Double Bind

Four independent shorts by women about mothers and daughters. All of them are original and well worth seeing, but I was especially struck by Anna Campion’s English documentary The Audition (1989), in which her famous filmmaking sister Jane auditions their mother, a former stage actress, for a small part in An Angel at My Table. Charting the subtle shifts in power and control between mother and daughter, this intimate family piece seems partly scripted and partly improvised, and the complicity of the participants makes it wholly convincing and riveting. Tracey Moffatt’s Australian Night Cries: A Rural Tragedy (1989) is a visually striking experimental piece about an aboriginal woman nursing her dying mother. Pam Tom’s Two Lies (1990), a U.S. film in black and white, focuses on the tensions between a Chinese American divorcee, who’s just undergone plastic surgery to make her eyes rounder, and her disaffected teenage daughter. Ngozi Onwurah’s English The Body Beautiful (1991) is a frank and suggestive reverie about the filmmaker herself (played by an actress), who’s the daughter of a mixed marriage, and her white mother (who plays herself). (Chicago Filmmakers, 1229 W. Belmont, Friday, June 26, 7:30, 281-8788)

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