"A layered experience..."
In a secret drawer, a little girl discovers some tattered old children's books. As she reads, she can't decide which side of the page she's on: whether she is the reader, or characters within the books, or even the child who long ago first read these treasures.
My Book & Heart Shall Never Part is a beautiful and whimsical visual essay on children's chapbooks, primers, and toy books of the late-18th and mid-19th centuries. The film explores these nearly forgotten little books that were meant to terrify or teach or tease or transform. And still these nursery alphabets, verses, and tales implicitly ask, What is a child? What is a book? What is nature?
Photographed in high-definition digital video, the film is structured as a cinematic game of tag: passing through a series of dramatized vignettes that thematically represent a cross-section of historical children's texts.
Narrative versions of classic children's stories feature amateur child actors, period costumes, and innovative and historical backdrops. Incorporated within these active scenes are etchings and prints from original primers and chapbooks.
As the little girl reads herself in and out of Little Goody Two Shoes and Little Red Riding Hood, the viewers join her in a layered experience, which is as simple as ABC, a meditation on literacy, and a critical inquiry into cultural imagination.
A perfect complement to the compelling cinematic experience, the soundtrack features an original composition by renowned Montana guitarist Stuart Weber.
The film project was supported by the Montana State University Undergraduate Scholars Program and Humanities Montana.