Experiencing Interruptions?

La Petite Mort

A young girl enters a mysterious forest to lose her virginity, only to have a twist of fate wrench her lover away. "La Petite Mort" (French for "the orgasm") is a feminist exploitation film couched in a fairytale that explores the fear, grief, and messiness of the first time.

  • Elizabeth Jaeleigh Davis
  • Elizabeth Jaeleigh Davis
  • Elizabeth Jaeleigh Davis
  • Daniel Jossman
  • Alex MacNicoll
    Key Cast
    Transparent (TV Series, 2014 - 2016), The 5th Wave (2016)
  • Madeleine Waters
    Key Cast
    The Diary of a Teenage Girl (2015)
  • Derek James Robinson
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Fantasy, Romance, Drama
  • Runtime:
    8 minutes 12 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    January 7, 2017
  • Production Budget:
    7,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • 2017 Cinequest Film & VR Festival
    San Jose
    United States
    May 3, 2017
    World Premiere
  • 2017 Cinekink NYC
    New York
    United States
    March 19, 2017
    NY Premiere
  • 2017 RAW Film Festival
    Los Angeles
    United States
    June 4, 2017
    Los Angeles Premiere
  • 2017 Seattle International Film Festival
    United States
    Seattle premiere
  • 2017 Rhode Island International Film Festival
    United States
  • 2017 Encounters Short Film & Animation Festival
    United Kingdom
    September 22, 2017
    European Premiere
  • 2017 DAMN! Film Series
    United States
    October 30, 2017
  • 2017 Hollyshorts Film Festival
    Los Angeles
    United States
    August 19, 2017
  • 2017 Revelation Perth International Film Festival
Director Biography - Elizabeth Jaeleigh Davis

Elizabeth is a Los Angeles-based film director, producer, writer, and artist.

Elizabeth is fresh off the festival run of her narrative short film, LA PETITE MORT. The film follows a young girl as she enters a mysterious forest to lose her virginity, only to have a twist of fate wrench her lover away. "La Petite Mort" (French for "the orgasm") is a feminist exploitation film couched in a fairy tale that explores the messiness of the first time. The film was selected for numerous festivals worldwide, including the 2017 Seattle International Film Festival, Rhode Island International Film Festival, Hollyshorts Film Festival, and Encounters Short Film & Animation Festival. It was then hand-picked to premiere online via Short of the Week, the premier curated outlet for artistic short film on the web.

Elizabeth is also a documentarian. In 2012, Elizabeth directed DHARMA which follows a Chinese-American family’s efforts to complete a medical mission to Cambodia amidst the loss of the family matriarch and patriarch. The documentary premiered at the Los Angeles Women’s International Film Festival and NewFilmmakers NY. She is currently working on a follow-up documentary about family disintegration, coping, and mental illness.

Beyond her work as a director on over 10 narrative shorts, Elizabeth also directs commercial content, consults on various film and TV projects, and works extensively on photography and art projects.

Previously, Elizabeth assisted CAVIAR’s production arm on features such as THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL (2015, Sony Pictures Classics) and BETWEEN US (2016, IFC Films). She trained under film & TV director Elizabeth Allen Rosenbaum (EMPIRE, GOSSIP GIRL, THE EXORCIST, THE VAMPIRE DIARIES, RAMONA AND BEEZUS). Elizabeth studied Film and English Literature at Cornell University.
Elizabeth is developing a social thriller set in the world of online/app dating, among many other film projects. She enjoys playing pop songs (poorly) on her ukulele.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

My first experiences with sex were pretty messy. I grew up in a household where puberty was embarrassing and sex was never discussed. Media was the outlet for my curiosity, and before long I was ready to see what all the fuss was about.

Well, it wasn’t as easy as the movies told me. Every attempt was unbearably painful. The years thereafter were a defeating cycle of
desire and punishment, to no fault of myself or my partner. The more it hurt the more anxious I became, so I never let loose, and never let him in. I would silently cry — what’s wrong with my body? What’s wrong with me? Will it be this way forever? I was embarrassed and ashamed and had no one to turn to because it was ingrained in me that talking about it was wrong.
In time my problems subsided, but potent memories of grief, embarrassment, and unfulfilled desire remain. For me, sex came with so many other emotions — love, shame, romance, isolation, fear, and pain. With LA PETITE MORT, I wanted to explore the hyperbolic physical and emotional baggage that comes with first times — until, at last, we overcome.

“La petite mort” (the little death), is French slang for the orgasm. It is a centuries-old idea that the orgasm is a weakening of consciousness that brings one closer to death. Just for a moment, the climaxer transcends our reality and dies just a little bit. I was fascinated by the dichotomy of this concept — the push and pull of life and death, the link between our desire for sex and our mortality, and the fine line between agony and ecstasy. I imagined that through the orgasm, our protagonist could be connected to her departed lover one last time. Because my pursuit of romantic bliss so often lead to grief and pain, the little death was a ripe theme to explore.