This film is courageous and insightful. It explores the delicate and complex relationship between mothers and daughters in way that shines light on the shadows and unseen threads that bind us to our mothers. It made me think deeply about my own relationship with my mother and about the powerful roles that mother’s play in the identity and sense of self we develop as young adults. I commend the filmmaker’s bravery and tenacity in opening herself up as she made this film – the way in which the film allows you to enter the lives and hearts of these women is profoundly moving.
Carly Tanur, Director of Mamelani – NGO working with women and youth-at-risk
A gentle, beautiful film and even though it is about conflict it is a wonderful affirmation of parenthood and the strange yet powerful bond between mothers and their children. The subtle move away from anger and conflict towards acceptance and understanding is beautifully handled, both in terms of the interviews and the imagery….I came away from the film marvelling at how we never stop learning as human beings, whether as children or as parents, that we are always capable of change and growth, whatever our age. A wonderful, important film – so many people will be changed by it.
Ceridwen Dovey, Author of ‘Blood Kin’
Utterly brilliant, I was moved to tears. The humility shown to all the mothers and the dignity the women show in themselves is so touching. An invaluable resource for expectant mothers.
Leila de Smidt, Pregnancy counsellor
Umbilical cords examines the subject of the gulfs (both literal and also of perception and world view) separating three pairs of daughters and mothers — and how they all deal with crossing that space — in a way which is at once thoughtful, raw, painful and tender… The film observes the painful process of the first realization of a parent as an individual who exists independently of — and perhaps contrary to — one’s own ideas of who she is or should be…I thought the treatment of the filmmaker’s story, and particularly her mother as a “whole human being”, was both so raw and hard but also so full of tenderness and love. Really beautifully pace with such a heartbreaking emotional pay off – very real life.
Lee Middleton, Journalist
I have carried with me this gem of a movie as it created a wonderful thought-provoking opportunity to consider these important relationships. All six women were so honest and created a rare insight into very private spaces. All six of you were so honest and created a rare insight into very private spaces – and I think it is a huge tribute to the filmmaker’s strength of character that she didn’t give up when the going got tough! My dream is to ask you if I may organise another showing in the same beautiful venue to which I will invite all my women friends and acquaintances– and my daughters. [audience member – mother]
I was really moved and inspired by the bravery and strength of the women in the film to not just have these conversations, but to share them with others. The narratives and stories of the six women are woven together so beautifully and sensitively that it is an absolute pleasure and privilege to watch the film! I watched it with my mum and it provided a very special opportunity to reflect and remind myself of how lucky I am to have the relationship I do with my mum, and how important it is to both recognize that and actively nurture it. [audience member – daughter]
Caroline and Anna Taylor
A beautiful and touching film. I was drawn to see it as I have had a very painful journey with my own mother in her accepting me, and I accepting her. The film touches on a universal theme, for even in healthy/supportive mother daughter relationships, there is a journey of separation when one’s each need to re-define their relationship as separate adults. The filmmaker held up a mirror to women like myself who have had this particular emotional journey. To see this mother/daughter story on film, though the lives are so diverse, really brought home to me how universal this issue is; spanning cultures, continents and generations. Your stories, which you have so generously and honestly offered, bring the viewer truly into the ‘sisterhood’ by saying, ‘you are not alone’, because at times, when in the thick of this particular conflict, one can feel very much alone…I am fascinated by the therapeutic possibilities for this film; how the process of making the film was therapeutic for all of you involved in it, and also for the possibilities of this type of film-making being used as a therapeutic process….You have touched me deeply and I am sure will touch all you see your film.
Nicole Levin, Children’s author and workshop facilitator
There is no doubt that it carries great impact in a gentle yet inexorable way and demands thought and engagement. I can imagine it being used to initiate dialogues with women of all ages. I am 62 years old – a mother and a daughter, yet I experienced myself mostly as a daughter as I watched the film. The mothers seemed to collectively represent my own mother and touched places of great discomfort in me – 45 years later! It was also good for me to hear the archetypical voice and love of a mother – saying ‘I did the best that I knew’. It softened my heart. I think that the documentary can be used to heal many places in mothers and daughters hearts – and they do not necessarily have to be together to do the work.
Maryse Barak, Director, Barak Learning and Development Consultants
I was deeply touched by ‘Umbilical Cords’. I felt that the filmmaker dealt with each mother and daughter so respectfully, and with such gentleness, and this delicacy was reflected in the care taken with the brilliant editing of this film. I want to honour each person who appears in this film – for their integrity and their courage – firstly to be able to explore painful feelings and experiences within themselves, and then to share their story with others. This film is about a core element of ourselves as human beings – as I believe that the relationship between a parent and child is one that profoundly affects our being and our life, beyond becoming an adult, and even beyond death. I have told everyone I meet that they have to see this film – there is no choice in my eyes – as it is a rare gift to benefit from the hard work that other people have done on themselves and their relationships.
Shira Jankelson-Groll, Counselor at The Parent Centre, Cape Town
‘Umbilical Cords’ is a brilliant exploration of the complex and deep relationship between mothers and daughters, addressing highly identifiable themes, wherever you are from, illustrated by three stories of different backgrounds, languages and issues. Insightful, open and funny without too much drama of “over-emotion” as women are often given. …Intimate as well and wonderful detail, the normal everyday with subtext. A challenging, funny and warm film, that left me thinking about it long after it was finished. It will help many women see their maternal relationships in a different light.
Natasha Dyer, KMF Scholarship Foundation
‘Umbilical Cords’ is an essential film that would appeal to a wide audience across gender, culture, ethnicity, and age. The film casts such a light touch on a primal concern; the relationship between mothers and daughters. But this is not just a film for women: the conflicts, ebb and flow of empathy between mothers and daughters are a prism through which the struggle for communication and understanding in a family reflects an universal and ancient story. Not only is this film of commercial value but would also be a valuable aid to any NGO or group working with conflict resolution in families. I commend the filmmaker for treating the subject matter with such delicacy and passion and know that the film will touch the hearts of many.
Heather Howe, Education Officer, Beauty Without Cruelty
Umbilical cords is a sensitive and skilful documentary illustrating the complexity of mother and daughter relationships. I was deeply moved by the challenges each relationship faced and how transformation is possible.
I believe this documentary to be a perfect tool for schools and universities, to encourage discussion and dialogue around their students own challenges.
Biata Walsh, Consent is Sexy Campaign
Watching this film gave me insight into my own relationship with my mother. The film allowed me to shed tears of gratitude for this connection but also tears of sadness for the severance and disconnection that is life.
Lisa Cohen, Parent-child workshop facilitator
Those in the behavior change or education fields will welcome it as a valuable tool in their work with addressing mother/daughter relationship issues, generational gender dynamics and adolescent/young adult paths. Many of the basic struggles are shown in the most real and direct way: traditional vs modern, cultural continuity, race/gender/generational expectations, language, family dynamics and more. The fact that the exploration is so personal, yet cuts across major boundaries (international, racial, cultural and more) will make this an easily adaptable resource, in short or longer clip form, to normalize family conflict and begin to open the way for coping and transformational strategies.
Rob McLeod, Learning to Lead Consultant and Facilitator
There is so much in this film. Talking and not burying. Confronting not hiding. Accepting. Recognizing differences. The threads the stories weave make it complete. Its just long enough to grip you and leave a mark. To me its symbolic it ended on those dunes. The wind shapes and shift them but in the end, the elements make them unique. Everyday. I guess life and relationships are like that.
Andre Le Grange, Business Development Consultant