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Kissed

Director: Lynne Stopkewich


An unexpected take on love, sex and death, Kissed is a thoughtful and provocative story handled with tenderness and dry humour. Based on Barbara Gowdy’s controversial story We so Seldom Look on Love, about a young necrophile coming to terms with her taboo sexuality, this is a remarkable first feature by young Canadian director Lynne Stopkewich, who created something of a stir on the festival circuit last year.
The central character, Sandra Larson (Molly Parker), has been fascinated by the still, silent world of the dead from the time she was a child. Her obsession remained unfulfilled until she finds herself in the employ of the vaguely sinister Mr. Wallis (Jay Brazeau), proprietor of the local funeral home. Now, at the side of her mentor, Sandra’s innermost desires can finally find their tortured expression. In the still of the night she sneaks into the morgue and makes love to a succession of freshly stiff young corpses. But her new-found serenity is shattered when she meets Matt (Peter Outerbridge), a handsome young medical student. Matt soon learns of her secret and, in competing for Sandra’s affections, finds himself drawn into her tangled web of ever-darkening desire and erotic obsession.
A beautifully composed film of extraordinary haunting power, Kissed deals sensitively and cleverly with a difficult subject and newcomer Molly Parker delivers such a captivating performance that she makes Sandra’s strange desires seem almost normal. The biggest challenges we faced, commented Lynn Stopkewich, were trying to retain the intimate feeling evoked by the first person narration in the story and maintain a sympathetic profile for the protagonist without losing her edge. The perspective of this marinalised woman allowed me the opportunity to explore larger, more universal themes which necrophilia touches upon, namely love, sex and death. It also afforded me the chance to create an edgy piece – challenging cinema which takes us somewhere unexpected. And finally, I liked the idea that this necrophile was a young woman. Given that men are generally portrayed in film as sex aggressors, I thought that a female protagonist in charge of her own sexuality was an idea I wanted to work with despite the taboo nature of her particular predilection.

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