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WARNING: May Cause Dizziness
The Italian television series My Brilliant Friend (adaptation of Elena Ferrante's four-volume L'amica geniale), and Maggie Gyllenhaal's debut film The Lost Daughter (based on Elena Ferrante's La figlia oscura) powerfully convey the ambivalences of motherhood and daughterhood. This video-essay highlights the net of intricate parallelisms, so well rendered in both works, that displace and disrupt patriarchal childcentrism and maternal effacement. If mothers have power and control over their daughters —and dispose (or lose) them as dolls, daughters (and dolls) too have power and control over their mothers. Contrasting emotions (pleasure and irritation, delight and discomfort) flow and alternate in a spiral that evokes the imagery an Italian song from the late sixties, La bambola (the doll). As per its lyrics, if the doll is twirled and turned, tossed and thrown down, the doll is able to stand up again, and to defy traditional gender role expectations.
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