Lucy Walters in "Prickles"

Short Starts is a column devoted to kicking off the week with a short film, typically one tied to a new release. Today we look at a film starring Lucy Walters of "Shame," which opens in limited release this Friday.

You may be wondering who Lucy Walters is. Or, if you've already looked her up, you may be wondering why I'm devoting a Short Starts column to a glorified extra. In Steve McQueen's incredible new film, "Shame," Walters plays "Woman on Subway Train," or "Pretty Subway Girl" if you've read the script. She may not have any lines, but she's an unforgettable character, who Michael Fassbender's character, Brandon, lusts after in the opening scene. Watch it here:

The Subway
Shame —

Maybe it's just that all these silent film tributes lately have me focused on dialogue-less performances, but I think she's excellent in the part. Of course, it doesn't hurt that "Shame" is the only really significant new movie debuting this week, yet neither McQueen nor co-writer Abi Morgan have ever done a short film, and the same goes for actresses Carey Mulligan and Nicole Beharie. Fassbender has done two, both for filmmaker John Maclean, but they're not online. Besides, we already did a Short Starts for Fassbender, using a music video.

So here's something appropriately kinky starring Walters, an actress who may just be on the rise after this year. It's titled "Prickles," and it's written and directed by Lindsay Bane:

After seeing her in "Shame," this short made me extra concerned for Walters' career, because her characters appear to attract some skeezy dudes. If it's not your cup of tea (and it's not really mine), here's a bonus short starring the actress. Again, she's not having much luck with men. But this time it's not her who's unfortunately married. Written and directed by Susanna Locascio, this one is titled "Better Than Nothing."

The title of this one makes me think back on "Shame," since I've heard some people say the "Woman on Subway Train" character misses out by eluding Brandon. Maybe he's the messed up, sex-addicted son of Patrick Bateman and Jeanne Dielman (or so I picture it), but he's still got the face and body of Michael Fassbender, and that's more than better than nothing. Oh well.

Finally I'd like to share one more bonus short for anyone who wasn't too interested in shorts starring an (as yet) unknown actress. Below is a recent documentary short by Alison Chernick ("Matthew Barney: No Restraint"), which is kind of like a glorified promotional piece for "Shame," or just a well-filmed interview. Titled "The Confessions of Steve McQueen," it was shot during the Toronto International Film Festival and features the director talking about the background of the film. Here you go, via Shadow and Act:

The Confessions of Steve McQueen on

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