cover of book

Sisters On Screen
by Eva Rueschmann
Temple University Press, 2000
Cloth: 978-1-56639-746-9 | Paper: 978-1-56639-747-6
Library of Congress Classification PN1995.9.S55R84 2000
Dewey Decimal Classification 791.43652045

Perhaps the most vital, emotionally complex, and lasting attachments between women occur between sisters. Whether as best friends or antagonists, "sisters remain entangled in a common tapestry of mutual experience and remembrance, family and history," according to author Eva Ruschmann. Although many of the women-centered films in the last three decades depict the relationship between sisters as a pivotal aspect of a character's psychological development, the now substantial body of  feminist film criticism has not taken up this theme in any sustained way.

In Sisters on Screen, Eva Rueschmann explores the sister bond in a  wide range of modernist feature films that depart from the conventional cinematic rendering of  women's lives. Drawing on the psychoanalytic concept of intersubjectivity, this book emphasizes the role of a woman's relationship and inner world in her continual quest for self-knowledge.

Offering an original and absorbing perspective on women's filmic images, Sisters on Screen reveals how post-1960s cinema has articulated the way sin which biological sisters negotiate mutuality and difference, co-author family histories, and profoundly shape each other's political and personal identities. The films in focus question standards of femininity as they probe in to memory, fantasy, and desire, bringing women's realities into view in the process.

Structuring her discussion in terms of life-cycle stages -- adolescence and adulthood -- Rueschmann offers an in-depth discussion of such films as An Angel at my Table, Double Happiness, Eve's Bayou, Gas Food Lodging, Heavenly Creatures, Little Women, Marianne and Juliane, Paura e amore, Peppermint Soda, The Silence, Sweetie, and Welcome to the Dollhouse. Rueschmann draws upon the works of filmmakers from the 1970s to the 1990s. Some of the directors included in her study are Allison Anders, Gillian Armstrong, Ingmar Bergman, Jane Campion, Peter Jackson, Mina Shum, Diane Kurys, Kasi Lemmons, Todd Solondz, and Margarethe von Trotta.

Sisters on Screen will appeal to anyone interested in women's studies, film studies, psychoanalytic readings of cinema, women directors, and international modern film.

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