A feature film in the making from
Cayle Chernin and
A Woman of Valour
"All betrayal is self-betrayal"
Libby Mirsky was an instant success as a poet, but that was thirty years ago. In the past two decades she has coasted on her reputation, publishing every few years and living off poet-in-residence postings in mid-Western universities. As another contract ends, and with it another love affair, Libby is headed back home, to Canada, to the modest house with decaying sculptures on the front and back lawns. Her mother Rosie is working on a new, and she claims last, sculpture, of a Woman of Valour. Libby had made her name writing a book of poems on the same subject.
A Woman of Valour—Eishes Chayile is the song that a Jewish Husband is supposed to sing to his wife on Friday Night (Shabbos) extolling her virtues. Few Jewish men know it today; fewer Jewish women have heard it. Two husbands and several love affairs in, Libby has certainly never had anyone sing it to her. But when she was a child her father used to sing it to her mother. Then dad left the family.
Rosie is slowly falling into dementia, becoming even more obsessed with her work than she’s ever been. She knows she’s chasing time. Libby’s sister Ruth has managed to wrestle her demons and has been clean and sober for nearly a year. Libby responds to these real life challenges by becoming obsessed with a fantasy.
Wilbur is a man in his 90s. He lives in an extended care facility, where Libby finds some work. He has wasted a life obsessed with a youthful fantasy. Libby falls into Wilbur’s madness, when the old dying man refers to her as his long lost lover. This fantasy, with its gothic details, is far more interesting to Libby than dealing with her mother, her sister and her own life.
A Woman of Valour is the story of three women and a long lost ritual. In the end they have to overcome their own demons, their own histories, their own fantasies and extol themselves and each other as women of valour.
All betrayals are self betrayals; a desire to chase one’s own lies. This is the path of endless loneliness and all three of the Mirsky women are alone. They need to find each other, support each other. The Eishes Chayile, an ancient Shabbos ritual, provides them the means by which they can develop a community of support.
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