The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


Filmmaker Michelle Citron screens film, “Daughter Rite,” at Chatham University

On Friday, November 7, in Chatham University’s Sanger Hall; faculty, alumnae, students, and film enthusiasts came to Chatham to watch a film about a common theme: resenting one’s mother.

Viewers watched “Daughter Rite,” a documentary-style movie that explores the complexities of the mother-daughter relationship. Although it was released in 1980, “Daughter Rite” is in many ways timeless as director Michelle Citron forces viewers to acknowledge the often painful difference between the relationships we see in photo albums and videos and relationships as they are in real life; through home movies, actors, and narration.

The event began with cookies, coffee, and a heartfelt introduction by Program Director, professor, and filmmaker Prajna Parasher–who was herself mentored and taught by Dr. Citron at Northwestern University.

The event was co-sponsored by the Pittsburgh Psychoanalytic Center, Three Rivers Film Festival, and Pittsburgh Filmmakers.

After the film, while the film’s director was in the room, University of Pittsburgh’s Jane Feuer and psychoanalyst Christine Fischetti analyzed the themes of the film for those in attendance. They critiqued and analyzed the symbolism, use of feminism, and artistic liberties within the film; and they posed the question of why fathers typically aren’t the subject of their children’s anger.

The audience, after viewing the film, heard Citron herself speak about her motivations and inspirations behind making the film so many years ago.

Dr. Citron is a professor, filmmaker, and author. Part of her inspiration was her own experience after receiving her own family’s home videos.

“The family on the screen had nothing to do with the family in real life,” she said.

“Daughter Rite” is told from the perspective of daughters. It is narrated by a nameless and never seen twenty-eight year old woman who is torn between her fear of becoming her mother and pitying her mother.

Whilst hearing the narrator’s story, the stories of two sisters, Stephanie and Maggie, are also told. These two young women are taking care of their ailing mother could be seen as representative of the different kinds of relationships that daughters can have with their mothers. In the in film, everything that is usually avoided in family conversation is discussed: incest, anger, resentment, financial difficulties, and death.

In addition to “Daughter Rite,” Dr. Citron shared other films she has created. Most of Citron’s films explore the lives of women. One was an interactive narrative about lesbians and their lives at different points and times.

Another titled “Leftovers,” is the story of a lesbian couple who spent majority of their relationship in the closet until (at years apart) their ultimate deaths.The story is told from the perspective of their caretaker.

Following the viewings there was a discussion about the films between the filmmaker and audience. Some audience members shared their own experiences because of the very realistic events in the films. Citron herself shared the autobiographical aspects that went into her films along with extensive research. After questions, laughter, and applause Michelle Citron and Professor Parasher bid the audience goodnight and left them to ponder the things they had seen.

Some of Citron’s works are available for viewing on her website:

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