Leona’s Sister Gerri

Date: Monday, November 18, 2019

Time: 7pm

Location: Brattle Theatre, 40 Brattle Street, Cambridge, MA

Director: Jane Gillooly

Film Details: 1995, 57 minutes, color, sound, English

Film Website | Facebook Event | Tickets

New England Legacy Film! Winner of the Silver Hugo at the Chicago International Film Festival. Official selection of New Directors, New Films at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Director Jane Gillooly will attend in person for post-screening Q&A with Lisa Barbash, Curator of Visual Anthropology at the Harvard Peabody Museum

About the Film:

Leona’s Sister Gerri tells the dramatic story of Gerri Santoro, a mother of two and the “real person” in the now famous photo of an anonymous woman on a motel floor, dead from an illegal abortion. Reprinted thousands of times on placards, and in the media, this grisly photo became a pro-choice icon. Should the media have used this image? What circumstances led to Gerri’s tragic death? Powerfully addressing issues of reproductive rights and domestic violence, this video is a moving portrait of Gerri Santoro’s life and society’s response to her death.

“Patiently piecing together the facts behind this wrenching image, Ms Gillooly brings a wide breadth of understanding to the tragedy she uncovers.” – Janet Maslin, The New York Times

“Fleshing out the life behind a now iconic image (the film) makes the political personal, the abstract particular and in so doing uncover layers of humanity often missing in political rhetoric.” – Boston Globe Magazine, Madeline Drexler

About the Director:

JANE GILLOOLY is committed to the art of narrative, how it is constructed, and how complex and often hidden histories, can be made accessible. What connects her work is an empathetic curiosity about particular individuals’ struggles. Especially when history, politics and personal crises conspire. Gillooly is a Guggenheim Fellow and has had one-person screening/exhibitions at MOMA, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, Art of the Real, the Film Society of Lincoln Center. Other honors include Best International Film at IMAGES Festival in Toronto, and numerous fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Massachusetts Cultural Council, and the LEF Foundation Moving Image Award. Recent work includes Suitcase of Love and Shame. A film which was sourced from audio recorded in the 1960s. Suitcase is a blended narrative of invented images and archival sound. Audience of Love and Shame, was commissioned by the Museum of the Moving Image. This companion piece is a two-shot film of an audience watching Suitcase of Love and Shame, and uses the audio from the original work. A podcast version of this work, that incorporates material that was omitted from the film, was produced for Love + Radio and released through Public Radio International. Her current work, Where the Pavement Ends (2018) depicts a microhistory of race relations in America by examining her home town of Ferguson Missouri and how past injustices prefigure those of today. 

Screens With:

We Were Hardly More Than Children

Directed by Cecelia Condit 8.5 min | 2019
“We Were Hardly More Than Children” tells an epic tale of an illegal abortion as lived by two women on a perilous journey through a world that has little concern for their survival.

Paintings by Diane Messinger Music by Renato Umali Lena and friend: Flora Coker and Cecelia Condit

Programming Note: Special Thanks to Irina Leimbacher and Video Data Bank