In her struggle to cope with a tragic loss, 19th century photographer Hannah Maynard creates a new, surrealist artform.
Hannah Maynard, a successful photographer in 19th century Victoria, Canada, is unable to move on after the death of her youngest daughter, Lily, and teeters on the edge of madness. Be Still delves deep into her state of mind and the effects of grief on her creative process. Her dead daughter, along with doubles of herself appear to her, and try to help. With their assistance, she creates striking new forms of surrealist photography.
As she focuses more on her darkroom than on clients, her husband, Richard, and physician, Dr. Fell, become concerned. They and others constantly check up on her, invading the space she needs to grieve. Finally, a sleeping pill gives her badly needed rest. But on recovery, she resents Richard’s attempt to restore her to “normal”, and finds her doubles have disappeared. After initially rejecting her old work, she returns to it. Motivated by her collaboration with her doubles, she experiments with a new artform: montage. Eventually she learns that her husband has been suffering as much as she, and they comfort each other, restoring their relationship. Be Still is inspired by the life and work of photographer Hannah Maynard (1834-1918), who became known for her groundbreaking, surrealist works, 40 years before the Surrealist movement.
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