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White Bird in a Blizzard 2014

White Bird in a Blizzard | White Bird

White Bird in a Blizzard

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A story about a girl and her mother.

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About the White Bird in a Blizzard 💬

Kat Connors' life is thrown into chaos when her mother disappears.

  • I was 17 when my mother disappeared...

Kat Connors (Shailene Woodley) is 17 years old when her perfect homemaker mother, Eve (Eva Green), a beautiful, enigmatic, and haunted woman, disappears - just as Kat is discovering and relishing her newfound sexuality.

  • Family. And related mysteries.

Having lived for so long in a stifled, emotionally repressed household, she barely registers her mother's absence and certainly doesn't blame her doormat of a father, Brock, (Christopher Meloni) for the loss. In fact, it's almost a relief. But as time passes, Kat begins to come to grips with how deeply Eve's disappearance has affected her. Returning home on a break from college, she finds herself confronted with the truth about her mother's departure, and her own denial about the events surrounding it...

  • The mystery has a way of seducing you.

Youth passion. Becoming seventeen. Loss of innocence. Daring to explore. Discovering sex. Falling in love.


Q: WHITE BIRD IN A BLIZZARD is adapted from a novel by Laura Kasischke. What made you decide to make this story into a movie?

Gregg Araki: A producer friend and collaborator of mine, Sebastien Lemercier, recommended the book which I read and fell in love with. I was instantly struck by the novel's lyrical and poetic nature. It really haunted me and reminded me of what I had liked about Scott Heim's novel Mysterious Skin: softness and beauty within the violence.

Q: What was it about the book that moved you the most?

Gregg Araki: It's difficult to put into words but you instinctively know what movies you need to make. Laura's storytelling style is impressionistic and also very visual and cinematic so it lends itself perfectly to the filmmaking process. The feminist aspect of her viewpoint also appealed to me as I have always been heavily influenced by feminist film theory. WHITE BIRD is the story of a young woman, Kat Connors, who is taking her first steps into her own sexuality just as her world is turned upside down by the sudden disappearance of her mother. But the novel isn't a generic suspense thriller - it's more measured, introspective, a beautiful and haunting portrait of a broken American family. Kat's mother, Eve, is an archetypal suburban housewife - a woman whose place in the world has been prescribed for her by society. She dutifully manages her household but it slowly turns into a prison. Eva Green, who plays Eve, and I were both really compelled and fascinated by this tragic component of her character.

Q: What was involved in adapting the novel?

Gregg Araki: A filmmaker has the advantage of being able to tell a story through images - and Laura's novel was full of beautiful, cinematic imagery to start with. I always work with a storyboard so I can put the images which are playing in my head onto paper for others - the crew, the actors, etc. - to see. It helps me make the imaginary real. The world that Laura created was rich and very vivid - the snow in Kat’s dreams, the gloomy interior of the Connors house, it was all there in the book. I always find it's easier to work from something that exists, because the story, characters, and images are already there. All you have to do is hone and sculpt them into a 90-minute format.

Q: This is your second book adaptation, after Mysterious Skin. Both films feature a certain softness, an intentional romanticism. It's almost as though adapting someone else's work tames your style...

Gregg Araki: You could look at it that way I suppose. But at the same time, both films explore my usual stylistic and thematic concerns - dreams and the surreal, sexual coming of age, people who are outsiders in society, etc. For me, adapting someone else's work usually means finding a voice that I empathize with, which really strikes a chord in me. Scott Heim and Laura are both clear examples of this. Then, in making the book into a film, it's about staying true to that voice while enhancing it with my own authorial vision. With a film like Kaboom or Doom Generation, which are original screenplays I wrote, those films are more like my imagination running wild, not in service of another author's voice and point of view. Ultimately though, despite their seeming difference in tone and surface, the films which are my original ideas and those I adapt from other sources fit together.

Q: The narrative structure relies heavily on Kat's dreams. How did you work with these dreams?

Gregg Araki: The dreams Kat has of her mother lost in the snow give us an insight into the emotional bond between them as well as illuminating what is going on inside Kat's head. My films have always been influenced by surrealism and filmmakers like David Lynch so the way Laura utilizes dreams in the book definitely appealed to me. It really gave me a pathway into the story.

Q: WHITE BIRD IN A BLIZZARD unfolds almost entirely from Kat's perspective - it's told from a very feminine point of view...

Gregg Araki: It's not the first time I've made a movie centered on a female protagonist - Smiley Face (2007) and even in The Doom Generation (1995), a significant part of the action is seen through Amy Blue's eyes. From my days in film school, I've always been interested in the feminist perspective which is why Laura's sensibility is such a good fit for me.

Q: This film also seems to take a different approach to one of your favorite subjects - adolescence.

Gregg Araki: Adolescence is a time of change and transition, where nothing is stable or certain, and teenagers live a life that is a big question mark - so naturally they make compelling dramatic subjects. However, I'm in my fifties and not particularly interested in dragging out my adolescence in my movies. Throughout all my films, my perspective of this period of life has changed significantly over the years. In WHITE BIRD, the crazy rock 'n' roll side of adolescence is virtually non-existent. Instead, the film focuses on Kat's troubled and dysfunctional family and as a result, it's much quieter and more serious. There's a big difference between this movie and Doom Generation, made 20 years ago. While Doom is very wild and chaotic, WHITE BIRD IN A BLIZZARD is more controlled, introspective, classical almost in structure and tone.

Q: There are some characters, like Kat's close friends, who seem to represent the outcasts of the world: the overweight Afro-American, the gay best friend...

Gregg Araki: In the book, Kat's friends were two white girls. My movies have always been about outsiders, those who don't really fit into mainstream American society. That's why I changed these characters as I envisioned Kat and her friends as misfits who create a world unto themselves. They are perfectly content living outside of the norm, apart from the middle of the road ''popular'' kids, because they have each other.

Q: You purposefully set the film in the late Eighties. How does this context impact the tragedy that befalls this family?

Gregg Araki: Women like Eve Connors grew up in the Fifties and Sixties - a time before the major societal and cultural developments of women's rights and feminism. These women were taught from a young age that their place was in the home. Eva Green and I discussed this idea at length when we were talking about Eve. Someone like Eve would have been greatly influenced by the icons of that period: Jackie Kennedy, Elizabeth Taylor, and all of Hitchcock's heroines who were the incarnation of the feminine ideal in their time. These women would have all been role models for Eve, so she lives to project the image of the perfect wife and mother. One of my favorite scenes is the montage of an impeccably dressed Eve cleaning her house - which we intentionally shot and lit so it looks like one of those old TV commercials glorifying the happy, perfect housewife.

Q: You mentioned Hitchcock, who wasn't known for being a feminist. Kat's mother seems more like a character from a Douglas Sirk melodrama...

Gregg Araki: Sirk is definitely a reference. And I guess you could say Hitchcock is almost more like the ''anti'' reference - since his women are systematically trapped, victimized, and even murdered as they are idealized and put on a pedestal. With WHITE BIRD, I wanted to show how the ''paradise'' of suburban America could turn into a sort of living hell. My set designer, when he first read the script, said: ''Wow, that's the story of my family!'' The dilemma of the Connors family, beyond the story's more extreme dramatic elements, is actually a pretty common one. The foundation of the American Dream is that everyone is supposed to have the same dream but the reality is that there is a lot of unhappiness, a lot of secrets and lies and hidden tragedy. Laura's novel really eloquently points out that the American Dream doesn't necessarily work for everyone. It reminded me in a way of American Beauty (Sam Mendes - 1999) and The Ice Storm (Ang Lee - 1997), portraits of the American middle class that explore the darkness lurking beneath the seemingly perfect facade. Hollywood doesn't really make that kind of movie anymore.

White Bird in a Blizzard Movie Details 🎥

Directed by

Gregg Araki

Writing Credits

Gregg Araki (Screenplay)

Laura Kasischke (Based on the Novel by)


Shailene Woodley

Eva Green

Christopher Meloni

Shiloh Fernandez

Gabourey Sidibe

Thomas Jane

Angela Bassett

Ava Acres

Dale Dickey

Mark Indelicato

Jacob Artist

Brenda Koo

Sheryl Lee

Music by

Harold Budd

Robin Guthrie

Cinematography by

Sandra Valde-Hansen

Genres: Drama, Mystery, Thriller

Countries: France, United States

White Bird in a Blizzard Official Trailer

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