© 2017, Driftwood Gulf Islands Media
Film Fest and SSNAP team up for Maudie
BY JAMES COWAN
With the Salt Spring National Art Prize exhibit under way, and the Salt Spring Film Festival gearing up for its pre-festival film screenings at ArtSpring, the two organizations have teamed up to show an incredible art film.
Maudie is a Canadian/Irish film, based on a true story, about Maud Lewis, who was a painter from Nova Scotia known for her folk-style paintings.
Set in the 1930s, the story is about Maud Dowley, an arthritic woman who in the beginning of the film lives with her aunt in a disagreeable situation, in which Maudie is keen to break free of. Maudie answers an ad to be a housekeeper for Everett Lewis, a local fish peddler with a temper and a modest house. Initially Everett is cruel and impatient with Maudie, but within weeks they marry. They acknowledge that in their own way they are both social outcasts and that they need each other.
Maudie’s passion and place of peace is in painting. She starts to paint a few flowers and birds on the wall, which get spotted by a neighbour named Sandra, who is a customer of Everett’s. Sandra from New York City is intrigued by Maud’s paintings and buys cards Maud has decorated. She later commissions Maud to make a larger painting for $5.
Maud’s paintings find an audience in places she never sees, and she starts to receive bigger orders for cards and paintings. Vice-president Richard Nixon calls the couple to purchase a painting. Print media coverage boosts sales at the house and their life is then turned into a public spectacle.
The couple appear on the TV news and Everett fears he was seen as cold and cruel. Maudie’s failing health and the unwanted attention of the media cause Maudie and Everett to separate. There is also the strains of an unraveling story of Maudie’s distant pregnancy and presumed death of the child. The film finishes with reconciliation, illness and ultimately Maudie’s death.
Filled with majestic images of maritime landscape and light, the director Aisling Walsh focuses on character, drawing performances of emotional complexity and a depth of physical detail from the leads.
Ethan Hawke and Sally Hawkins deliver stunning performances in complex roles, resulting in awards nominations and accolades from the film community.
Maudie was the People’s Choice Awards recipient at the 2016 Vancouver International Film Festival and received standing ovations to sold-out crowds, with the filmmakers present.
Maudie will be screened at ArtSpring on Wednesday, Oct. 18 at 7:30 p.m. For more information see www.saltspringfilmfestival.com.
The writer is . . . .