Primal Scenes (1980)

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Primal Scenes is one among the many of Linda Montano's important video works. In this video, a loop of a home movie birth plays while a woman reads, in voice over, an erotic tale of a nun's sexual awakening. Each element defines a different pole of sexuality -- the home movie, familial, and the voice over, transgressive. Each, however, draws the other towards itself, pushing the home movie towards pornography and the narration towards a joyful sexual exploration. The distance between sound and image, and this magnetic attraction, creates an interesting type of reality effect. It is, then, also an interesting exploration of a woman's consciousness and sexuality and of her roles as mother and lover in the moments of sex and birth. A critical early feminist video work.