TorinoFilmLab - Training, development, Funding


A Little Bird Told Me

Francesca De Lisi



Shortly before Christmas, Justine Dalvik is brought in for interrogation by detective Hanson. He is investigating the death of Martina Nästman.

There is very little evidence available to the investigation, and interrogating Justine is crucial. She is the only witness to the incident, thus the only potential suspect.

Justine and her fiancé, Nathan, met Martina during an exploratory trip to the wild North of Sweden. Justine observed Nathan comparing them to each other. Martina was beautiful and agile. Justine felt ugly, slow and heavy. Martina had lived an adventurous life, whilst Justine felt like she had never lived a day before meeting Nathan.

Justine confesses to Hanson her horror when Martina slipped while leaning over a ravine to take a picture. He, in turn, feels intense sympathy for this woman who seems so far from a murderer, with her plump, naïve appearance and thin voice. Yet, Hanson knows jealousy is a powerful motive.

At last Hanson accepts that the true story is ungraspable and takes a leap of faith, his feelings for Justine influencing his decisions. When Nathan disappears, Hanson is forced to reconsider.


A Little Bird Told Me is a noir story with the atmosphere of a dark fairy tale.
Adapting the book into a film was not an easy task for me. I loved some of the scenes and characters, but I struggled to understand what the story was about. So I decided to keep what I enjoyed, using characters and the atmosphere as an inspiration for a new story.

I was especially struck by Justine Dalvik’s character and all she has in common with fairy tale princesses. She has a stepmother who hates her; she does not have a kingdom, but she does have a pretty solid inheritance and she can afford not to work; she lives isolated, in a house by a forest and a lake. She also talks to her pet raven, that she lets fly freely around the house…

After reading the book I asked myself: how could the princesses of fairy tales be such well-balanced women? If any woman were to go through what Snow White had to deal with, she would probably go mental. Especially if her charming prince, instead of saving her at the end of the story, were to fall for the pretty young photographer! Which is what happens to Justine Dalvik.

This is how Justine became for me a character with deep wounds, which she heals with her strong imaginary world. She is capable of seeing life the way she wants, rather than the way it is, which would be too hard to stand.

I put her at the very core of an investigation where she is both the only witness of Martina Nästman’s death and the only suspect. Detective Hanson is however, a character of my creation. He embodies reason and rationality, because he is determined to find out what happened. He believes that only one truth exists and that it can be found. This is also the story of a man who begins to doubt.

What we wish for can actually influence the way we perceive things and what we more or less consciously choose to notice and remember.

In this struggle between Justine and detective Hanson to find out the truth of what happened, between imagination and reason, Hanson is defeated and Justine is set free.

By telling the story of Justine, a lonely and twisted Snow White who fights her limitations (real or imagined) with all her might in order to win her Prince Charming, the movie considers the impossibility of reaching an objective truth, of determining a line between right and wrong, guilt and innocence.

Ultimately, how objective can we be when we judge ourselves?

“There are no facts, only interpretations.” (Friedrich Nietzsche)
Francesca De Lisi


production notes

directed by
Francesca de Lisi