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Dialogues with Madwomen
A film by Allie Light
1993, 90 minutes, Color, 16mm/DVD
Order No. W99337
"I was always so afraid that someone would ask me (where I was when JFK was shot), and I would have to say I was in a mental institution", says director Allie Light. This moving and informative film features seven women--including the filmmaker--describing their experiences with manic depression, multiple personalities, schizophrenia, euphoria and recovery. Candid interviews are enriched with dramatic reenactments and visualizations of each woman's history, emotions, and dreams--the private symbols of madness and sanity. The social dimensions of women and mental illness are revealed in testimony about sexual assault, incest, racism and homophobia, the abuses of the medical establishment, family, and church. Acknowledging that "madness" is often a way of explaining women's self-expression, this film charges us to listen to the creativity and courage of survivors. Produced by the Academy Award winning filmmakers of IN THE SHADOWS OF THE STARS, DIALOGUES WITH MADWOMEN is a ground-breaking film about women and mental illness.


  • Emmy Award, Outstanding Interview Program
  • HeSCA Media Award
  • Sundance Film Festival, Freedom of Expression Award
  • National Educational Film and Video, Special Jury Award
  • Berlin Film Festival
  • Amsterdam Documentary Festival
  • POV Broadcast

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    "Important, affecting...fascinating in the way it challenges us to see these women on their own terms and simultaneously question our notions of 'normal' behavior."
    Edward Guthmann
    San Francisco Chronicle

    "Riveting and revelatory...(a) remarkable film."
    Sean Elder

    "Poignant and moving, a candid documentary about women and mental illness."
    Cathy Nash
    American Psychiatric Association

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WMM offers film collections on a variety of specific subject areas, including the collections VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN: Ending the Silence, BODY IMAGE, and AFRICAN-AMERICAN: Celebrate the Lives of African-American Women.

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Women Make Movies is a multicultural, multiracial, non-profit media arts organization which facilitiates the production, promotion, distribution, and exhibition of independent films and videotapes by and about women. contact us