‘Catherine Called Birdy’ Trailer: Lena Dunham Tackles Medieval Feminism with a Modern Twist

Written and directed by Dunham, the coming-of-age period piece stars Bella Ramsey, Joe Alwyn, Andrew Scott, and Russell Brand.
Catherine Called Birdy
"Catherine Called Birdy"
screenshot/Prime Video

Different century, same search for gender equality.

Lena Dunham’s third feature film “Catherine Called Birdy” is set in a Medieval English village in 1290, where teenage Lady Catherine (Bella Ramsey) is assigned the task of finding a husband. Her father (Andrew Scott) is determined to capitalize on the marriage of his eldest daughter Catherine in order to save their manor. The only issue? Tween Catherine refuses to comply.

“Would I choose to die rather than be forced to marry?” Catherine (Ramsey) says in the trailer. “I do not think either option is appealing. Or fair.”

Written and directed by Emmy nominee Dunham and adapted from Karen Cushman’s novel of the same name, “Catherine Called Birdy” will premiere at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival before debuting in theaters September 23 before streaming globally on Prime Video October 7.

Joe Alwyn, Ralph Ineson, Billie Piper, Isis Hainsworth, and Russell Brand also star in the coming-of-age period piece.

“Catherine Called Birdy” is produced by writer/director Dunham, Eric Fellner, Tim Bevan, and Jo Wallett.

Dunham, who debuted her sophomore feature effort “Sharp Stick” at Sundance 2022 and also celebrated the 10th anniversary of “Girls” this year, has deemed “Catherine, Called Birdy” the “most ambitious project” of her career.

“I wanted to highlight this girl who was living in the wrong time,” Dunham told Teen Vogue. “If she was living in 2022, she would be a pretty classic tomboy or able to explore the gender binary. She’d be able to play all the sports she wanted. All of her dreams, which in 1290 are to go to a hanging and run around without a skirt on, would be achievable. But there are still as we know, huge challenges to being a woman in this day and age, and a teenage girl.”

Dunham continued, “While it feels very far away that a 13-year-old is being asked to marry a 50-year-old, we still have plenty of barbaric customs that control the way people’s bodies are dealt with. There’s so many aspects to modern life that still speak to themes of the book. I really love that we were able to highlight aspects of that, and the way the world has changed but also the way it’s stayed the same. And do it with some humor.”

Watch the trailer below.

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