’ll build a sense of eeriness that will develop into shivers, then hysteria – but slowly, just like the pace of my previous works. Even though I usually favor long focal lenses, I intend to frequently use wide-angle lenses on Rachel’s face to affect the viewer psychologically, so they feel uneasy as if they’re in the room watching the pandemonium unfold. Additionally, the two leads will often look directly in the camera as they speak to one another so we feel like we’re having the conversation ourselves.

It’s essential to understand the psychological effects that specific lenses, camera angles, and, furthermore, the edit and score will have on the viewer. The editing will reflect the acceleration of the story and the infernal spiral Rachel is trapped in. It will also focus on the emotional journey of both Rachel and Edward, emphasizing every look and reaction, so the tension progressively builds. In contrast, I’m a firm believer that playing with the audience’s imagination is the best way to maintain suspension of disbelief so much of the violence in the film will be moved off-screen and heightened by the sound design and score. On its own, the score will be an integral part of the film’s narrative. Orchestral and harmonious, a zombie lullaby will drag us along Rachel’s descent into hell.

THE MASTERS | INSPIRATION

Throughout the making of this film, I’ll draw inspiration from thriller masters Hitchcock, De Palma, Fincher, and Verhoeven, but also from artists such as Gregory Crewdson, Georges de La Tour, and Joseph Wright of Derby who have all had a large influence on me.

CINEMA | COMMERCIAL YET ARTISTIC

Both artistic and commercial, “Lovebird Lullaby” sums up what I think cinema is: an intersection of both art and entertainment (which seems to be mutually exclusive now). Cinema should not be married to either intellectualism or commerce. Like all art, it has the capacity to make you think, feel, and inspire without having to explain itself with $20 words or cater to the lowest denominator. Thus, not only is “Lovebird Lullaby” a psychological thriller that will keep the audience on the edge of their seats but it’s also a necessary and layered female-driven film raising universal questions about independence, guilt, and trauma. And when a film can terrify and engage you the entire way, you’ve done your job as a filmmaker to tell your story and command the attention of the viewer through image and sound.

ONE LOCATION | RACHEL’S HOUSE

The majority of the film takes place in Rachel’s home that has a distinct identity of its own within the film. The desired aesthetic is similar to the house in Bong Joon-ho’s “Parasite”: a contemporary open floor-plan with polished concrete floors, glass walls, and minimalistic furniture. However, Rachel’s home has unique attributes that not only reflect her taste in art, but also her need for security and her professional comfort.

RACHEL’S HOUSE | A MODERN FORTRESS

The entire home might as well be Fort Knox! Equipped with a state-of-the-art security system including motorized metal security shutters on every window and door, it’s very safe when the enemy is outside, but an effective prison when held captive.

RACHEL’S HOUSE | PSYCHIATRY PRACTICE

In contrast with the sleek lines of the house, Rachel’s home psychiatry office will be crowded with books and the walls in warms tones.