Irene Lusztig

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Irene Lusztig (born 1974) is a British-American nonfiction filmmaker and artist. Her body of work explores historical memory, archival materials, and feminist historiography.


Lusztig's debut feature film Reconstruction, released in 2001, tells the story of her Romanian maternal grandmother Monica Sevianu, who was sentenced to life in prison for taking part in the Ioanid Gang bank heist in 1959. The film explores issues of Romanian Communist history, re-enactment and authoritarian politics through the personal lens of Lusztig's family history.[1][2] The film had its international premiere in the First Appearances program at IDFA in Amsterdam[3], was shown in MoMA's Doc Fortnight screening program, and was broadcast on ARTE. It was praised as "a film of ambition and scope" by the Boston Phoenix[4] and hailed as "an example of personal documentary at its best" by Variety.[5] In 2003, Filmmaker Magazine named Lusztig one of their 25 new faces of indie film.[6]

Her 2013 feature length film The Motherhood Archives combines over 100 educational archival films to explore the ideologically mediated histories of childbirth in the 20th century.[7] [8][9][10]

Her most recent feature length film, Yours in Sisterhood (2018), explores the unpublished letters sent to Ms. Magazine in the 1970s.[11] This film examines history and second-wave feminism in the context of the most recent wave of feminist politics. It premiered at the 2018 Berlinale Forum[12] and was nominated for a Teddy Award for Best Documentary/Essay Film[13]. Filmed between 2015-2017, Yours in Sisterhood uses "embodied listening" techniques to invite contemporary women across the United States to read and reflect on letters to the editor of Ms. written between 1972 and 1980.[14][15][16] The film was critically praised by The Huffington Post[17], The Washington Post[18], the Los Angeles Review of Books[19], and Hyperallergic.[20]

Lusztig's films have screened around the world, including in the Film Society of Lincoln Center[21], Anthology Film Archives[22], the Pacific Film Archive[23], BFI London Film Festival[24], Hot Docs[25], AFI Docs[26], Melbourne International Film Festival[27], and RIDM Montréal[28].

She was a 2010-11 Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study[29] David and Roberta Logie Fellow and Radcliffe-Harvard Film Study Center Fellow.

Lusztig is currently Professor of Film & Digital Media at UC Santa Cruz, where she teaches filmmaking.[30]


2018    Yours in Sisterhood / HD video / 101 min. / distributed by Women Make Movies

2016     Forty Years /  HD video / 12 min.

2014     Maternity Test /  HD video / 14 min.     

2013    The Motherhood Archives / 16mm, HD video, archival materials / 90 min. video / distributed by Women Make Movies

2005     The Samantha Smith Project / DV, Super 8, archival materials / 51 min. video

2001      Reconstruction / DV, super 8, archival materials / 90 min. video / distributed by Women Make Movies

1997      For Beijing with Love and Squalor  / Hi8 video / 58 min.


  1. ^ Nichols, Bill (2008-09-01). "Documentary Reenactment and the Fantasmatic Subject". Critical Inquiry. 35 (1): 72–89. doi:10.1086/595629. ISSN 0093-1896.
  2. ^ Mihăilescu, Călin-Andrei (2010). "Re-Ro: Re-enacted scripts in and around Alexandru Solomon's "The Great Communist Bank Robbery"". Film Criticism. 34 (2/3): 96–105. ISSN 0163-5069. JSTOR 44019240.
  3. ^, Oberon Amsterdam, Reconstruction | IDFA, retrieved 2019-06-14
  4. ^ "Gerald Peary - film reviews - Reconstruction". Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  5. ^ Eisner, Ken; Eisner, Ken (2002-10-31). "Reconstruction". Variety. Retrieved 2019-06-14.
  6. ^ "25 NEW FACES OF INDIE FILM 2003 - Filmmaker Magazine - Summer 2003". Retrieved 2019-06-14.
  7. ^ "The Motherhood Archives". Retrieved 2019-06-14.
  8. ^ Schultz-Figueroa, Benjamin (2015-06-03). "IRENE LUSZTIG with Benjamin Schultz-Figueroa". The Brooklyn Rail. Retrieved 2019-06-14.
  9. ^ Gonzalez, Maya (2013-07-10). "The Birth of Motherhood". The New Inquiry. Retrieved 2019-06-14.
  10. ^ Altman, Anna (2014-08-03). "Why Our Expectations of Childbirth Are Changing". Op-Talk. Retrieved 2019-06-14.
  11. ^ ""Yours in Sisterhood" Doc Brings '70s Era Ms. Magazine Letters to Life". Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  12. ^ "Arsenal: Yours in Sisterhood". Arsenal – Institut für Film und Videokunst e.V. Retrieved 2019-06-14.
  13. ^ "Programme Guide TEDDY AWARD 2018". Issuu. Retrieved 2019-06-14.
  14. ^ D. Andy Rice (2018-12-20). "The Sense of Feminism Then and Now: Yours in Sisterhood (2018) and Embodied Listening in the Cinema Praxis of Irene Lusztig". Senses of Cinema. Retrieved 2019-06-14.
  15. ^ "A Movie Uncovers Unpublished Letters Written to Ms. Magazine in the 1970s". Hyperallergic. 2018-09-14. Retrieved 2019-06-14.
  16. ^ "Yours in Sisterhood: The Film Connecting Feminists Through Vintage Letters to Ms. – Ms. Magazine". Retrieved 2019-06-14.
  17. ^ Fang, Marina (2018-06-18). "Modern Women Bring Voice To '70s Letters In An Inventive Documentary, Fusing Past With Present". HuffPost. Retrieved 2019-06-14.
  18. ^ Hornaday, Ann (June 14, 2018). "At this year's AFI Docs, torches and pitchforks give way to consensus and reconciliation". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 16, 2019.
  19. ^ Lusztig, Megan Moodie interviews Irene. "Handmade Feminism: Irene Lusztig's "Yours in Sisterhood"". Los Angeles Review of Books. Retrieved 2019-06-14.
  20. ^ "A Movie Uncovers Unpublished Letters Written to Ms. Magazine in the 1970s". Hyperallergic. 2018-09-14. Retrieved 2019-06-14.
  21. ^ "Yours in Sisterhood". Film Society of Lincoln Center. Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  22. ^ "Closing Night: THE MOTHERHOOD ARCHIVES". Flaherty. 2014-12-19. Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  23. ^ "Yours in Sisterhood | BAMPFA". Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  24. ^ "Yours in Sisterhood". BFI London Film Festival 2018. Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  25. ^ "Yours in Sisterhood". Hot Docs. Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  26. ^ "Reviews From the 2018 AFI DOCS Film Festival". Washington City Paper. Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  27. ^ "MIFF 2019 | Festival Archive 1952-2017". MIFF 2019. Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  28. ^ "Yours in Sisterhood". RIDM. Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  29. ^ "Irene Lusztig". Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. 2012-03-16. Retrieved 2019-06-14.
  30. ^ "Irene Lusztig | Film+Digital Media BA, PhD / MFA in Social Documentary Production at UC Santa Cruz". Retrieved 2018-11-12.
  31. ^ "Irene Lusztig". IMDb. Retrieved 2018-11-13.
  32. ^ "Komsomol Films Projects ~ Komsomol Films". Retrieved 2019-06-14.

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