HIGH HEELS (1991), Pedro Almodovar’s sardonic melodrama, twists the relationship between a mother, her drag impersonator, and a daughter in love with both. A celebrated actress returns to her hometown to visit the daughter who she left years earlier. A maze of murder and maternal longing, what follows is an idiosyncratic, yet moving portrait of self and familial space.

A rumination of maternal and daughternal narratives, Mona Hatoum’s MEASURES OF DISTANCE (1988) very literally layers voices of a mother speaking to her daughter, a daughter translating her mother’s words, and actual text written over the conversations. Hatoum’s video masterwork addresses the isolationism of a daughter who was forced to leave Lebanon, and her Palestinian family, behind when war prevented Hatoum to return home from a trip to London.

Both portraits invert the selflessness of maternal melodramas for the disorienting role of daughters and mothers as individuals, not archetypes.

VIS-À-VIS is an ongoing program curated by Brenda Contreras and Navid Sinaki that pairs narrative works to present the dialogues and deviations when seemingly disparate styles are placed side by side and face to face.

Presented with the USC Hugh M. Hefner Moving Image Archive.

Doors at 7:30 pm. $5 suggested donation.

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