So I’m sure you remember the awesome Matthea Harvey poem, The Straightforward Mermaid, that was published in The New Yorker last August and discussed in Matthea’s illuminating interview on this very blog some time back. Here is the poem again, in case you are losing your memory and/or too lazy to click on the link I just generously provided:
The Straightforward Mermaid
The straightforward mermaid starts every sentence with “Look . . . ” This comes from being raised in a sea full of hooks. She wants to get points 1, 2, and 3 across, doesn’t want to disappear like a river into the ocean. When she’s feeling despairing, she goes to eddies at the mouth of the river and tries to comb the water apart with her fingers. The straightforward mermaid has already said to five sailors, “Look, I don’t think this is going to work,” before sinking like a sullen stone. She’s supposed to teach Rock Impersonation to the younger mermaids, but every beach field trip devolves into them trying to find shells to match their tail scales. They really love braiding. “Look,” says the straightforward mermaid. “Your high ponytails make you look like fountains, not rocks.” Sometimes she feels like a third gender—preferring primary colors to pastels, the radio to singing. At least she’s all mermaid: never gets tired of swimming, hates the thought of socks.
Isn’t it so good? Matthea, by the way, has just come out with this really stunning book from McSweeny’s called Of Lamb, which is about a lamb who wants desperately to be human and the human who loves that lamb, with paintings by Amy Jean Porter. I saw it and was very jealous because my books don’t have paintings in them.
Anyway, so Matthe’s mermaid poem was so awesome and inspirational that Ani Simon-Kennedy, a French-American cinematography student currently attending Prague Film School, made a short film of it called “Sea Full of Hooks,” which was just accepted for the Short Film Corner at Cannes.
Here is the lovely, lovely film:
I asked Ani how the film came into being, and here is her gorgeous response:
“I found Matthea’s poem when it was published in The New Yorker last summer and I was immediately drawn to it. I don’t read a lot of poetry but I was a big synchronized swimmer when I was younger and I love anything related to water. The imagery really stuck with me and when I moved to Prague in the fall to start film school I knew right away I wanted to adapt her poem into a short film. I used to work in the art department in film in New York so the tail was the least challenging part. Capturing the right mood and melancholic atmosphere of the poem was what I struggled with the most. We shot over the course for days, over three months, all over Prague. I knew from the start I didn’t want to rely on any special effects because the tone of the poem was so raw and real to me, so everything you see in the film is completely real (Rosa who plays the mermaid actually got into the river, and for the last scene in the pool we snuck into a 4-star spa and put the camera in a fish tank). It was a really amazing experience and getting selected for the Short Film Corner at Cannes was incredibly exciting and rewarding.”
Admit that that is very cool.