In the folds of ancient fabrics, Dowry finds a woman's stories of sexuality, birth, and death, grounded in war and immigration.

Dowry movie poster

Premieres Sunday Oct. 23 2022 2:30pm
Twin Cities Film Fest

Synopsis

The three Greek fates, granddaughters of Kronos (Time), spin the threads of life, their weaving a metaphor for the intersection of the people, places and circumstances that construct a human story, a destiny.

To open the dowry trunk of three generations of Greek women is to go back in time through an archive of fiber arts--heirloom lace, woven embroidery, hand sewn dresses. The fibers of each dress, curtain and tablecloth are interwoven with the threads of sexuality, birth, world war, civil war and immigration: threads woven by the hands of women, threads that give voice to their stories.

The film celebrates a woman at her loom producing the materials that make a home and mark the milestones in her life. In the current era this personal, gendered space is rendered irrelevant, replaced by industrial mass production. Dowry is narrated by the elder who witnessed these lives and learned the stories of these women, and who is herself a woman at the intersection of a history almost lost, almost forgotten.

Making the Film

Director Alice Gebura
Director Alice Gebura

Tess and I had decided to create a photographic archive of these fabric art treasures from her family, many almost a century old. During the process as Tess brought out each piece, she would tell a story about its making, about the person who made it, about the community or family traditions surrounding it. She became very emotional as the past came alive for her and for me, too.

On one level we appreciate the craftsmanship and beauty in the needlework and weaving. On another level we are fascinated by how past generations lived. More deeply, we recognize that these are not simply objects; they are the bearers of personal stories and are imbued with the pathos of these stories. And so this project morphed from studio photography to making a film. The interviews with Tess were extensive. The difficulty was in the editing and making decisions about what to cut. What made it all right was the knowledge that Tess is writing a memoir that will capture all the nuances and in-depth histories alluded to in the film.

Credits

Produced and Directed by Alice Gebura
Narrated by Dr. Tess Galati
Sound Score by Alice Gebura

Contact

Alice Gebura, alice@smartalicewebdesign.com

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