This unique film is based on the letters of Maryse Holder, former academic and part-time teacher, on an extended "vacation from feminism", in Mexico. She's on a quest for love, sex and freedom, and is determined to tell ail, which she does in a fury of letters to her friend Elaine, in Canada, The letters reveal a woman dedicated in equal parts to the pursuit of pleasure and the study of sexual politics.
She drinks. She dances. She goes through intense periods of promiscuity and self examination. Then in complicitius direct to camera address she bombards her friend and us with every assiduous detail. As Edith chronicles Maryse's exploits from beach to bar to hotel room, so the list of would be conquests on her yellow foolscap gets longer... until she meets her match in Miguel Novaro - the "holy grail" of her apparent pilgrimage.
Jackie Burroughs first performed excerpts from Maryse Holder's Setters (which have been published as "Give Sorrow Words") in 1984, and became determined to see the material made into a film. The result of a creative process rarely practised anywhere in feature filmmaking. A Winter Tan is the product of a team effort; five people contributing ideas and criticism along each step of die production. But it's the final result that matters, and this is a captivating, confronting, raunchy film that expands the diary film' model into new frontiers. At the centre of it all is Jackie Burroughs eerie immersion into the mind and " body of Maryse Holder, in a role that occupies almost every minute of screen time.
"This picture about living on the edge follows tile trajectory of its subject and smashes through the rules of conventional filmmaking (not to mention every middle-class taboo extant); to characterise a tragic figure (sot, slut and saint simultaneously), with a sense of humour aciduous enough to eat through steel." - Jay Scott, Toronto Globe and Mail'