A friend of mine pointed me in the direction to a new and amazing filmmakers series at Hot Docs. She was most excited to see Patricia Rozema, and I instantly signed up - feeling her excitement and mine grow! The series is moderated by Linda Barnard, a journalist / writer who previously championed another series focusing on gender.
Meeting and hearing Patricia Rozema was like eating a perfectly cooked Creme Brulee. Everything she said was liquid gold. She was eloquent, spicy, and just a bit fantastic.
Patricia shared her philosophies as a director and I was so inspired by her wisdom:
"art defines the human condition. So far, we have only defined the male condition"
"there has to be intent behind the images"
"I want to make people feel less alone. That's what drives me"
In discussing I'VE HEARD THE MERMAIDS SINGING, Linda asked Patricia how she came to write about the main character as she was so real and relatable. Was this person real and drawn from her own experiences?
Patricia answered that "character is story. If you know them, you know what they will do." This is how she wrote about Polly. "I knew she was out of fashion, and took the street car and liked film." BUT Patricia didn't want the film to be too self-reflexive (a film about a filmmaker making film) - so Polly became a photographer, and had Walter-Mitty-esque experiences through developing the negatives of the each photo.
One of the most compelling aspects of a Rozema film is the music. The dynamism in INTO THE FOREST coupled with the growing anxiety and Eva's dance practice to a metronome creates a sensual and gripping experience for the audience.
"people underestimate how powerful music is"
"it is important to find the right level of vibration with your composer"
"music is the art at which all other arts aspire"
Patricia shared insightful tips about story and arc. She said, "fiction is always examining morality." There is a tension and release - which she believes is the key principle of beauty. The tightness and expansiveness of breath. Finally, the choices the characters make are always moral
To find the heart of the story, you have to understand the push and pull in the universe. There is art even in the things that are not seen.
Patricia concluded with a wonderful thought, that the best images are the ones that are written. Coming from such a talented scriptwriter and director, I was truly inspired by this amazing Canadian filmmaker! Until the next series...