Yours in Sisterhood
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.
— LUCY LAIRD
Johnston, Kinney & Zulaica LLP
- Premiere Status: West Coast