This comedy-drama won the Prix de Jeunesse at Cannes in 1987 for writer-director Patricia Rozema. Described by the LA Times “as distinctive and intriguing as its title. Swift, witty and intimate,” this debut feature form Rozema is a charming and whimsical story about a daydreamer with artistic aspirations. Rozema's fanciful character study follows an amateur photographer Polly (Sheila McCarthy) as she lands a temp job at a Toronto art gallery run by elegant and sophisticated Gabrielle (Paule Baillargeon), who is also a painter. Polly is impressed with Gabrielle's paintings, but as Polly gets to know Gabrielle's lover, Mary (Ann-Marie MacDonald), and becomes entangled in their lives, she realises that Gabrielle isn't exactly who she appears to be. 

The screening will begin with a short interview with Patricia Rozema by Megan Dunn. 

Watch the trailer for I've Heard the Mermaids Singing

Patricia Rozema is one of Canada’s most daring, versatile, and accomplished film artists. Her award-winning, diverse body of work spans film and television, fiction and documentary, original screenplays and literary adaptations. Her work, spanning themes of love and power, identity and sexuality, the complexity of gender politics, and the nature of human desire, includes: directing the British romantic comedy-drama ‘Mansfield Park’ (1999); co-writing the American biopic television film ‘Grey Gardens’ (2009) ; and, adapting and directing the apocalyptic thriller ‘Into The Forest’ (2015) with Elliot Page and Evan Rachel Wood.    This is the third and final in our Sirens of the Silver Screen film series running every second Wednesday in November alongside Megan Dunn: The Mermaid Chronicles. These films celebrate, play with and reference the mermaid in popular culture and mythology. Each film is prefaced by a conversation conducted between Megan Dunn and a special guest. Films screened with thanks to Aro Video.

  • I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing, 1987
  • dir. Patricia Rozema
  • 1h 21m
  • PG Adult themes
  • with director Patricia Rozema 


  • Free


  • Wed 30 Nov


  • 6:00 pm — 7:30 pm


  • Victoria University of Wellington
  • Gate 3, Kelburn Parade
  • Wellington 6012