Irene Lusztig (Filmmaker and Assistant Professor at the Department of Film and Digital Media, UCSC)
Archival montage, science ﬁction, and an homage to 70s feminist ﬁlmmaking are woven together to form THE MOTHERHOOD ARCHIVES, a lyrical essay ﬁlm excavating hidden histories of childbirth in the twentieth century that is by turns haunting, incisive, and wry. 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. From the ﬁrst use of anesthetic ether in the 19th century to the postmodern 21st century hospital birthing suite, THE MOTHERHOOD ARCHIVES charts a fascinating course through the cultural history of pain, the history of obstetric anesthesia, and the little-known international history of the natural childbirth and Lamaze movements. Revealing a world of intensive training, rehearsal, and performative preparation for the unknown that is ultimately incommensurate with experience, THE MOTHERHOOD ARCHIVES is a meditation on the maternal body as a site of institutional control, ideological surveillance, medical knowledge, and nationalist state intervention. Finally, the ﬁlm works as a feminist recuperation of obsolete maternal histories, as a visual analysis of the persistent disciplining of the pregnant / laboring body, and as a new, contemporary counter-archive of women’s experiential narratives.
Open to all. No registration required
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