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Scaring Women At Night - BFI Flare

average rating is 4 out of 5


Amber Jackson


Posted on:

Mar 30, 2023

Film Reviews
Scaring Women At Night - BFI Flare
Directed by:
Karimah Zakia Issa
Written by:
Karimah Zakia Issa & Ace Clamber
Izaiah Dockery, Kavita Musty, Dashawn Lloyd Blackwood

“While grappling with his own fears, moving through the world as a trans man, he does his best to navigate his new dynamic with women.”


Having had its world premiere at TIFF in 2022 and part of BFI Flare’s 2023 selection, Scaring Women At Night is an impactful short film that speaks to the lived experiences of one transgender man. As he presents as masculine, he seeks to understand how he can be more approachable to women without making them fearful of him. This is particularly prevalent at night, when the film’s storyline takes place, as he is walking behind a woman who believes that he is following her. In trying to not appear threatening, this is an interesting introspective film that considers an entirely different perspective to the trans male identity and experience.


Cinema has seldom considered stories and narratives in this way, and so it is refreshing to see a very contemporary issue handled in such an incredibly authentic way. The story focuses on protagonist Ash having a conversation with himself about who he is now after his transition, particularly concerning his relationships with women. As he walks home alone, he encounters a woman also walking alone, leading the film to openly confront their individual fears. Filmmaker Karimah Zakia Issa explores how Ash has lived experiences from each side and is the guiding force for audiences to see an all-too-familiar event differently. He has adapted to survive, yet is confronted by these additional societal challenges.


There is a real sense of unease created that extends throughout the short, with fears that many can relate to, particularly the reality of being followed. The filming is excellent, with scenes being spliced together often with jarring jump cuts to keep the viewer alert. Placing a trans character into this action allows these fears and issues to be considered in a new way. Ash attempts to make his appearance less scary, for example, in realising that he may now be considered a threat by presenting as male. It is a truly raw inner conflict, as the resolution is unclear.


Scaring Woman At Night is a fantastic beginning of a conversation that leaves the viewer wanting to learn more. As this is a pre-feature short film, it is exciting to consider how the film will be developed into a feature. It is a refreshing perspective to be considered on screen and not one to be missed.

About the Film Critic
Amber Jackson
Amber Jackson
LGBTQ+, Short Film, Film Festival
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