MIA and ComfortFilm present THE MOTHERHOOD ARCHIVES, a film by Irene Lusztig

MIA [Moving Image Art] is pleased to present The Motherhood Archives (2013), an essay film on the complicated history of maternal education and childbirth by filmmaker Irene Lusztig. Assembled from a fascinating range of educational, industrial, and medical training films in homage to 70s feminist filmmaking, Lusztig traces the implications of postmodern birthing suites and natural birth movements back to the first emergence of anesthetic ether in the 19th century. Revealing a world of intensive training, rehearsal, and performative preparation for the unknown that is ultimately incommensurate with experience, The Motherhood Archives is a meditation on the maternal body as a site of institutional control, ideological surveillance, medical knowledge, and nationalist state intervention.

“Through the masterful integration of archival footage and historical interpretation, Lusztig’s film catalogs the changing attitudes towards pregnancy, labor, and delivery. “THE MOTHERHOOD ARCHIVES emphasizes the paradox and tensions between the natural and pathological interpretations of birth. This film is perfect for students taking Women’s History or History of Medicine; actually, anyone planning a pregnancy should see this movie.”
Elizabeth Reis, Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies, University of Oregon

“Irene Lusztig’s fearless and riveting investigation into motherhood and the unfree maternal body shows how a skilled filmmaker can wring both eloquence and entertainment from archival material. Daylighting long-ignored ephemera, building a fascinating essay that far exceeds the sum of its components, she exposes how lies flourish as long as histories are hidden.”
Rick Prelinger, archivist and founder, Prelinger Archives & Prelinger Library

A film by Irene Luszig
presented by MIA [Moving Image Art]
in collaboration with ComfortFilm
15 APRIL 2015 – 8PM (Totally free)
Comfort Station Logan Square
2579 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60647


The MIA [Moving Image Art] series screens and exhibits the work of artists using the moving image. Screenings currently take place quarterly at Comfort Station Logan Square in Chicago, IL and at the Armory in Pasadena, CA. Curated by video artist Alanna Simone.