#tbt Before ‘Maudie’, Watch this NFB Short

Sally Hawkins in Maudie. Maud’s misshapen hands don’t prevent her from creating.
Photo by Duncan Deyoung, courtesy Mongrel Media

By Pat Mullen

If you’ve been to the movies lately, chances are you’ve seen the trailer for Maudie, a new Canadian co-production about Nova Scotia painter Maud Lewis. The film boasts an outstanding performance by Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine) as the painter from Yarmouth who dazzled the world with her vibrant and innocent paintings. Maud Lewis’s work was all the more incredible given that she wielded a paintbrush like a master despite having severe arthritis. (The physical feat of Hawkins’ performance is most impressive as she conveys the artist’s physical pain and buoyant spirit.)

Before there was Maudie, though, there was Maud Lewis: A World Without Shadows. This short doc by Diane Beaudry, a product of the NFB’s Studio D years, gives an affectionate portrait of the renowned painter. The doc captures the warmth and simplicity of Lewis’s of work with its storybook narration as it takes viewers inside the small cabin that Lewis shared with her husband Edward and painted like a canvas of her own. Beaudry covers the scope of Lewis’s small world—she never traveled more than 60 miles from home—but one highlight of the film is how easily the director traces the artist’s paintings back to their likenesses in the countryside. “All of life in a frame.”

Watch Maud Lewis: A World Without Shadows below.
Maudie opens in theatres April 14.

Maud Lewis: A World Without Shadows, Diane Beaudry, provided by the National Film Board of Canada