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Weird Lullabies

Mothers and Daughters in Contemporary Film

Betty Jay

This book focuses on the mother-daughter relationship as it features in a number of films from the 1990s onwards. Bringing the insights of psychoanalysis and feminism to bear on a diverse and compelling range of representations of the mother-daughter dynamic, the author addresses a range of questions relating to the social, historical and cultural conditions which go to inform the female experience. These include, in relation to Dolores Claiborne, Heavenly Creatures and The Others, an exploration of different forms of familial violence and resistance to it and in One True Thing, Stepmom and Pieces of April, questions about the construction of the ideal mother and her loss. From The Piano’s engagement with French feminism and Losing Chase’s reworking of the life and work of Virginia Woolf to the depiction of cross-racial relationships during apartheid in Friends, the films that go to make up this study all share a central concern with both the literal and symbolic forms that the mother-daughter relationship encompasses.
Contents: Maternal aesthetics – Cross-racial surrogacy – Matricide and the ideal mother – Framing the mother – Thinking back through the Woolfian mother – The spectral mother – The death of the mother – Feminist ideology and the maternal – The mother-daughter plot.