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Rachel's Daughters
Searching for the Causes of Breast Cancer
A film by Allie Light and Irving Saraf
Produced with Nancy Evans
1997, 107 minutes, Color, 16mm/DVD
Order No. W99582
From the makers of the Oscar-winning IN THE SHADOWS OF THE STARS, this fascinating documentary follows a group of women - all breast cancer activists who are fighting or have survived the disease - who are on a personal mission to unearth the causes of breast cancer. The result is RACHEL'S DAUGHTERS, an engaging detective story and detailed analysis of the science and politics of this epidemic.

Seeing themselves as spiritual heirs of author Rachel Carson, whose 1962 book SILENT SPRING warned of the dangers of DDT exposure, they focus on issues including chemical contamination, radiation, and electromagnetic exposure to find breast cancer's causes. Addressing environmental racism, inequalities in research funding, and disparities in cancer rates for women of color, they track the effects of social biases on cancer incidence and health care delivery.

Incorporating interviews with prominent scientists, documentary footage from high cancer rate areas, and the investigating womens' personal battles to stay healthy, RACHEL'S DAUGHTERS offers a scientifically rigorous and intensely affecting view of this growing epidemic. An unprecedented warning of the dangers of industrialization; it is an inspiring rallying cry for those working to change current views about women's health.

Discussion Guide Available


  • HeSCA Media Festival, Silver Award
  • Mill Valley Film Festival
  • Dallas Video Festival

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    "Very powerful dramatically as well as in terms of numbers of experts consulted and facts presented."
    JoAnne Lehman
    Feminist Collections

    "Perhaps the most thoughtful, accessible, and comprehensive documentary ever produced on the subject of breast cancer...at once informative and highly personal."
    The New York Amsterdam News

    "An education and a revelation, this fascinating documentary is wildly effective as an examination not only of the scientific causes of this disease but also of its human face."
    M. Gould
    Mill Valley Film Festival

    "Stunning, powerful, and mesmerizing..."
    Marilyn Moss
    The Hollywood Reporter

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    Rachel's Daughters is included in the following Special Collections.
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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