Losing: A Conversation With The Parents

1977, 18:50 min, color, sound

This distanced narrative, which approximates a soap opera or a TV interview of bereaved relatives of a victim, confronts two means by which food is used as a weapon: the internalized oppression of self-starvation as a consequence of social learning (anorexia nervosa), and starvation because of poverty and economic domination. In a scenario that merges documentary elements and theatrical acting, an impossibly young couple is addressed by an unseen questioner. "Interviewed" in their plush living room, the parents struggle to make a connection between food and political oppression, moving from their confrontations with anorexia to starvation in Third World countries, where food is often a weapon of political subjugation. They juxtapose but never resolve these dual questions of power and powerlessness. Rosler exposes underlying social realities, from the family dynamics of lying and contradiction, to the phenomenon of dieting and starvation in the creation of an ideal female self in contemporary culture.

With: Susan Lewis, Peter Hackett. Video: Brian Connell. Post Production: John Baker.