Peggy

Margaret Salmon

UK, 2003
13 minutes, 30 seconds, B&W
Available formats: DVD / Digibeta tape / SD Digital file

The second installment in Salmon’s series of American typographies that began with P.S. and continued with Ramapo Central, Peggy transforms the commercial format of the pop video into an intimate exploration of age, loneliness, folk iconography and confessional cinema.

The film follows an elderly woman as she goes about her daily routine of getting up, having breakfast, doing her chores – of simply existing. The images are overlaid with the sound of the iconic American hymn Amazing Grace, sung repeatedly in a coarse and tired voice. This frail voice is at odds with her purposeful movements as she goes about her chores.

The film shows the constant repetition of life, evoking the ancient myth of Sisyphus, yet Peggy goes about her daily tasks with dignity and inner strength. She is a woman who is at the end of her life and she knows it. In this respect, the work is a classical memento mori , depicting a woman who is held together by daily ritual and by singing the hymns of ancestors whom she may soon join.