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April 1, 2012

Patricia Rozema, renowned Canadian film director and screenwriter, stopped by campus to share her thoughts with students and members of the Bridgewater State University community about the making of her 2009 film "Grey Gardens."

Ms. Rozema announced that she'd changed the title of her lecture from "Serving Two Masters: Giving Reality Good Fictional Form," to "The Arts-Hearts Purpose," after recently encountering a quote attributed to the late author David Foster Wallace.

"It's about speaking from a part of yourself that loves rather than
the part that wants to be loved," she said.

"Grey Gardens" tells the story of "Big Edie" and "Little Edie" Bouvier Beale, two charming eccentrics who were relatives of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy. The reclusive mother and daughter had once led glamorous, well-heeled lives before they were reduced to living in squalor and isolation in a decaying mansion. The film explores the circumstances behind their riches-to-rags story and shines a light on their unique mother-daughter bond.

Ms. Rozema co-wrote the film, which appeared on HBO and won several Emmy Awards, with Michael Sucsy. She has also directed episodes of HBO's highly regarded show "In Treatment." She explained what drew her to "Grey Gardens," as well as to the other films she's directed, which include "I've Heard the Mermaids Singing," "White Room," "When Night Is Falling," "Mansfield Park," and "Kit Kittredge: An American Girl."

"You ask me what excites me, I'd say any moment of human experience that bears examination from different angles," she said.

Ultimately, the director said she's interested in creating work that champions everyday people.

"I make films for people whose lives are not beautiful," she said. "Giving motion, love, grace and a sense of majesty to the ordinary, I find that much more inspiring."

Dr. Kimberly Chabot Davis, assistant professor of English and coordinator of the Film Studies minor, served as the event's emcee. The talk was sponsored by Film Studies, the dean of humanities and social sciences, Academic Affairs, and Canadian Studies. (Story and photo by John Winters, G '11, Office of University Advancement)

Patricia Rozema at BSU

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