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photo Seventeen Short Films About Breasts
By Cathryn Robertson

This provocative and often lovely suite of short films explores a range of feelings and concerns women have about their breasts. Together or individually, they offer a wonderful variety of ways to stimulate individual reflection and group discussion.

A range of intelligent, thoughtful women of all ages talk about the meaning to them of their breasts throughout the life cycle — from sources of embarrassment in the early teen years, to pride and self-identity later on; as centers of their erotic and sexual lives, and as sources of nourishment and nurturing for their children. Tragically, their breasts are also a source of vulnerability; both the risk and the reality of breast cancer are the focus of many of these short visual essays.

The discussions of cancer are emotionally powerful and visually frank. We see what mastectomies look like — both with and without reconstruction — and we hear from women who have had both positive and negative experiences with the healthcare system and with the procedures they have undergone. Yet many of the films, such as those about hats, wigs, and prostheses, have a wry humor. Others, such as the ones on biopsies and radiation therapy, simply convey these experiences, with their tension, fear, and pain — as well, sometimes, as monotony and boredom. Still other essays explore women’s quest for answers: Why did this happen to me? Why does it happen to so many women? Is there anything I could have done? What can I do to prevent recurrence?

55 minutes
© 2008
Purchase $248 DVD
Order No. QA-510
ISBN (DVD) 1-57295-510-4

Reviews
"A stark portrayal of women speaking their truth directly to the camera. They talk about the meaning of their breasts to them, their diagnoses of cancer, their journeys through the medical system, and the impact of loss. The film's power lies in the candor and courage with which the women speak. This is breast cancer undressed." Susan Millar: The Undercurrent, Canada

"This film offers an interesting blend of joy, sadness, humor, and hope. Recommended for all adult audiences, particularly for breast cancer patients and survivors, their families, and caregivers." Educational Media Reviews Online

"***1/2. Highly Recommended. For anyone dealing with breast cancer, the film offers survivors' frank, poignant, and often humorous observations and a rare opportunity to watch procedures and witness the physical effects of surgery (several medical procedures involving needles are captured in cringe-inducing close-ups)." Video Librarian

Awards & Conference Screenings
Leo Awards: Nominated for Best Direction,
Screenwriting, Cinematography, Editing, and Music

Related Films
At My Mother's Breast: The filmmaker's mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother all had breast cancer; she grew up knowing that she might be next. An extraordinary portrait of a family of brave, strong women finding unity in facing a terrifying and tragic genetic legacy.

One in Eight: Janice was 33 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. This is an irreverent and highly personal look at one woman's fight with a disease that affects one in eight women.

Angela's Journey: Angela is a bright, attractive young mother with two small children, and terminal breast cancer. This candid, compelling documentary follows Angela as she visits her physician and explores treatment options, while dealing with issues of body image, loneliness, and romance — and trying to pack twenty years of mothering into five.

Facing Ovarian Cancer: A Woman's Guide: Ovarian caner is the sixth most common cause of cancer death in women. This ground-breaking program is designed for women who have just been diagnosed with it and includes interviews with leading oncologists, psychologists, nurses and social workers, as well as a wide range of women who are living with ovarian cancer.

Chasing the Cancer Answer: There are predictions that one in two North Americans in the next generation will be diagnosed with cancer. Wendy Mesley had followed all the rules for healthy living, but she still got sick. In her quest for answers she comes across disturbing clues about the role of environmental contaminants, and asks whether, with our focus on treatment, drugs and the ever-elusive cancer cure, we may be ignoring the importance of prevention


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