From as far back as she can remember, Emmy award-winning filmmaker Gayle Kirschenbaum's relationship with her mother was, "not good."
She grew up the only daughter of a glamorous mother. Kirschenbaum lived in fear of her mother's punishment, and had perpetual headaches and dizzy spells. Her film, "Look at Us Now, Mother," cobbles together old pictures and movies to tell the story of their relationship, which Kirschenbaum said was filled with shame and humiliation early on.
Kirschenbaum says by the time she hit middle age, her mother had been bugging her to get a nose job for decades. So she agreed to consult with plastic surgeons, so long as her mother would allow her to take along a camera crew.
That little film, she said, transformed her life. Because at film screenings people would line up to say things like, "Don't change your nose," "I hate your mother," and then they would regale her with their own stories of family trauma.
That experience lead Kirschenbaum to create "Seven Healing Tools" to help others transform abusive relationships. You can find out more about that here.
The turning point in her relationship with her mother came after she dug into her mother's past and found all sorts of things, skeletons in her closet and terrible hurt that she had experienced.
Ultimately, Kirschenbaum came to look at her mother as a wounded child, which she herself was and now the two are close friends. Both Gayle Kirschenbaum and her mother Mildred will attend the world premiere of "Look at Us Now, Mother" this Saturday.