Lives: Visible/Leftovers

A film by Michelle Citron

US | 2017 | 58 minutes | Color | DVD | Order No. 171208

Lesbians in a box…two thousand private snapshots hidden away for over fifty years reveal the rich history of Chicago’s working class butch/fem life in the pre-Stonewall era.


LIVES: VISIBLE (2017, 35 mins): Lesbians in a box… two thousand private snapshots hidden away for over fifty years reveal the rich history of Chicago’s working class butch/fem life in the pre-Stonewall era. Spanning four decades, from the 1930s to the early 1970s, the snapshots provide a rare look at a vanished and vibrant Lesbian culture: images of lovers and friends as they played, posed, serially switched partners, worked, partied, drank, and aged. Now we all take selfies; these women used a Brownie camera to tell the story of their community. LIVES: VISIBLE explores the ephemeral nature of culture and the power of the images we make.

LEFTOVERS (2014, 23 mins): Norma and Virginia were lovers for almost fifty years. They died isolated; the vibrant pre-Stonewall lesbian community of their youth long gone. A love story about the unforeseen trajectory of lives lived outside the mainstream told through the 2000 snapshots left behind.


"While Vivian Maier’s photos are surely beautiful and her life just as compelling, Citron’s merging of an almost utopian corporeality with ambiguities owing to the art of filmmaking, the nature of representation and the general dubiety of life insists that we view the past through a new lens."

Cine File

“Lives Visible clarifies key ideas in feminist film and media studies and makes an ideal teaching resource for courses on cinematography, representation, feminist and queer history."

Shilyh Warren, Associate Professor University of Texas at Dallas


  • Best Experimental Film, Cinema Systers Film Festival


Michelle Citron

Michelle Citron has made numerous media pieces including the interactive narratives; AS AMERICAN AS APPLE PIE, COCKTAILS & APPETIZERS, and MIXED GREENS, and THE FILMS WHAT YOU TAKE FOR GRANTED, LEFTOVERS, LIVES:VISIBLE, and DAUGHTER RITE, a ground breaking experimental narrative about mothers and daughters.

Her work has been shown in museums and film festivals around the world including the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney, the American Film Institute and the New Directors, Berlin, London, Oberhausen, and Edinburgh Film Festivals. Her films are distributed worldwide and are in over 200 permanent collections.

She has received two National Endowment for the Arts Filmmaking Grants, a National Endowment for the Humanities Media Grant, and Illinois Arts Council Fellowships for Filmmaking, Screenwriting, and New Media.

Her book, :Home Movies and Other Necessary Fictions" (University of Minnesota Press), won three awards, including a Special Commendation from the Krasza-Krausz International Book Award, which cited the book for being "an extraordinary blend of autobiographical and film writing which offers a radical new way of thinking and writing about film." She is Professor Emerita, Columbia College Chicago. She holds an interdisciplinary Ph.D. in cognitive studies and aesthetics from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. (3/19)


Shopping Cart