Patricia Rozema

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Isn't life the strangest thing you've ever seen?

Patricia Rozema (born 20 August 1958) is a Canadian film director and screenwriter, who first came to international prominence with her award winning film I've Heard the Mermaids Singing (1987).


  • Our voices, our representation of ourselves, have been in the hands of others, namely men, since the beginning of the mediums of film and television. My main character in I've Heard the Mermaids Singing videotaped a confession that is used through the film. It's her way of having control over her definition of herself.
    • As quoted in When Women Call the Shots : The Developing Power and Influence of Women in Television and Film (1996) by Linda Seger, p. 117
  • I have become post facto a representative of the country. So if you ask, "Is Mermaids a Canadian film?" — it has become one. It has become a means whereby people characterize Canadian film. I think in the creation of Mermaids, I did see it in political terms. I thought of the underdog. Canada is not a superpower by any means. It's very quietly, comfortably democratic, but it's plagued by a sense of inferiority.
    • As quoted in "Patricia Rozema : I've Heard the Mermaids Singing" (1997) in Film Fatales : Independent Women Directors by Victoria A. Brownworth, and Judith M. Redding, p. 208
  • I believe in tension and release, in that if you stay in the the same tone and mode and intensity for too long, it actually becomes monotonous. When you change up your pace or your humour level, then the release is welcome. ... I believe that's my biggest job: tone control, and maintaining enough unity so that it all feels like one movie and all the scenes belong together, and yet diversity so that emotional and narrative interest is maintained.
    • In "Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Patricia Rozema" on Mansfield Park DVD (2000)
  • Maybe it's the remnants of my religious upbringing, but I do try and insert a sense of social justice into the work ... for instance, to me, Mansfield Park is a story about servitude and slavery. Other people may have a problem with that, but that's how I read the book and so that's how I shot the movie.
    • As quoted in Weird Sex and Snowshoes : And Other Canadian Film Phenomena (2001) by Katherine Monk, p. 150
  • You cannot underestimate what a radical thing it is to change from one art form to another. An author slaves to start with just the right word, phrase, sentence, and paragraph. The sounds of the words are crucial. But all the demands of words and prose are lifted when you make a movie. The physical presence makes many unnecessary and some necessary ones impossible. So you serve two masters as an adapting filmmaker: the author's intention and the needs of film. Sometimes "fidelity" can mean only focusing on one day of a story told over twenty years in a book.
    • As quoted in "Mansfield Park and Film : An Interview with Patricia Rozema" by Hiba Moussa, in Literature/Film Quarterly 32, No. 4 (2004), p. 255
  • I wanted [Martin] to be a really decent human being because I didn't want to depict the cliché that a woman becomes a lesbian because her husband is terrible to her.
    • On Martin, the husband of Camille Baker, in When Night Is Falling as quoted in "Patricia Rozema : The Mermaid's Song" interview with Patricia Rozema, in The View from Here : Conversations with Gay and Lesbian Filmmakers (2007) by Matthew Hays, p. 287
  • When I look back upon the choices I made in making Mansfield Park , I feel they were pretty ballsy. I just thought there has to be a reason why I was doing a period piece. I wanted to say, "Look, we are rich because of slavery. We stole people and made them into slaves. Nothing comes for free." I didn't want to do another English dance party.
    • As quoted in "Patricia Rozema : The Mermaid's Song" interview with Patricia Rozema, in The View from Here : Conversations with Gay and Lesbian Filmmakers (2007) by Matthew Hays, p. 289

Quotes about Rozema[edit]

  • Rozema is one of Canada's most recognizable and successful film artists, famous for works in which the wilful imagination asserts itself despite bureacracy, convention, and social expectation. As a writer and filmmaker, she is drawn to romantic figures whose artistry persists despite various obstacles, from institutionally derived notions of artistic standards to religiously supported ideas of appropriate sexualities.
    • Brenda Austin Smith, in "Woman with a Movie Camera : Patricia Rozema's Revisionist Eye", in Great Canadian Film Directors (2007), edited by George Melnyk, p. 253
  • In 2000, in honour of the 25th anniversary of the Toronto International Film Festival, 10 preeminent Canadian filmmakers were asked to create short films. Staying true to her thematic preoccupation with artists, audiences and their relationship, Rozema's contribution was This Might Be Good, a six-minute wordless, experimental piece about hope — the hope of audiences, actors and filmmakers who gather around films at festivals.
    • Agata Smoluch Del Sorbo, in "The Polyphonic Nature of Patricia Rozema", Take One, (December-March 2004-05), p. 21
  • Rozema has established herself as an exceptional and distinctly sensual visual stylist. Her films are characterized by self-referential narration, idiosyncratic protagonists (who are often struggling artists), formal adventurousness, and the use of fairy tales, mythology, and poetry as structuring notions.
    • Wyndham Wise, in Take One's Essential Guide to Canadian Film (2001), p. 185

External links[edit]

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