I've Heard the Mermaids Singing
(Le chant des sirènes)
Format: 35mm Colour
Runtime: 81 min
Vos Productions Ltd.
I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing is one of Canadian cinema's most charming and magical works. In every frame, director Patricia Rozema’s sensibility seduces both the eye and the heart. Structured around a video-recorded confession from Polly, a secretary, played by comedian extraordinaire Sheila McCarthy (at once risible and noble), Mermaids tells of Polly's erratic relationship with her employer, Gabrielle (Baillargeon), the owner and curator of an art gallery. The gauche, absent-minded temp with spiky orange hair and the polished, bourgeois curator with a gift for gab are like night and day, yet a strong connection builds between these two women through their shared love of art, and their genuine curiosity and appetite for love.
The film features some truly classic, sometimes side-splitting comic scenes: Polly’s wrangling with furniture and food at a very authentic Japanese restaurant; an exceptional, cinematic representation of the essence of beauty; and one of the funniest conversations between art critics every shown on film. But more than a series of exquisitely rendered scenes, he film's strong visual and aural sense and narrative line — with more than a hint of self-reflexion — make it an enjoyable, intelligent piece of storytelling. A 1993 Festival of Festivals poll hailed I've Heard the Mermaids Singing one of Canada’s top 10 films of all time. The film has been re-released in a remastered print.