[Desire: Julie’s Mother 3]

Videomaker Julie Gustafson and her teenaged subject/collaborator Cassandra Swaing record a conversation between Julie and her mother after showing her footage from the documentary Desire in which Julie discusses her own life, including her marriage and her abortions.

00:35Copy video clip URL Julie expresses dissatisfaction at the gulf between the silence regarding the subject of sexuality in their home and the stream of sexualized images in the culture. 

01:09Copy video clip URL Julie’s mother says that her husband was very loving, and that Julie’s ideas about him are distorted. She tells Julie that she would not have noticed that aspect of their relationship because Julie was “so busy with [her] own little self.”

02:22Copy video clip URL Julie remembers her father as domineering, angry, and quick to punishment. She objects to being called “self-absorbed” by her mother because she was simply trying to escape an abusive environment, and that she still cared for her mother and her siblings. She tells her mother that she probably should have gotten a divorce. 

05:26Copy video clip URL Julie and her mother discuss forgiveness: “I don’t forgive Daddy but I do forgive you.” She reiterates that her father was neglectful and an emotionally abusive authoritarian. Her mother understands but thinks that it’s bad for Julie’s wellbeing not to move on. 

10:14Copy video clip URL Julie emphasizes that she understands and forgives her mother for anything from her childhood. Her mother tells her that she always saw Julie as someone who would protect her if it was needed, but that she should try not to hold on to old wounds. Julie says that her way is not to forget but to make something out of it. Her mother worries that Julie’s grievance will affect her children.

15:01Copy video clip URL Julie’s mother talks about meeting and falling in love with her husband. She knew early on that her choice to marry him was a bad one. She discusses what dating was like before she got married.

21:38Copy video clip URL Julie’s mother says that if she were young today she would not get married. She would even rather have a child alone. Not marrying was not considered to be an option in her youth, however. 

24:11Copy video clip URL Julie’s mother reveals that she’d asked for a divorce and that her husband threatened to take the kids and remarried if she left him. She says that she felt “nothing but relief when he died,” although that made her feel guilty.

26:57Copy video clip URL Cassandra asks Julie’s mother if her husband had been nicer to her before they had children. She says that he had not. 

28:50Copy video clip URL Julie and her mother discuss whether her husband had been disappointed that his children were all girls.

 

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