The Sisterhood of Night tells the story of a group of teenage girls who form a secret society that gets revealed and misinterpreted in their small town and high school, until a domino chain of events lead to some startling moments of violence and grace–and important truths about the world of young people–especially young women–today.
Taiwanese American screenwriter Marilyn Fu talks about “Catherine Huang,” pictured in the above photo and one of the main characters of The Sisterhood of Night which just released on VOD:
So much of The Sisterhood of Night takes place in the dark at night, in a car’s headlights, on the train tracks, under porch lights humming with insects. And, of course, in the woods by a fire. Our girls race from shadow to shadow, afraid of what the light may reveal of themselves, or rather, seeking that place where they may transform into the young women they wish to be.
But in this moment, Catherine Huang, a Taiwanese-American teen played by Willa Cuthrell, shines a light on herself.
It’s a moment, captured by director Caryn Waechter, that tells everything about the character in a single frame. And it recalls a storied history of women and men staring deeply into a mirror, with self-loathing, with grace, as if the self staring back holds a secret answer to a question that can’t be found anywhere else.
Here, Catherine stops for a moment of reflection at home before sneaking out to meet the Sisterhood in the woods. Her mother is in the hospital with cancer and the disease has robbed her mother of some of the physical attributes we equate with femininity.
Without her mother, Catherine is alone in a household of men. Her dad wants to connect with her but fails, and goes to great lengths to keep her from leaving the house at night. Her little brother needs a mother and looks to Catherine, though she is in far too much need of a mother herself.
Only her grandfather, the smoking sage, with his weathered face and kind eyes, offers a silence that nurtures her. All of this is palpable here, from the way Catherine touches her hair, to the matching pattern of her sweatshirt to the wallpaper. It’s a wallpaper Charlotte Perkins Gilman might have dreamed up. It could easily swallow Catherine whole and keep her prisoner within its faded pattern, while the Sisterhood calls to her from just beyond its walls.