Locations of the M/othership: Black Women as Fugitive Archetype of Resistance 2009
Distributed by Third World Newsreel, 545 Eighth Avenue, 10th Floor, New York, NY 10018; 212-947-9277
Directed by Jamika Ajalon
DVD, color and b&w;, 20 min.
College - Adult
African American Studies, Film Studies, Women's Studies, Science Fiction
Date Entered: 09/20/2010Reviewed by Gloria Maxwell, Reference Librarian, Penn Valley Community College, Kansas City, MO
In a mere 20 minutes, Jamika Ajalon juxtaposes visual images of African American women from science fiction with historic photographs of Harriet Tubman and Angela Davis, coupled with word pairings that are designed to be provocative: “mother ship, mother tongue, motherland.” The purpose of this film seems to be to stimulate thoughtful inquiry about how African American women have been portrayed in various venues from historical records to science fiction representations, such as Uhura in Star Trek. Uhura means freedom in Swahili.
This film works well as a means to generate discussion and explore the various representations and identities African American women have portrayed. One weakness may be one of its strengths, which is that it is only 20 minutes long. This can also be interpreted as making viewers responsible for interpretation rather than providing all of the meaning from the author’s perspective.
Technical aspects are very interesting. Text alternates with visual images and auditory commentary. Viewers will quickly realize they need to read the text as well as watch the images as they interact with one another.
This film would be useful in college library collections for use in a variety of courses, such as film studies, women’s studies, etc.