A MUST SEE: "Who Does She Think She is?" At the Forum May 8

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header.jpg"Who Does She Think She Is?" is a look into the lives of four women artists--who are also dedicated mothers. Their personal narratives form the basis of a perspective that every working mother can understand--the pull between work and home is a difficult and often painful balancing act. You don't have to be an 'artist,' per se, to get the gist of Boll's undertaking--the film delivers an emotional wallop when you see the ways in which women, particularly mothers, are expected to push and pull amazing loads in order to keep the lives of their families running smoothly, while trying to attest to the pull of the "muse." It's a perfect paen to mothers everywhere, and this is not lost on the sponsors of the program, given that it runs Mother's' Day Weekend.

I loved this film and I think that you will, too. And it's not just for overworked mothers--the focus on the pull of work and family is a topic which contemporary dads, so much more involved in their lives of their families than ever before, can understand, too. I believe that Boll has just started mining what is a potentially endless digging project about what 'parenting' means--we all define it with our own version of sacrifice and selflessness. These women have not drawn any lines and are taking it all on, some with dire consequeneces.

Boll concentrates on the artist, not just because they are part of a visual medium which gives the film a richness and delightful context that would not be the same if they, say, taught school or worked in finance, but because the pulls of the inner artistic self are not always in sync with the demands of the world. It's not just enough to be able to find decently priced childcare when you work--it's a matter of life and death to these women, doing what they do, as natural as breathing and just as important to their survival. It's also a lesson in financial acuity--none of these women are sponsored by big museums or have significant grants that keep them afloat financially. They are working moms in every way and an anomaly when it comes to the history of women artists.

Not every woman artist has to make enormous sacrifices to her art in order to keep her family moving along day by sometimes unimaginably busy day. But these women do and it makes a truly moving cinematic experience. The main conceit of the film, that most famous women artists or adventurers ever had children (Amelia Earhart, Lillian Hellman, Jane Austen, Louisa May Alcott, Louise Nevelson, Georgia O'Keefe, and the list goes on and on).

With gorgeous attention to the art itself, as well as the artist, and a narrative that weaves four very moving stories together in a cohesive and interesting way, Boll has once again created a cinematic thrill for audiences--one that will incite, invite and truly excite the intellect as well as the heart, a heady combination, with far more emotion than any Hallmark card could ever try to encapsulate.

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