Patricia Rozema's I've Heard the Mermaids Singing
All of the films I have considered thus far have been made by male directors. What difference might it make—in a film's style, content, or representation of women—when a woman directs? To consider this question, I turn to an exceptional film written and directed by a woman, the Canadian director Patricia Rozema's I've Heard the Mermaids Singing. The film, made on a tiny budget, had limited distribution by Miramax and is rarely seen now outside of college film courses, but it was the surprise hit at the Cannes Film Festival in 1987, and winner of the Prix de Jeunesse for the best first feature film that year. The film was subsequently voted one of the ten best Canadian films ever made by one hundred international critics, filmmakers, and scholars.1 Rozema's offbeat, innovative style and the psychological themes she explores in her film reflect a keen consciousness of the issues raised by feminist critics regarding the way women have been represented in films directed by men.
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