City vision 3 3
1 / 48

City Vision (3-3): - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

  • Uploaded on
  • Presentation posted in: General

City Vision (3-3):. 2. Fl â neurial Look in Patricia Rozema’s I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing. Outline. General Introduction: Toronto New Wave , Patricia Rozema and the Film I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing Female Artists in a City

I am the owner, or an agent authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of the copyrighted work described.

Download Presentation

City Vision (3-3):

An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation

Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author.While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Presentation Transcript

City Vision (3-3):

2. Flâneurial Look in

Patricia Rozema’s

I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing


  • General Introduction: Toronto New Wave, Patricia Rozema and the Film

  • I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing

    • Female Artists in a City

    • Individual vs. Institution: the Intertextual References

    • Growth of an Artist: Reality vs. Fantasies

    • Polly’s vision of Toronto

  • Patricia Rozema: Her visions of a city

  • Conclusion

Ontario/Toronto New Wave

Left to Right: David Cronenberg,

Don McKellar (writer/actor/director), Patricia Rozema, John Greyson, Ron Mann, Bruce McDonald, Atom Egoyan

Ontario/Toronto New Wave

From Art-House to popular theatre

  • Young Toronto-based filmmakers starting in 1980’s,

  • Rejected both Hollywood films and their “tax-shelter” predecessors.

  • “urban, intimate, underdog, migrant. Educated and art-fueled. Not political. Not commercial. ”(Cameron 10)

  • Two major breakthroughs: “Mermaid” (1987) & “Exotica” (1994)

Patricia Rozema

  • Born to a Dutch immigrant family in a Calvinist town, Sarnia, southern Ontario;

  • B.A. with double major in philosophy & English literature.

Patricia Rozema on the set of Desperanto source

(image source)

Rozema: Filmography

  • Grey Gardens (co-writer, 2009); Into the Forest (post-production)

  • Kit Kittredge: An American Girl (2008; Canada/US)

  • Happy Days (2000, adapting Beckett’s play)

  • Mansfield Park (1999)

  • "Yo-Yo Ma Inspired by Bach" (1997) Bach Cello Suite #6: Six Gestures (1997)

  • When Night Is Falling (1995)

  • Montréal vu par... (1991) (segment "Desperanto")

  • White Room (1990)

  • I've Heard the Mermaids Singing (1987)Prix de la Jeunesse from Cannes + 17 awards

  • Passion: A Letter in 16mm (1985)

  • Artist as a focus (interview)

Rozema: “Canadian/Feminist/Artist” Themes & Styles

  • Canadian + feminist Issues of institutional control vs. fantasy, lesbian/sexual identity

    gender inequality vs. sexual pluralism

  • self-reflexiveness

    • Filmic (use of frames, subtitles, cameras);

    • Textual –fairy-tale & other intertext;

    • Artistic-- of artists and critics

  • Flâneuse -- Interest in architectures, city scenes and female artists’ position in a city.

Rozema: I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing

  • PollyVandersma Sheila McCarthy

  • Gabrielle St-Peres Paule Baillargeon

  • Mary Joseph Ann-Marie McDonald

     Their names—saints’ or nobody’s

  • Canadian + feminist – Polly (position in Toronto, identity, gaze, institution)

  • self-reflexiveness –Polly talking to us; the use of many intertexts (Bible, fairy tales and poem).

  • Flâneuse – Polly’s photography.

I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing: Starting Questions

  • “Canadian” Artists:

    • How is Polly characterized? And opposed to Gabrielle? Does she fit into the institution she works for?

    • Does Polly learn and grow in the film? What does she learn and how?

    • What do you think about her fantasies? Are they just a matter of self-indulgence?

    • How about the other two artists, Mary and Gabrielle? What is the story about?

  • Self-Reflectivity:

    • Why does Polly speak to us?

  • City Vision:

    • What is the role of Toronto in this film? What are the major signs of the city?

I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing: Outline

  • Female Artists in a City

  • Individual vs. Social Institution: the Intertextual References  the film as a video confession (of one who is not Prufrock)

  • Growth of an Artist: Reality vs. Fantasies

  • Polly’s “Vision” of Toronto



I. Female Artists in the City

A. Polly sec 1 (How it started) sec 2: Photo session;

Sec 3 darkroom fantasy; sec 4 Office work

  • Social Position---clumsy and a misfit

    • “Organizationally Impaired” Typing

    • Lack of social manners: e.g. the Japanese Restaurant; the birthday Party

    • Language:

      • Doesn’t speak French, a sign of elegance

      • G: Acute awareness P: ‘a cute face’

      • G: I’m dying.  ‘birthday’

      • G: “I don’t want to die in my body”  “Then whose body?”

I. Polly re. Gabrielle

00:13:04 She was like a fairytale.

I mean,

she went to school all over the world

and talked to

the kind of people who write books.

I mean,

she even wrote a book herself once.

And she loved to talk about art things -

Iike whose work shows talent and whose doesn't,

and whose work shows "acute awareness".

At first I thought she meant like  "a cute face", "a cute awareness".

And... whose work came from "half-lives, half-lived.“

Isn't that great? … Oh, I just loved how she talked.

I wanted her to teach me everything.

“. . . tiny hovel almost lost in the industrial section of Toronto (before it got groovy) under the enchanting shadow of a giant Kentucky Fried Chicken barrel with the CN tower in the BG” (Rozema)

Polly: a female artist on the margin of society (2)

Open to endless possibilities

a private space with multiple functions; (clip 6; DVD 2 & 3; 0:04)

Restroom (like a womb space):for fantasy, art work

Polly: a female artist on the margin of society (2)

I. Female Artists in the City (2): Polly’s Sexual and Artist Identities

  • Identity in formation: sexual Interests

    • Discovering (homo-)sexuality

    • Peeping at the love-making couple

    • Posing in front of the mirrors in public (clips 8, 9; DVD 8)

    • 00: 29 “I think I kind of fell in love with the curator.” (not to kiss her)

I. Female Artists in the City (2): Polly’s Sexual and Artist Identities

I know that love is

a pretty strong word

when you're talking about another

woman and she's not your mother,

but there you go.

I don't think I wanted kissing

and all that stuff.

I just, I just loved her.

Polly: [love her ]Like a mother or a sister?

Mary: Like a lover.

I. Female Artists in the City: Polly’s Sexual and Artist Identities (2)

  • Artist Identity– her personal approach as a photographer

    • Interaction with the photographed objects

    • Curious and affirmative.

  • Generosity as an artist – “accept the fact that you can’t do it.” (clip 16; DVD 16)

Polly: Loving and Actually Self-Sufficient (more later)

I. Female Artists in the City (2): Gabrielle the Curator

B. Gabrielle – her social position

  • With good social manners and elegant dressing styles; good at talking and art dealings (clip 10; DVD 9 )

  • elegant and stylish; large ear-rings

  • Big words: “oblique pragmatism,”

  • “whimsical sociological references” “contextual destruction” “internal/external transformation”)

I. Female Artists in the City (2): Gabrielle the Curator

B. Her Artistic Career:

  • Supported by chocolate business

  • Her taste and judgment –abstraction; Polly’s – is “trite made flesh” for her

I. Female Artists in the City (2): Gabrielle the Curator

C. Her Aspiration:

  • Fear of mortality: want universal respect, eternal youth, etc.;

  • Frustration:

    • gets kicked out of an art lesson;

    • to want one thing that she never has: talent – or one painting beautiful “undeniably, unequivocally, universally.”

  • Is she wrong in using Mary’s painting?

  • In what ways is she wrong in using Mary’s painting?

I. Female Artists in the City (2): Mary Joseph

C. Mary Joseph

  • artistic judgment – ‘like it or not like it’

  • Another misfit; hidden behind Gabrielle “I paint, you talk.”

  • Why is her work glowing but without shapes?

II. Individual vs. Institution: The Intertextual References

A. Mermaid

1. T. S. Eliot, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”— a poem about people in the upper class who measure out their life in coffee spoons, and Prufrock who grows old but lacks the strength to force the moment (of marriage proposal) to its crisis.

  • “In the room, the ladies come and go, talking of Michelangelo.”

     Polly about Gabrielle: “Talking and laughing and interfacing, like a ping-pong game.”

  • "'I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each. I do not think that they will sing to me'"

     Polly hears the mermaids in one of her fantasies, and later she has Gabrielle and Mary listen to her.

     Process of growth and self-assertion of a female artist.

II. Mermaids: Individual vs. Institution: the Intertextual References

  • Mermaid

    1. Artist

    2. Fairy tales---In between two worlds

    3. Lesbian association

II. Mermaids: Individual vs. Institution: the Intertextual References

B. The meaning of names  plurality vs. institutional limitations

  • Polly –’poly’

  • Gabrielle – arch angel

  • Mary Joseph –bisexual

  • Church Gallery – representing an art institution

    C. Theme Song  individual spaces

    Lakme 拉克美 “The Flower Duet” (lyrics)

    D. Shooting Style  confession and self-creation of an artist outside the institution (gallery, police, society)

    Film camera & Video Camera (monitor  confession) (clip 15; DVD 14, 1:04) –communicate with the artists and with us audience

III. Polly’s Growth: Reality vs. “Fantasies” (1)

(After getting her job at Church Gallery)

A. Flying in the air

  • Climbs and overcomes power structure

  • Flying—surpass social constraints (Canadian flag) (DVD 3)

IV. Polly’s Fantasies (2)

(After the discussion of painting)

B. Walking on the water (clip 11; DVD 10; 0:35:44)

  • Religious symbol

  • Desire

    • social manners – elegant, big words (relativism is complex “politically, aesthetically, religiously and even in terms relationship)

    • her ideas – relativism; polymorphous perversity

IV. Polly’s Fantasies (3, 4)

(While choosing the photo work to send to G)

C. Tour on the bus (clip 13; DVD 13)—meaning?

  • smooth transition from the City to Nature, and back to the city.

  • hears the mermaid.

  • D. Being a conductor of symphony ) (clip 18; DVD 18)—meaning?

  • Differences from the other fantasies -- Fantasy merged with reality

  • -- in the church gallery;

    • -- active: conducts the orchestra; Polly in colored image

    • -- success both in conduction and stealing the video camera.


  • (clip 19) meanings?

  • The photos are miraculously back;

  • artists/ lesbians moving beyond the institutional and social limits;

    • also beyond the limits of the film to a world not known or gazed at by us.

  • introduction and ending—the whole film is Polly’s creation and self-creation.

Polly’s vision of Toronto

  • (clip 3)

  • Admiration: bottom up; at the architecture from without (outside the power structure).

  • Imagines having an overview.

  • Polly’s vision of Toronto

Polly’s vision of Toronto (2)

  • individuals;

  • fragmentary views which are implicitly deconstructive of power.

Rozema on the City

Brookfield Place (formerly BCE Place) & Royal Bank Plaza

Rozema on the City (1): love of architecture and height

  • Setting:Toronto, frequently its architecture and its bird-eye views;對建築、高度的喜好

    ("I adore height. My father built apartment buildings and I remember sitting at the top, dangling my legs, just loving it. I'm attracted to all forms of danger." Johnson 1995)

    Johnson, Brian D. “Sex and the Sacred Girl: Film Director Patricia Rozema.”Maclean's 108 (05-08-1995): 93-96.

    (* Flight as a major motif in her work.)

There's a place I've often included in my films …merely because of its physical beauty, because it amazes me. It is an architectural moment of grace: the Royal Bank Plaza. A modern cathedral, a marvel of sculpted form. It's windows have been coated with a small amount of gold leaf, it's different from every angle and yet it is unified.(“A Place in the Sun”)

Rozema on the City (2): its multiple lives

As much as I try to give importance to "place" in this article, it is the deedsthat make a temple sacred or not. The halls, the streets, the condos and the palaces will always be filled with women, men, and children and their miseries, rebirths, half-dreams and dreams,shared love, wasted love, echoes and footsteps of the dead and half-dead, and sometimes brief, unbearably sweet smiles. It is all our pathetic little attempts at generosity, heroism and holiness that define us. In our fictions, as in our lives, it is the concrete steps towards or away from our ideals that say who and what we are.(“A Place in the Sun”)

Rozema on the City (2): its multiple lives

White Room歌手的音樂錄影帶 architecture as social institution

Rozema’s City Vision: e.g. White Room: image of the city as a commercial system

White Room dangerous for women: 充滿危險、沒有隱私的城市

1. 3.


4. 充滿女生尖叫的城市全景



Six Gestures:Multiple perspective on Bach

Some artists complete an era; some artists begin the next

The six suite was the first work that’s ever written for the cello.

Ya, but you know there’s no record of this cello suite’s ever having been performed.

Six Gestures:multiple perspectives of the truck drivers and graffiti

Six Gestures: Re-Creation of architecture from without 體制內的藝術家

  • 1。(Bach in Cöthen,

    serving his patron,

    Prince Leopold)

    • 不得已的自私?孤獨

  • (妻子死時,不在身旁)

Six Gesture: 建築、高度 = 權力

  • 與權力起舞 (“our little polite and dutiful dances)


  • 建/解構藝術家的權力 ﹙巴哈與女性)

V. Conclusion (I): City Vision

  • A city is a space with multiple texts and multiple possibilities of viewing/writing and being gazed at/written.

  • A flâneur--as one wanders leisurely on the street-- can be a shopper or an Internet surfer, and s/he can “sleepwalk” in a city like dream.

  • But an artist/an intellectual as a flâneur organizes and make sense of the fragmentary images s/he gets from walking and looking at a city. The images can be that of multiple desires and lives, or historical layers of a city,

V. Conclusion (II): the Film

A. Reality V.S. Fantasy (Thelatter, though imaginary, can help empower the weak to bring changes to reality.)

B. Process of self-assertion (real changes in reality)

C. Are the images of the lesbian positive or not? e.g. G’s use of Mary; Polly’s “peeping” desire

Next Week

What We All Long For chaps 1-8


  • A Place in the Sun

  • Login