Reel Affirmations 2003
Review by John Murph
Rating: (5 out of 5) [Critic’s Pick!]
Sunday, 10/19/2003, 4:00 PM
Feature presentation, $9 at Cecile Goldman Theater at the DCJCC
TEN YEARS IN the making, The Edge of Each Other’s Battles: The Vision of Audre Lorde () isn’t so much a documentary solely on Lorde’s life but rather her influential legacy as a black feminist lesbian poet. The film mostly centers on an “I Am Your Sister” conference, held in 1990 in Boston, which brought together women from around the world to celebrate the life and achievements of Lorde. The women explore various issues of class, sexism, racism, and homophobia by using Lorde’s words as inspirational and motivational forces to combat social ills.
Lorde radiates on screen as she discusses the nuances and challenges of double, sometimes triple consciousness — being a person of color fighting for gay and women’s rights — and how it can impede or strengthen a movement overall. Some of the film’s most powerful moments, though, don’t always come from Lorde. Hitaz Aziz delivers a heartbreaking testimony on class issues , while Julie Blackwomon speaks of isolation and double-identity. Abod excels at illuminating all the subtleties by highlighting some of the conference’s inner-tensions, such as the role and attendance of white women and men at a predominately “women of color” conference, and self-hatred within races or ethnicities. Absorbing, enlightening, and empowering.
Activism through arts is also lovingly documented in Jay Rosenstein’s highly recommended The Amasong Chorus: Singing Out () as he tells the story of how Kristina Boerger, exhausted from political gay activism, returns to music (her first love), and how she reconciled the two passions by creating a lesbian/feminist choir in the small, conservative Midwestern town of Champaign-Urbana, Ill. This rags-to-riches tale details how Amasong evolved from a small group of 16 women of varying musical inclinations to a 1997 GLAMA award-winning choir. And through gripping personal stories from Boerger, her parents, and various choir members, the film also shed lights on gay life in a small town.