The Motherhood Archives by Irene Lusztig (2013, 91 minutes)
Tuesday, October 8, 2013 – 7:00pm Communications 150 (Studio C)
Co-Sponsored by the departments of Anthropology, Feminist Studies and Film & Digital Media
Introduction by Neda Atanasoski (Feminist Studies)
Archival montage, science fiction, and an homage to 70s feminist filmmaking are woven together to form this haunting and lyrical essay film excavating hidden histories of childbirth in the twentieth century. Assembling an extraordinary archive of over 100 educational, industrial, and medical training films (including newly rediscovered Soviet and French childbirth films), The Motherhood Archives inventively untangles the complex, sometimes surprising genealogies of maternal education. Revealing a world of intensive training, rehearsal, and performative preparation for the unknown that is ultimately incommensurate with experience, The Motherhood Archives is a mediation on the maternal body as a site of institutional control, ideological surveillance, medical knowledge, and nationalist state intervention.
Irene Lusztig is a filmmaker, visual artist and archival researcher. Born in England to Romanian parents, Irene grew up in Boston and has lived in France, Italy, Romania, China, and Russia. Her film and video work mines old images and technologies for new meanings in order to reframe, recuperate, and reanimate forgotten and neglected histories. Often beginning with rigorous research in archives, her work brings historical materials into conversation with the present day, inviting the viewer to explore historical spaces as a way of contemplating larger questions of politics, ideology, and the production of personal, collective, and national memories. Her work has been screened around the world, including at MoMA, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Anthology Film Archives, Pacific Film Archive, IDFA Amsterdam, and on television in the US, Europe, and Taiwan. She teaches filmmaking at UC Santa Cruz where she is Associate Professor of Film and Digital Media.
Post-screening Discussion with the filmmaker and UCSC professors Felicity Schaeffer (Feminist Studies), Nancy Chen (Anthropology), and Jenny Horne (Film & Digital Media).