Shadows of Atlantis: Awakening

The Blue Lady: A Cinematic Book

By Sylvia Toy St. Louis


The Blue Lady: A Cinematic Book

By Sylvia Toy St. Louis


This cinematic book is a multimedia, interactive work that combines stills, the screenplay and selected clips from the film, THE BLUE LADY, originally released in 2015.

THE BLUE LADY film is a “handmade” film, an experimental video performance about what happens in an 1830s South Carolina farmhouse between two house slaves, Elizabeth and Lali, and their mistress, Missy, during Missy’s husband Henry’s horrible death from syphilis after a lifetime spent terrorizing and sexually abusing the women in his life. This story was inspired by the real-life experiences of the author’s childhood friend and her four sisters, who regularly suffered sexual abuse at the hands of their father, who also terrorized their mother and other women and girls in his sphere, including the author, aged five.

The film was a “one-woman movie” project, produced almost entirely in front of greenscreen by Sylvia Toy St. Louis, who also played the roles of the three characters. This book includes 60 colorful stills that show the handmade backdrops, montages constructed from found images that comprise the rooms of the farmhouse. The stills were selected for their cinematic, storytelling quality. The film’s backdrops, sets, and costumes were based on a year of research of the Antebellum era. The book also includes approximately 9 minutes of clips from the 40 minute film. THE BLUE LADY clips were selected not to overlap the text and images, but to enhance the reader-viewer’s experience of these diverse characters and how they inhabit the world of the story and interact with each other.

Sylvia Toy St. Louis spent two years with half her San Francisco apartment draped in greenscreen while she developed these characters and their story, and she spent many hours “in their shoes.” By the time of production, she felt like she was living in Missy’s house. With this cinematic book, she invites the reader-viewer to share that experience.

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Sylvia Toy St. Louis
Sylvia Toy St. Louis
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