Abigail Child’s documentary explores the resurgence of protest in the 21st Century through a refracted observation of the life and works of anarchist revolutionary Emma Goldman. The work is hybrid and prismatic, utilizing contemporary and archival footage and re-enactment to expose the continuing conflicts between labor and property, revolutionary purity and personal freedom. Once considered the “most dangerous woman alive,” Emma was also passionate and sexual; beauty, art, and humor were integral to the freedoms for which she fought. The film performs a time travel, weaving industrial-era factory labor and contemporary computer data centers with excerpts of Emma’s prescient speeches and intimate diary entries to explore human vulnerabilities, compromises, and choices.
The film is the second in my Trilogy of Women and Ideology. Each part asks: how do ideologies fail women? What do we give up in our struggle to be more than “merely female?” The first in the trilogy, Unbound, retells the story of Mary Shelley, examining 19th Century Romanticism through “imaginary home movies” shot in Rome. This second film explores Emma Goldman and Anarchism, shot in New York City, in a series of non-hierarchical fragmented “memory” chapters. The third part of the Trilogy will explore science in the 21st Century, focusing on virtual women and androids.
Director’s Statement: Abigail Child