Skip to content

May we suggest

Agenda / April 07–June 07, 2020
Editors' Pick

Perfumed Dreaming

Kathleen Hepburn, Megan Hepburn
Kathleen Hepburn, <em>Perfumed Dreaming</em> (still), 2020. Courtesy National Film Board. Kathleen Hepburn, Perfumed Dreaming (still), 2020.
National Film Board

1501 rue de Bleury

Montreal, Quebec


April 07–June 07, 2020

Kathleen Hepburn’s evocative, deeply felt new short Perfumed Dreaming, which premiered on the National Film Board of Canada’s Facebook page on April 7, focuses on scent, memory, grief, creation and the maternal—while being shaped in conversation with her sister Megan Hepburn, a painter and olfactory artist.

Editors' Comment

When I first started social distancing for COVID-19 containment in mid-March, I was struck by the feeling that the only parallel experience I’d had before—one of constraint and restriction to home, accompanied by a strange mix of extreme boredom and extreme stress, all with an unspecified endpoint—was maternity leave, which for me took place during one of the coldest winters in Toronto’s history, exacerbating the oft-homebound “fourth trimester” effect. In turn, even though I largely work online in my day job, maternity leave was the time I was most entangled with online worlds for connection: scrolling e-books, websites, texts and social feeds on my phone into the wee hours while holding my child, being unable to sleep, or both. Early motherhood was also a time I thought a lot about my own mother, who’d died many years before, and felt her absence, and sometimes presence, more keenly. And so it seems especially synchronous, in my personal, subjective universe, to experience Perfumed Dreaming now. Though brief, this beautifully shot little film touches on early motherhood, remembering one’s own mother, and the immersion, for both babies and their carers, into the world of scent. Scent, after all, is one of the key things that can’t be experienced online, and touch too—yet these are factors highly binding for humans as individuals and as communities. In this circuitous way, Perfumed Dreaming, only available online right now, encapsulates a lot of gains and losses that resonate for me in this moment. —Leah Sandals