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Produced and directed by Christina Mairin
School Services of Canada, 1993. VHS cassette, 21 min., $99.95
Distributed by School Services of Canada, 66 Portland St., Toronto, Ont. M5V 2M8.

Grades 6 and up/Ages 11 and up

Reviewed by MaryLynn Gagne.

Volume 21 Number 5
1993 October

Lucy Maud Montgomery: Threads from the Quilt is less a film biography than an intimate glimpse into the soul of its subject. The video uses a fascinating patchwork quilt sewn by Montgomery as a metaphor for both the author's writing and for a life made up of cherished "moments held together by the threads of memory."

The production itself can be viewed as a sort of "crazy quilt" of visual images composed of archival photographs, on-location shots of the author's homes and haunts, and scenes depicting the natural beauty of Prince Edward Island. Biographical details provided by a male narrator are interchanged with excerpts from Montgomery's autobiographical writings.

Focusing as it does on the author's rich inner rife rather than on the renowned Anne books, the video conveys a vivid impression of a sensitive, extremely imaginative young woman who from an early age experienced "thoughts which lay too deep for tears," who enjoyed an almost Wordsworthian commun­ion with nature, and who found both comfort and lasting inspiration in the beauty of her surroundings. The video also gives us a hint of the unhappiness Lucy Maud Montgomery experienced in her marriage, and a sense of the isolation she endured as a female author writing in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

The video is thoughtfully crafted with obvious care and attention to the smallest details. The nature shots are painstakingly photographed, and even the standard still shots are animated with well-selected sound effects. The wonderfully expressive voice of the female narrator brings the author's journals to life, while unobtrusive yet affecting background music contributes to the introspective mood of the production.

A brief teacher's guide accompanying the videotape provides biographical information and a chronology of Montgomery's work.

Highly recommended for school and public libraries.

MaryLynn Gagne is a reference librarian in the Education Library, University of Saskatchewan, in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
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