The Maine International Film Festival always promises a fresh new summer season, with glittering highlights and a menu of interesting, exciting and often brilliant entries and stars of past and present.

But this year, on the occasion of their 20th anniversary, organizers have come up with a beautiful new film set in Maine.

“The Sounding” is already the winner of six awards, including the 2017 Grand Prize at the Arizona International Film Festival and Best Feature Award at the prestigious Palm Beach International Film Festival.

Catherine Eaton, actor, writer, director and producer, is coming to town with a powerful new film beautifully shot on Monhegan Island, off the mid-coast of Maine, and starring herself and a bevy of great actors, including one of Hollywood’s and the theater’s great character actors — Harris Yulin.

Eaton plays a mysterious young woman, Liv, who lives with her dying grandfather, once a renowned neuropsychiatrist, who has taken care of her since she was a child.

When first we see her, she is huddled on the windswept rocks, tearing pages from books of poetry and Shakespeare, and pinning them to the scattered pines in the surrounding woods.

When a boat docks at the landing, a young man, Michael (an impressive Teddy Sears), spots her and tries to catch up with her, but she eludes him and vanishes up into the village.

Michael, we learn, is a New Age neuropsychiatrist with revolutionary ideas who has come to the island at the behest of Liv’s grandfather Lionel (Harris Yulin). Michael’s father was Lionel’s trusted colleague and best friend, and now Lionel needs someone he can trust on this occasion.

Lionel knows he has little time left to look after Liv and protect her. From what? Lionel is convinced from his life’s journey that the modern world has no time or caring for imperfection and often deals with such people as Liv with cruel disregard.

We soon learn that Liv, a lovely woman, who because of circumstances left cloudy, has not spoken in many years and communicates simply with love and kindness.

The island is her shelter from the cold winds of modernity, where she is protected by Lionel’s lawyer, Roland (Frankie Faison), and villagers.

The crisis at the heart of “Sounding” begins when Lionel suddenly begins to die while reading Shakespeare to Liv by the fire. Liv picks up the book and begins reading aloud to him as he passes away.

From that moment on, Liv begins to speak again, but only in a language all her own, crafted in the poetry of Shakespeare.

Michael, now growing close to Liv, regards the gentle change as a dangerously growing psychosis and, after failing to engage her with his techniques, violates his promise to Lionel, and arranges with mainland authorities to have her committed for treatment.

This is where the story, once bathed in soft light, grows dark and stormy.

Roland, Lionel’s lawyer and friend, who has long mistrusted Michael, fights to have him sent away and to keep Liv away from meddling hands.

But Michael succeeds with his plan, and the rest of the film moves to Liv’s internment in a mainland mental hospital.

Her scenes in the hospital hand Eaton, already a veteran of stage, television and screen, a fistful of emotional grenades, and she uses them with great skill.

“The Sounding” may well be Eaton’s launching pad for an expanded career, and the choice for her is interesting and complicated: actor, screenwriter or director. Lucky is the artist who has that many choices.

J.P. Devine, a Waterville writer, is a former film and stage actor.

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