I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing was born from three simple ideas: for a character, a tone and a point. The character I wanted to draw was a “little” person, a quirky and vulnerable innocent whose inept exterior belies a vast and vivid internal universe. This character, Polly, came to me fullblown and I loved her immediately. The tone was to be quietly absurd, compassionate, and most of all, whimsical – just enough reality to recognize the emotions and just enough fairytale to let the mind fly. And the point I wanted to make (not least to myself) can be stated most simply as “trust yourself”. I wanted to reaffirm and celebrate my belief that, as whoever it was said “we do not see things as they are but as we are”. I wanted to make a film with Polly in it, one where she and me get to hear the mermaids singing. –Quinzaine des Réalisateurs
Patricia Rozema (born 20 August 1958) is a Canadian film director and screenwriter. Rozema was born in Kingston, Ontario and raised in Sarnia, Ontario. Her parents, Jacoba Berandina (née Vos) and Jan Rozema, were Dutch Calvinists. Television was severely restricted and she didn’t go to a movie theatre until she was 16 years old. Rozema studied philosophy and English literature at Calvin College in Michigan. After a brief stint as a print and then television journalist (CBC Television’s The Journal), she directed her first feature, I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing, a serious comedy about a socially inept Girl Friday (Sheila McCarthy as Polly), which made one of the most outstanding feature debuts in the history of Canadian cinema. At the 1987 Cannes Film Festival, I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing won the Prix de la Jeunesse. That same year, it was voted one of Canada’s ten best films ever as polled by 100 international critics.
Rozema also directed the Six Gestures (part of the… read more