Joyce At 34
USA, 1973, 28'
The birth of her daughter Sarah in 1971 gave the director the chance to initiate a transgenerational reflection on the conflicts between motherhood and career in the life of women. Over the weeks following her comeback from the hospital, she describes the constant presence of the baby as the days go by and admits to the need of getting away from the child to shoot a film. Her husband, screenwriter Tom Cole, equally complains about how difficult it is to conciliate domestic chores with professional activity.
Chopra tackles the problematic aspects of striving to make marriage an really equal partnership and exposes traditional prejudices around the role of women by making a surprising analytical use of home movies: from footage of her bachelorette party to the debate in a group of elderly retired teachers – including her mother – who recall their fights to find a work-family balance amid rampant discrimination at the time of the Great Depression. A film sustained by vigorous dialectics, as much in style as in substance, and a crucial forerunner for generations of first-person filmmakers, regardless of gender.