Format: 35mm Colour
Runtime: 78 min
In her audacious first feature, director Lynne Stopkewich explores the complex and controversial subjects of sex, death and the true nature of love from a distinctly female perspective. Based on a story by Barbara Gowdy, whose writing has shattered traditional conceptions of female sexuality, Kissed respectfully, but ironically, blows the lid off one woman’s fascination with the hidden life of the dead.
As a 12-year-old girl, living in a small town in the 1970s, Sandra (Parker) performs elaborate burials for the dead animals her cat brings home. Dancing and disrobing in the forest to disco from her ghetto blaster, she rubs a dead sparrow wrapped in tissue paper over her neck and chest — claiming its life force as her own. After passing through puberty, her rituals take on a new erotic meaning; in biology class, her instructor mistakes her arousal from caressing a dead mouse for disgust.
As an adult, Sandra finds work in a funeral home, where she can indulge her curiosity, love and lust for the silent beauty of a corpse. Sandra, a fully realized sexual person, believes that all purpose will come from the transformation of life into death. Her main obstacle in life soon becomes the living when Matt, a young medical student, discovers her secret passion. His affections for Sandra lure him into a realm of dangerous obsession.
Stopkewich utilizes a highly sensual style that is delicate and subtle, yet still decisive and rewarding. As Sandra, Molly Parker radiates in her role as the happy necrophile. Kissed is an intensely beautiful, sensational work that imaginatively reframes our notions of the connection between life and death.