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Arresting Ana
Anorexia Online
A film by Lucie Schwartz
US/France, 2009, 25 minutes, Color, DVD, French, English subtitles
Order No. W09994
Sarah, a French college student runs a “pro-Ana” blog, part of a global online community of young women sharing tips on living with anorexia. Valerie Boyer is a passionate French National Assembly legislator proposing a groundbreaking bill to ban these online forums, issuing hefty fines and two-year prison sentences to their members. Eye-opening and extremely timely, ARRESTING ANA is the first film on a burgeoning movement promoting self-starvation.

Pro-Ana websites are in countries around the world, but France is the first to suggest regulating them. Combining in-depth interviews of medical and academic experts with video diaries by Sarah— for whom “Ana”, short for anorexia, is a support system, friend, and motivation to stay alive—ARRESTING ANA offers unprecedented access into anorexia’s hidden underground while seeking effective solutions to ending this serious disease.

This well-made documentary, which features an engrossing soundtrack and pro-Ana sites’ shocking quotes and images, is crucial for students and teachers of media studies. It also provides important insight for psychologists, social workers, sociologists, and educators on who controls women’s body issues, how young people interpret eating disorders today, and how legal and free-speech issues are contested in a new media landscape.


Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, Margaret and Will Hearst Prize for Documentary Excellence

  • Big Sky Documentary Film Festival
  • Mill Valley Film Festival
  • Newburyport Documentary Film Festival
  • DocuWest
  • Femmes en Resistance

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    “Informative about how the internet has become a ‘player’ in the eating disorder arena…An effective discussion starter for classroom lectures or educational events.”
    Marcia Herrin
    Herrin Nutrition Services, Dartmouth College

    “Offers a thought-provoking firsthand account of the meaning that those with the illness find on Pro-Ana blogs and websites…[Also,] raises the universal question of whether personal well-being can be legislated.”
    Rebecca Morrow, Ph.D.
    Dir., Anderson Gender Resource Center, Idaho State University

    “Compellingly presents the struggles that anorexia nervosa embroils people in – from those with the disease, to legislators and parents, and to health care professionals who are concerned for their patients.”
    Anna Bardone-Cone, Ph.D.
    Assoc. Professor of Psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

    “A powerful and creative statement about the universal message regarding body image that is passed on to the young women of the world.”
    Kelly Clement
    Mill Valley Film Festival

    “Very timely and relevant…. a must see and much-needed film.”
    Scarlett Shepard
    Women’s Film Institute

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    Arresting Ana 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, 2005
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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