Sylvia Plath introduced her Lady Lazarus reading by saying: "The speaker is a woman who has a great and terrible gift of being reborn. The only trouble is, she has to die first. She is the phoenix... She is also just a good plain resourceful woman." In this film Lady Lazarus is a woman irresistibly drawn towards Plath's voice. She becomes a medium for Sylvia, as in a séance, as the film travels between Massachusetts and Camden. Bringing together the poet’s voice with a kaleidoscope of rich images, Sandra Lahire’s film explores a cinematic alphabet for Plath's own readings of her poetry and extracts from an interview given just before her death.
The final film of Lahire’s Plath trilogy, Johnny Panic is also her longest and most ambitious. The film arises from and shares its name with the writer’s posthumously published short story, and borrows liberally from the broader body of her work to create a loose patchwork of institutionalization and revolt. Articulated through dreams, Johnny Panic darts between recollections of familial trauma and the prosecution of the Rosenberg’s in Cold War-era New York to unleash a vision of dread, and a resounding dignity in spite of it. (Mariana Sánchez Bueno)
Recently digitized and restored at Elias Querejeta Zine Eskola (San Sebastian), in the context of the research project “Their Past is Always Present”.