Yours in Sisterhood (2018)


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An intriguing albeit flat documentary by Irene Lusztig, Yours in Sisterhood has contemporary women reading unpublished letters sent to Ms magazine in the 1970s.

The letters chosen represent the breadth of experiences of women who were struggling at the time to be treated as equals. The topics are varied; jobs, the burden of maintaining a home and raising children on top of full-time work, nuclear-power, the representation of people of colour, sexuality, sexual liberation and sex work.

The women who read the letters have something in common with the anonymous authors – the town they live in, their profession, their age or their experiences as girls and women. Most speak of how they feel about the author’s words, often reflecting that not a lot has changed in 40 years.

Occasionally the original authors read their own letters and talk about revisiting their younger selves and what their lives are like now. These are the most engaging as we get to see what they have and haven’t achieved. I wanted more of this. Drawn from more than 300 recordings, this felt a bit like a post-graduate work shoe-horned into a feature film.

The pace flags a bit after awhile and I wished sometimes for more context, to see what the magazine was like at the time, or for the film to build to some kind of resolution. There is a poignancy, though, to knowing that none of these letters were ever published, these voices were never heard until now.

Have you seen this film? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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