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Breasts: A Documentary (1996)

Twenty-two women (ranging in age from 11 to 84), with 41 breasts, talk about their breasts; most are topless as they speak. They talk about adolescence, bras, commercial images of women's ... See full summary »

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Twenty-two women (ranging in age from 11 to 84), with 41 breasts, talk about their breasts; most are topless as they speak. They talk about adolescence, bras, commercial images of women's figures, having implants or, in one case, a breast reduction, health problems with silicone, doctors' exams ("I think you have a throat infection, let me examine your breasts"), breasts as power tools and as objects of pleasure, cancer, living with mastectomies, and the effects of time and gravity. Two mother-daughter teams and two strippers participate. The women (and the girls) are humorous, straightforward, reflective, and good-natured about their bodies and themselves. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Followed by Private Dicks: Men Exposed (1999) See more »

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An intimate glance into female body image
20 February 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The hour-long documentary Breasts directed by Meema Spadola (who also made a film called Private Dicks: Men Exposed) is a great resource for open dialogue about female bodies, specifically, breasts. Composed of a range of viewpoints--large and small, young and old--the film allows the women to talk about how they feel about their upper bodies and how breasts affect their interactions with the world. Although I am not sure I learned much from watching the film, it was refreshing to hear other opinions on breasts.

I watched the movie with a male friend of mine who I assumed wouldn't enjoy the film much, but afterward we talked a little bit about his experiences. The film was a good jumping off point for the two of us to discuss other body issues that women have and initiated a few questions about breasts and how women might feel about them. He thought, though, there could have been a larger diversity of breasts and viewpoints and that by limiting the film to 22 voices, many of whom are only shown in specific segments, there were a lot of perspectives excluded.

I thought the film attempted to show women from various walks of life, but it is true that many of my own feelings about breasts were not echoed in what the women on-screen were saying. I did particularly enjoy the mother-daughter pairs who appeared together and discussed not only their own bodies but their feelings about each other's bodies. I think these scenes revealed a lot about how women feel about the bodies of those around them. I also particularly enjoyed the historic clips that were interspersed throughout the interviews because they did a lot to show different ways in which breasts have been depicted over time as well as kept the tone of the film lively.

One issue I did have is that the film raised the question of the power of breasts, something my male friend immediately picked up on and was joking about, without doing much to provide an answer. None of the women really were able to describe the power of having breasts in a clear manner. Instead, it came off as a vague and questionable notion. I would have liked to have seen a few more academic and scientific voices in the mix that could have possibly explained things like biological reasons for the power of breasts and sociological and psychological points of interest. However, as a film that provides a frank glance at what some women think about their breasts, I thought this film was worth seeing. Only an hour long, it easily held my attention and I was disappointed when it was over.

Even though many women assume that they are the target audience, I think this film is particularly appropriate for men. It allows them an opportunity to see women's bodies through the eyes of the women they belong to and to understand a little about what breasts mean to those of us who have them. I also thought the film would be an excellent resource for women with questions about body image who might need some reassurance that the way they feel about their breasts is completely normal.


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