Yours in Sisterhood

A film by Irene Lusztig

2018 | 101 minutes | Color | DVD | English | Order No. 181225

A collective portrait of feminist conversation 40 years ago and today based on letters sent to Ms. Magazine in the 1970s.

SYNOPSIS

YOURS IN SISTERHOOD is a performative, participatory documentary inspired by the breadth and complexity of letters that were sent in the 1970s to the editor of Ms.- America's first mainstream feminist magazine. The film documents hundreds of strangers from around the U.S. who were invited to read aloud and respond to these letters written by women, men and children from diverse backgrounds. Collectively, the letters feel like an encyclopedia of both the 70s and the women's movement- an almost literal invocation of the second-wave feminist slogan "the personal is political." The intimate, provocative, and sometimes heartbreaking conversations that emerge from these performances invite viewers to think about the past, present, and future of feminism.

PRESS

"A kind of living time capsule putting the past into a dialogue with the present."

New York Times

"Irene Lusztig's documentary set-up succeeds in bringing a wealth of experiences from an earlier generation of the feminist movement into a complex dialogue with the present."

Berlinale

"Brings ’70s era Ms. Magazine letters to life."

Women and Hollywood

"Yours in Sisterhood delves into the archive…bringing neglected letters into the circulation they sought, and changing their unpublished pasts into public futures where their voices are heard. It uses the letter as a form of time travel, and even teleportation. This is science fiction at its highest order: moving non-linearly through time and space, beaming us from past to future and back again, transforming bodies into other bodies through quantum connections."

So Mayer Author of Political Animals: The New Feminist Cinema

"Yours in Sisterhood reminds us that stories are a key step towards women’s liberation. With a film like this one out there to inspire our own feminist actions at a time like today—hope remains."

Agnes Films

"Formally inventive and deeply moving. This dialogue of generations is genuinely thrilling, particularly in an age where nuance is seemingly of a bygone era. A near masterpiece, this film."

Criterion Cast

"Lusztig handles history materially and viscerally. She asks us not to simply admire or condemn and thereby distance ourselves from what she found in this feminist archive, but to engage with the ongoing violence, discrimination, and, sometimes, loneliness and isolation described by the letters, as they happen right now, today. The result is simple and staggering."

Los Angeles Review of Books

"Irene Lusztig remaps the connections between then and now, here and there, you and I with brilliant formal clarity. By giving voice to the unheard letters, Lusztig and those she films also remind us that ordinary women in every corner of the country, who have drawn primarily from personal experience, have been some of feminism’s most brilliant thinkers."

Shilyh Warren, Associate Professor University of Texas at Dallas

"Unconventional and provocative. Inventively fuses the past with the present - and reminds viewers how, in many ways, little has changed for women in America. The letters, which encompass topics such as sexual harassment and assault, and racism and white supremacy, instantaneously bring to mind parallels to the current day. A fascinating experiment in space and performance."

Marina Fang The Huffington Post

"A stirring documentary. Highly recommended."

Video Librarian

SCREENING HIGHLIGHTS AND AWARDS

  • Nominee for Inside Out Special Award for Innovation, Inside Out Toronto LBGT Film Festival
  • Special Mention, Queer Porto - International Queer Film Festival
  • Melbourne International Film Festival
  • AFI DOCS
  • Hot Docs International Documentary Film Festival
  • Berlinale Forum
  • Frameline - San Francisco International LGBTQ Film Festival
  • Documenta Madrid
  • Pink Apple LGBT Film Festival
  • Art of the Real, Lincoln Center
  • Docaviv Tel Aviv International Documentary Film Festival
  • Olhar de Cinema Festival Internacional de Curitiba
  • New Horizons Film Festival

ABOUT FILMMAKER(S)

Irene Lusztig

Irene Lusztig's film and video work mines old images and technologies for new meanings in order to reframe, recuperate, and reanimate forgotten and neglected histories. Often beginning with rigorous research in archives, her work brings historical materials into conversation with the present day, inviting viewers to explore historical spaces as a way to contemplate larger questions of politics, ideology, and the production of personal, collective, and national memories. Much of her current work is centered on public feminism, language, and histories of women and women’s bodies, including her debut feature Reconstruction (2001) the feature length archival film essay The Motherhood Archives (2013) and the ongoing web-based Worry Box Project (2011). Born in England to Romanian parents, Irene grew up in Boston and has lived in France, Italy, Romania, China, and Russia. Her work has been screened around the world, including at the Berlinale, MoMA, Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Anthology Film Archives, Pacific Film Archive, Flaherty NYC, IDFA Amsterdam, RIDM Montréal, Ambulante, and on television in the US, Europe, and Taiwan. She has received grants from the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities, Massachusetts Cultural Council, LEF Foundation, New York State Council for the Arts, and Sustainable Arts Foundation and has been awarded fellowships at the MacDowell Colony, the Flaherty Film Seminar, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, and Harvard’s Film Study Center. She is the 2016-17 recipient of a Rydell Visual Arts Fellowship and a Fulbright Fellowship in Portugal. She teaches filmmaking at UC Santa Cruz where she is Associate Professor of Film and Digital Media; she lives in the Santa Cruz Mountains. (2/18)

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