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Performing Arts History & Criticism

I've Heard the Mermaids Singing

A Queer Film Classic

by (author) Julia Mendenhall

series edited by Thomas Waugh & Matthew Hays

Publisher
Arsenal Pulp Press
Initial publish date
Nov 2014
Category
History & Criticism, Lesbian Studies
  • Paperback / softback

    ISBN
    9781551525648
    Publish Date
    Nov 2014
    List Price
    $14.95

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Description

A Queer Film Classic on Canadian director Patricia Rozema's I've Heard the Mermaids Singing, her quirky and hopeful first feature film which made its premiere at Cannes and won its Prix de la jeunesse. Presented as a "videotaped confession," it tells the story of Polly Vandersma, an unpretentious and introverted young woman who takes photographs as a hobby and works as a personal assistant to an elegant and sophisticated, but unsatisfied, art gallery director, Gabrielle St. Peres, whom she worships. This book presents a new close textual analysis of Mermaids that places this complex yet teachable film unquestionably within the global queer film canon while uncovering many of its complexities. The film has appeared on the Maclean's "Top 10 Films of the 20th Century" and Toronto International Film Festival's Best 10 Canadian Films of All Time.

Julia Mendenhall, a longtime fan of the film, places it in the context of the director's life experiences and her filmic oeuvre, the production and reception history of the film within the mid to late 1980s and the 1990s era of "outing," and the development of queer theory.

QUEER FILM CLASSICS is a critically acclaimed book series that launched in 2009, edited by Thomas Waugh and Matthew Hays, covering some of the most important and influential films about and/or by LBTQ people made between 1950 and 2005, and written by leading LGBTQ film scholars and critics.

About the authors

Julia Mendenhall is an Assistant Professor at Temple University, where she teaches transnational film and queer theory for the English Department and Women's Studies Program. In 2006, she conducted research on Canadian lesbian films with a U.S. State Department Fulbright Scholarship. She lives in Philadelphia.

Julia Mendenhall's profile page

Thomas Waugh is the award-winning author or co-author of numerous books, including five for Arsenal Pulp Press: Out/Lines, Lust Unearthed, Montreal Main: A Queer Film Classic (with Jason Garrison), Comin' At Ya! (with David L. Chapman) and Gay Art: A Historic Collection (with Felix Lance Falkon). His other books include Hard to Imagine, The Fruit Machine, and The Romance of Transgression. He teaches film studies at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, where he lives. He has published widely on political discourses and sexual representation in film and video, on lesbian and gay film and video, and has more recently undertaken interdisciplinary research and teaching on AIDS. He is also the founder and former coordinator of the Minor Programme in Interdisciplinary Studies in Sexuality at Concordia.

In addition to the titles below, Thomas is also co-editor (with Matthew Hays) of the Queer Film Classics series.

Thomas Waugh's profile page

Matthew Hays is a Montreal-based critic, author, film festival programmer, and university instructor. He is the co-editor (with Thomas Waugh) of Arsenal Pulp's Queer Film Classics series. He has been a film critic and reporter for the weekly Montreal Mirror since 1993. His first book, The View from Here: Conversations with Gay and Lesbian Filmmakers (Arsenal Pulp Press), was cited by Quill & Quire as one of the best books of 2007 and won a 2008 Lambda Literary Award. His articles have appeared in a broad range of publications, including The Guardian, The Daily Beast, The Globe and Mail, The New York Times, Vice, The Walrus, The Advocate, The Toronto Star, The International Herald Tribune, Cineaste, Cineaction, Quill & Quire, This Magazine, The Hollywood Reporter, Canadian Screenwriter, and Xtra!. He teaches courses in journalism, communication studies and film studies at Concordia University, where he received his MA in communication studies in 2000. A two-time nominee for a National Magazine Award, Hays received the 2013 Concordia President's Award for Teaching Excellence. .
Matthew is also co-editor (with Thomas Waugh) of the Queer Film Classics series.

Matthew Hays' profile page

Other titles by Thomas Waugh

Other titles by Matthew Hays