The Motherhood Archives
A film by Irene Lusztig
2013, 91 minutes, Color/BW, DVD, English/French, English subtitles
Archival montage, science fiction and an homage to 1970s feminist filmmaking are woven together to form this haunting and lyrical essay film excavating hidden histories of childbirth in the twentieth century. After several years of buying films online and working in historical archives, award-winning filmmaker Irene Lusztig amassed an unusual and fascinating collection of found footage aimed at teaching women how to be pregnant, give birth, and look after babies, along with training films for obstetricians and health care professionals, and a handful of home movies.
Assembling her extraordinary trove from over 100 different sources, including newly rediscovered Soviet and French childbirth material tracing the evolution of Lamaze, The Motherhood Archives inventively untangles the complex, sometimes surprising genealogies of maternal education. This extraordinary achievement illuminates our changing narratives of maternal success and failure while raising important questions about our social and historical constructions of motherhood.
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The film will be available for one week after the screening date. If you cannot afford the ticket price, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Taking Care is presented in partnership with Women Make Movies and features a selection of six films from WMM’s catalogue. These films span 50 years of consciousness raising campaigns, mutual aid networks, education, organizing, and the intimate stories of lived experiences within the struggle for reproductive freedom. Join us each Friday in April for a new film in this series.
Image credit: Still from The Motherhood Archives by Irene Lusztig, image courtesy of Women Make Movies.