Writer and director Sarah Adina Smith (GOODBYE WORLD, THE SIRENS, ONE CUP OF COFFEE) premieres her debut narrative feature THE MIDNIGHT SWIM this year at the Fantasia Film Festival. I had the privilege to screen her evocative narrative short, THE SIRENS, a few years back and find Sarah’s voice compellingly original, honest and psychologically profound.
THE MIDNIGHT SWIM follows three half-sisters as they travel home to settle the affairs of their mother who went missing in Spirit Lake. The middle sister, JUNE, a documentary filmmaker, captures their bittersweet homecoming. But when the sisters jokingly summon a local ghost, their relationship begins to unravel and they find themselves drawn deeper and deeper into the true mystery of the lake.
Below is the director’s statement. Haunted and profound, Sarah’s words (and the creations born from them) reveal an emotional depth and sensitivity toward death and bereavement that are simultaneously tragic and beautiful, without being overly sentimental. I will eagerly await the release of this gem.
Mother calls to us from the deep.
The Seventh Sister takes our hand, she guides us to her.
Every birth is a death, this much we know.
The cycle continues, over and over again.
A relentless wheel of suffering, the terrible machine.
Cranking out a picture show, a flickering in the dark.
(We are grateful for that)
(The festering, unfolding manifold of energy in motion)
Our heart is heavy, it beats fast like a bird.
We breathe in, drowning. We exhale, drowning.
This is how the end begins.
A black hole.
And the first resounding “I am.”
I breathe in, I breathe out.
I accept this fate cheerfully, my only rebellion.
I find solace in the boiler room -
the darkest bowels of the machine.