Real Talkies

Real Talkies

Every cut is a lie. It’s never that way. Those two shots were never next to each other in time that way. But you’re telling a lie in order to tell the truth. –Wolf Koenig.

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June 19, 2012 , , , ,


Director: Ann Fessier “A girl like her”

Ann is such a calm and unassuming woman with a pleasant smile. I saw her while waiting at the registration counter in Silver Docs Film Festival and then again the next day when she was just lounging between conference sessions. I introduced myself and we began talking. She said she was the director of “A girl like her”. Little did I know that I just met a woman behind an incredible  oral history project, a book and now a documentary.

Film’s Synopsis:

In the 1950s and 60s, more than a million unmarried American women lost children to adoption. It was time when “nice” girls didn’t get pregnant. Voiceless, single women were routinely sent away to maternity homes or to distant relatives to secretly give birth, surrender their child, and start over with a clean slate. But did they?

Ann Fessler is an adoptee, filmmaker, author, and professor of photography at the Rhode Island School of Design.  For the last several years her work has focused on adoption, especially its effect on first mothers and resulted in the creation of the book The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe v Wade (2006), a collection of  birthmother oral histories with historical analysis.  A GIRL LIKE HER juxtaposes footage from films of the time period about dating, sex, “illegitimate” pregnancy, and adoption—that both reflected and shaped the public’s understanding of single pregnancy during that time—with the voices of these mothers as they speak today, with hindsight, about the long-term impact of surrender and silence on their lives. In other words, the film is a juxtaposition of the woman’s lived and recorded histories and the cost of doing that. I highly recommend watching this film at Silverdocs 2012


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