Body of Water


1H 35MIN

Availability ended 10/17/2021 EDT
What do you do when you can't let go?
Body of Water explores how women self-identify in a world that presents us with constantly conflicting perceptions of what it is to be female. It examines the destructive nature of eating disorders and body dysmorphia within a narrative film framework. Stephanie, a woman in her mid-thirties, is trying to overcome chronic anorexia in order to re-establish her relationship with her daughter, Pearl. Pearl now lives with Stephanie's mother, Susan and her fiancee Annette. The burden of Stephanie's illness puts pressure on their relationship, with Pearl angry at her mother but also hopeful that Stephanie is getting better. Stephanie is also challenged by a tension quietly simmering between herself and Susan, while attempts to find solace in a relationship with her nurse, Shaun, invite more turmoil.


From Edinburgh, Lucy graduated from the University of Warwick with a BA in Creative Writing in 2005 before moving to Shanghai. She lived there until 2010, writing, directing, and producing short films, commercials and television dramas as well as learning Mandarin. She then studied Film Directing at Columbia University’s MFAin New York. Her short films have screened at numerous international festivals and her debut novel, SHANGHAI PASSENGER, was published by Blue Mark Books in 2015.

Lucy currently leads the Screenwriting course on the University of Warwick’s Creative Writing Programme, blogs for Little White Lies about filmmaking and is in active development on a number of feature and television projects.

Director Statement

I initially wanted to write a story about eating disorders because of personal experience. Anorexia runs in my family. It was really only when I experienced it myself in my early twenties that I truly understood it. Furthermore, I would go so far as to say the majority of my female friends – and some male – have had issues with eating disorders or body dysmorphia at some time or other. It raises serious questions about how and why this keeps happening, particularly amongst women.

Another motivation of making BODY OF WATER is also to show that it's not just a 'teenage girl' disease. It can stay with someone for their whole life. I’ve met so many women who have massive hang-ups about food. Research shows that 1 in 250 women and 1 in 2,000 men will experience anorexia at some point. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rates among psychiatric disorders and adults face long waits for NHS treatment. The older you get the more entrenched it becomes, the harder it is to break out of. We need to change the conversation around the subject, which was part of my motivation for writing the film.

Over the years the character of Stephanie formulated as I considered the subject: a successful war photographer who has suffered from anorexia throughout her adult life. The present climate is really challenging for women, if you look at all the roles we’re supposed to fill: as mothers, as career go-getters, and then our looks. We’re under so much pressure to conform. Stephanie really struggles with that. That’s why she’s so compelling. Fundamentally, though, this is a universal story about woman who wants to be something that she’s not.

I'm also fascinated with women’s roles in families, how they relate to each other and the complexities of those relationships. That comes from my own family experience, but also just watching my female friends and hearing them talk about their relationships with their mothers.

Stylistically, the film uses a lot of repetition and long takes. This conveys the obsessive-compulsive tendencies and repetitive behaviors associated with anorexia, building a complex character study and hopefully elevating audience understanding of what it’s like to live with an eating disorder. It forces the viewer to sit and endure eating as Stephanie does. This conceit has been influenced by filmmakers including Chantal Akerman’s Jeanne Dielman and Todd Haynes’ Safe. The visual rhythms of the repeated behaviors are key in highlighting Stephanie’s social alienation and relationship with her own body. BODY OF WATER also looks at the effects of Pro-Ana websites on anorexics, providing a timely and unique insight into how web communities exacerbate her problem.

BODY OF WATER is, in many senses, a howl at dysfunctional attitudes to our conventional notions of beauty and the body, taking these themes to an extreme, but arguably logical, conclusion. Ultimately, it poses the question; who or what is really sick, Stephanie or the world she is living in?


Directed by Lucy Brydon

Written by Lucy Brydon

Produced by Dan Cleland
Jeannette Sutton

Cast Sian BrookeKey Cast"Stephanie"Sherlock
Good Omens
Doctor Foster
Amanda BurtonKey Cast"Susan"Silent Witness
The Commander
Waterloo Road Nick BloodKey Cast"Shaun"Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D
Fabienne Piolini-CastleKey Cast"Pearl"The Marshlands
The Durrells

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