Thursday, February 4, 2010


February 6th, 2010

3:00 PM


Dir. Patricia Rozema (CA, 1987) 81 mins
I've Heard the Mermaids Singing centers on the engaging and whimsical Polly Vandersma, played by Sheila McCarthy, a naïve and klutzy temporary secretary and amateur photographer in Toronto. Though timid and gauche on the outside, Polly leads an intense inner life. Her fantasies of flying, walking on water and conducting a Beethoven symphony are represented in black and white sequences which punctuate the film. Polly falls in love with the beautiful and sophisticated Gabrielle St Peres after being hired by Gabrielle to assist in the running of a trendy art gallery. Motivated by adoration, Polly smuggles a picture by Gabrielle into the gallery for display, initiating events which eventually reveal a conspiracy between Gabrielle and her lover, Mary Joseph, to pass off Mary's artwork as Gabrielle's.

I've Heard the Mermaids Singing emphasizes eccentricity, and its non-sensational representation of lesbianism in an unusual mainstream Canadian film. Polly's qualities of innocent good-heartedness, read by some viewers as essentially Canadian, earned the film international legions of charmed viewers and the Prix de la Jeunesse at the Cannes Film Festival in 1987.

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