As we reflect on mothers this weekend — stereotypically with ostentatious bouquets and boozy brunches — it’s vital to remember that motherhood is political. Who can become a mother, and who has to become a mother? Film can be a powerful expression of the importance of reproductive choice, and the consequences when people are denied bodily autonomy. Here are some great titles on that subject.
4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2007)
Winner of the Palme d’Or at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival, director Cristian Mungiu’s breakout feature tells the story of two college students in late 1980s Romania who are in search of an illegal abortion. A stressful, heartbreaking two hours sees pregnant Gabita and her roommate Otilia evading draconian laws and confronting the violent cultural misogyny those laws represented. There’s nothing redeeming about their dehumanizing quest, and in the end, both women are irrevocably changed.
After Tiller (2013)
In the US, where abortion is federally legal but restricted on a state by state basis, violence against abortion doctors is a real threat, increasing alongside white nationalist violence. Martha Shane and Lana Wilson’s documentary charts the repercussions this violence has had on reproductive rights. In the aftermath of the 2009 assassination of Dr. George Tiller, there were only four doctors left in the entire country who would provide third-term abortions. The film is empathetic and sensitive, with a deep understanding that a necessary procedure can also be traumatic, and that providing help is courageous.
Citizen Ruth (1996)
After two very heavy options, here are a few laughs courtesy of this bitter comedy. Laura Dern plays Ruth, a young Nebraskan ne’er-do-well who discovers she’s pregnant for the fifth time and facing felony charges for endangering a fetus because of her drug use. Ruth’s body literally becomes a battleground for disingenuous activists, with an inconceivable (to her) amount of money dangling over her choice. The film acutely portrays the cynical public abortion “debate” of the 1990s as a rhetorical football that ignored lived experience.
New research contests the myth that it was Christianity’s opposition to public nudity that led to the decline in large-scale bathing in the late Roman Empire.
An exhibition at San Francisco’s Letterform Archive highlights typography’s role in iconic social movements from the 1800s through the present.
The program, along with recently announced visiting critics, will provide long term funding, promote access, and safeguard experimentation for future students of color.
Rocks, ducks, and a self-organized survey of Gingham are some of the things to see right now in four Chicago art galleries.
Three weeks into their strike, part-time professors are escalating their protests, backed by public figures and disgruntled parents.
More than a dozen activists participated in the action, organized by the group Woman Life Freedom NYC.
The Wellcome Collection closed the long-term exhibition Medicine Man for concerns of “racism, sexism, and ableism.”
Contemporary art, original sketches, and more explore how the Japanese character sprung from the pages of a manga and became a global cultural sensation.
Eva Hagberg’s new book sheds light on the relationship between critic and publicist Aline Louchheim and architect Eero Saarinen.
If there is an object you have ever desired in your life, rest assured that someone in the advertising industry made money convincing you of exactly that.
Eleven Contemporary Artists Explore the Meaning of Shelter at the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art
Artists collaborate with nonprofit institutions and field experts to examine historical and contemporary determinants of housing and the feelings of safety and connection integral to places of living.
Custodians, groundskeepers, and movers at the Rhode Island School of Design are seeking wage improvement, healthcare benefits, and a retirement package.
Ceramic fried eggs, critiques of real estate, and a whole booth dedicated to female-identifying saints caught my eye at Untitled, NADA, and Art Miami.