In celebration of Motherís Day, a program of vintage short films on motherhood, from America to Bali
The Fischer family, 1964
On Motherís Day 2009, the Film Love series presents a selection of works about motherhood and the way it is filmed, from America to Bali, by artists, anthropologists, and documentarians.
The evening centers on Richard Leacockís 1963 classic A Happy Motherís Day, about the birth of the Fischer quintuplets in Aberdeen, South Dakota. The film is both a witty portrayal of the civic frenzy surrounding the event and a portrait of mother Mary Ann Fischer, whose resistance to exploitation and sly, in-on-the-joke persona give the film its moral and emotional center. The film was rejected by its sponsor, and re-edited by ABC television into a more traditional representation of small-town America. The two versions present a veritable case study in how the same imagery can be used to create two different versions of an event, and two different visions of motherhood in America. We will screen both Leacockís film and ABCís re-edited version. Accompanying is David Ellsworthís short video Super-8 Mom, in which the artist overlays his motherís home movie footage from the early 1970s with her present-day voice.
In stark contrast to American imagery of birth and motherhood are the films of famed anthropologist Margaret Mead. The powerful and surprising First Days in the Life of a New Guinea Baby documents the eventful first hour after birth of an infant in the Iatmul tribe. The delightful Bathing Babies in Three Cultures shows the fascinating differences in this daily ritual between the United States, New Guinea, and Bali.
A Happy Motherís Day (Richard Leacock with Joyce Chopra, 1963), 26 minutes
The Fischer Quintuplets (ABC-TV, 1963), 30 minutes
Super-8 Mom (David Ellsworth, 2002), 5 minutes
Bathing Babies in Three Cultures (Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson, 1930s/1954), 14 minutes
First Days in the Life of a New Guinea Baby (Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson, 1930s/1952), 14 minutes
all works screened on video
A HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY is a Film Love event. The Film Love series provides access to rare but important films, and seeks to increase awareness of the rich history of experimental and avant-garde film. The series is curated and hosted by Andy Ditzler for Frequent Small Meals. Film Love was voted Best Film Series in Atlanta by the critics of Creative Loafing in 2006.
Gregory Bateson, Iatmul woman holding a baby on her arm, 1938