The Edge of Each Other’s Battles: The Vision of Audre Lorde
Produced by Profile Productions
Directed by Jennifer Abod
Distributed by Women Make Movies, 462 Broadway, New York, NY 10013; 212-925-0606
VHS, color, 59 min.
Reviewed by Susanne Boatright, Library, Blue River Community College, one of the Metropolitan Community Colleges, Kansas City, MO
Audience Level: College – Adult
Subject(s): History, Literature, Gay and Lesbian Studies, Women’s Studies
Date Entered: 9/10/2004
A majority of the footage in this documentary is from I am Your Sister: Forging Global Connections Across Differences, a four-day conference held in Boston in 1990. Interspersed with the conference footage are interviews between internationally known poet/activist Audre Lorde and Women of Color Press co-founder, Barbara Smith and conference organizers Jacqui Alexander and Angela Bowen. The conference organizers specified that 50% of the attendees must be women of color or impoverished women. 1200 people from 23 countries met to address race, sexuality, gender and class issues across cultural lines using Lorde’s life and work. Two years later Lorde died of breast cancer in St. Croix. She was 58.
Lorde is the author of 15 books of poetry and prose and was poet Laureate of New York State from 1991-1993. A self described “black lesbian, mother, warrior, poet”, she consistently challenged racism, sexism, classism and homophobia. She strove to make people aware of their commonalities in order that they might transcend the limiting categories that prevented them from working together for human and civil rights.
Although the film suffers from a single camera angle and sequences that were unedited and therefore a little too long, the sound is excellent. The conference footage includes poetry readings and passionate, heartfelt speeches. It was interesting to note that even in a conference dedicated to finding commonalities among women from differing ethnicities, class and sexual orientation, controversy arose and was faithfully recorded by the camera. Overall, the film conveys brilliantly the depth of emotion felt and expressed by conference participants. This film is a must for women’s studies, gay-lesbian studies, and political collections in an academic library.
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