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A Life's Work

A Life's Work

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There is a robust Facebook page dedicated to the film and my personal Instagram account, which has some film-related posts.

Penelope Leach gives, I think, an accurate definition of postnatal depression: she says that in postnatal depression the mother believes that there is something faulty or abnormally difficult about her child. DL:After watching the film, I hope the viewer recognizes that the path of the subjects in the film is similar to their own, which I hope will prompt them to ask themselves “What will my legacy be? David Licata (DL):I began editing the film myself for financial reasons, but I knew I wasn’t doing the idea and the footage justice. Could she not see that it was she, in her car, that represented the very danger she congratulated herself for pointing out?The film’s personal, deep emotional roots will, I believe, contribute immeasurably to its power and make it a unique film. There was me, my husband, my husband's eight-year-old daughter, and our own two children: a baby who cried passionately each time I moved out of her line of vision, and her sister, older by 15 months, whose abundant hair exactly matched the electrifying palette of autumn in the pleasure gardens that year. I was cited everywhere as having said the unsayable: that it is possible for a woman to dislike her children, even to regret having brought them into the world. Although she has decided she wants to be a mother, she is apprehensive about the dramatic upheaval a child will bring. My insides grew gritty, my nerves sharp…I no longer slept in the intervals, but merely rested silently like some legendary figure, itinerant, doughty, and far from home.

I had a LOT of time to think about the film: the look, the pace, what to shoot, what to ask, how to edit, what was needed, and what was not. It was, perhaps, our isolation - idyllic though it was - that sealed these events in a profound melancholy from which I subsequently found myself unable to escape. Cusk anatomises motherhood as Montaigne anatomised friendship or Robert Burton anatomised melancholy .

Perhaps strangely, it was the second remark that troubled me more than the possibility that humanity would be extinguished by my hand. Yet I had experienced it, in a way: it was part of what I had found intolerable in the public culture of motherhood, the childcare manuals and the toddler groups, the discourse of domestic life, even the politics of birth itself.

By the time we moved to the house beside the pleasure gardens, which had a study, I was nearly finished. This hunger evidently goes unsatisfied, and must content itself with scraps from the table of daily news. She is scathing about the official literature in particular, noting that its inadequacy only serves to make her feel more alone.

Every single day, some woman with her child strapped into the front seat of her car shakes her head at us. She produced sheaves of leaflets and laid each one lovingly on the table for me to study while behind her the baby looted her handbag, undetected. What is really startling about A Life's Work is that it is genuinely post-feminist, not in the sense that we do not need feminism any more, but in the sense that it implicitly points to the holes in the familiar feminist discourse. In motherhood the communal was permitted to prevail over the individual, and the result, to my mind, was a great deal of dishonesty.

By the time the book came out, she was one and a half, her sister three: that summer I peacefully harvested the gooseberry bushes at the back of the house, swam in the ornamental lake, shooed out the bats that sometimes flew around the rafters of our room on summer evenings. I hired an editor, Cabot Philbrick, to edit a 30-minute sample of the film, and he really brought my ideas into focus. I was four or five months pregnant with my second child when I began, and when I reached the end, that child existed, an ardent 10-month-old baby whose power of love has ever since been fused in my mind with the risks and rewards of self-exposure.I have a bad relationship with my own mother and was pitched by motherhood into the recollection of childhood unhappiness and confusion. In a brief introduction, Cusk notes that the memoir was written just six months after her first daughter’s birth and while Cusk was pregnant with her second daughter. It was my sincere belief that nobody would read it or care about it, and in all honesty I didn't blame them. This resulted in a few people wanting to screen it for their organization or their school, and I love doing that just as much as screening at a festival. At other times, finding she misses her daughter while she is sleeping, she lies down beside her cradle.



  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
  • EAN: 764486781913
  • Sold by: Fruugo

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