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REEL DOCS Presents Look at Us Now, Mother!


By Amy Cotler

On Tuesday and Wednesday, February 6 and 7, at 4pm in La Biblioteca’s Teatro Santa Ana, REEL DOCS will present Gayle Kirshenbaum’s acclaimed documentary, Look at Us Now, Mother!” In this humorous and poignant film, Kirshenbaum takes viewers on her personal journey as she explores and seeks to understand her highly charged relationship with her abusive mother. The New York Times called it “a heartbreaking story of acceptance and forgiveness.”

Look at Us Now, Mother! explores questions that haunted the director since childhood. What makes a child certain that she was born into the wrong family? What wounds are inflicted when the home that’s supposed to be a haven isolates her as an outsider—when her mother’s words are rarely nurturing but instead ruthlessly shaming, demeaning, and critical? Kirschenbaum faces these dilemmas in her relentlessly honest and bitingly funny documentary. It’s the story of one determined woman’s quest to reconcile with and understand her past, which means forgiving her proud, narcissistic, and formidable elderly mother, Mildred.

In the film, Kirschenbaum is determined to unlock the key to her family’s pain and crack open her mother’s brittle shell. But Mildred’s in her ninth decade and time is running out. Kirschenbaum brings her unique brand of fearless honesty and laugh-aloud humor to a film that took decades to shoot, about a relationship that took a lifetime to mend.

Look at Us Now, Mother! is Emmy award-winning Kirshenbaum’s first feature film. Her other films include the documentary My Nose, which became a worldwide film festival favorite, about her experience with her mother, who had been insisting that her daughter get a nose job since she was 15 years old. A Dog’s Life: A Dogamentary is her hilarious and touching documentary that explores the positive effect of the intense bond between dogs and humans. It premiered on HBO and has been featured widely in the media.

Kirshenbaum is also a published author and artist. Her short stories, essays, and articles have appeared in literary journals, magazines, and newspapers. She is an active member in a wide variety of organizations, including New York Women in Film and Television, and is an official judge for the Emmys. She worked closely with the world-renowned Maysles brothers, an American documentary filmmaking team famous for their work in the direct cinema style. Their best-known films include Gimme Shelter and Grey Gardens.

There will be a Q&A and margarita reception with the filmmaker following each screening. REEL DOCS donates the proceeds from the screenings to the Biblioteca in support of children’s programming at the library.


Documentary Film

Q&A with the filmmaker, Gayle Kirschenbaum, presents:

Look at Us Now, Mother!

Tue–Wed, Feb 6–7, 4pm

Teatro Santa Ana

La Biblioteca

Reloj 50A

100 pesos (includes margarita reception)




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