Yours in Sisterhood

Director: Irene Lusztig
2018 | USA | 101m
GENRE: Activism | Biography/History | Bisexual | Black/African American | Discrimination | Documentary | Lesbian | Local Interest/Subjects | Politics | Sexuality | Transgender
SECTION: Documentary Features
Expected Guests: Director, Irene Lusztig, Researcher, Megan Needels, Sound Designer, Jeremiah Moore


The women wrote their letters to Ms. magazine and signed them, as good feminists did, “In sisterhood.” Most were never published. Forty years later, award-winning filmmaker and media archeologist Irene Lusztig traveled around the United States, to the towns where the letters had been written, and asked local women to re-embody the letter-writers’ voices and read aloud these deepest secrets, angriest rants, and sincerest pleas on camera.

What happens is intersectional, personal, political—and perfectly stunning. In small-town Kansas, a transgender teen reads a 1975 letter proposing a new gender-neutral pronoun: “I’m not a ‘he-she-whatever’!” From a lawn chair in Bowling Green, Ohio, a middle-aged African American wonders who from her town would have written such a powerful screed about the media’s lack of black representation in 1979. A seventy-something from San Francisco says of a 1974 writer’s decision to no longer fake orgasm, “That was very me.” Poignantly, a woman rereads her own 1976 letter, written when she was sixteen, confronting her fear and sense of loss—but also her optimistic exuberance—about coming out as a lesbian. These are just a sampling of the powerful portraits-within-portraits the film captures, from 306 interviews in 32 states. Lusztig’s camera is still; her takes, unhurried; her shots, simply framed; and her locations, unremarkable. This very ordinariness underlines the extraordinary dialogue she’s created between the past and the future of feminism.


Johnston, Kinney & Zulaica LLP

The Women's Building / BAMPFA

  • Premiere Status: West Coast