Unravelling family fictions: stories we tell, daughter rite and my life without me

Thynne, Lizzie (2019) Unravelling family fictions: stories we tell, daughter rite and my life without me. In: Marchevska, Elena and Walkerdine, Valerie (eds.) The Maternal in creative work: intergenerational discussions on motherhood and art. Routledge, London. ISBN 9780815381693

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This chapters compares Stories We Tell (2012) , a documentary by Canadian actor and director, Sarah Polley, with the feminist classic Daughter Rite by Michelle Citron (1979) in order to explore the ways in which it has become possible in recent women’s cinema to reimagine the mother and specifically to represent her desire. Stories We Tell redresses the marginalisation of the mother in the earlier film by attempting both to represent her desire – through the enacted home movies that reveal her mother Diane Polley’s extramarital affair – and to perform it in the making of the film by putting her dead mother’s wishes and ambitions for her family into motion. The mother’s legacy is imagined and enacted not as constraining, in the manner that Freudian and post-Freudian theory suggests, but as inspiring and enabling the creative potential of those she has left behind. Finally, the chapter explores how as an actor Polley also presents a reconceptualisation of the mother figure in My Life Without Me (Isabel Coixet [2003]), a radical reworking of the maternal melodrama.

Item Type: Book Section
Keywords: maternal; Stories We Tell; Daughter Rite; family; documentary; autobiography; home movie; women's cinema;feminist film
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Film and Music > Media and Film
Research Centres and Groups: Centre for Life History and Life Writing Research
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1993 Motion pictures
Depositing User: Lizzie Thynne
Date Deposited: 07 Sep 2018 13:59
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2021 01:00
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/78546

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