Martha & Ethel

An interesting, if somewhat class-bound, documentary (1994) by Jyll Johnstone and Barbara Ettinger about two nannies, one of them an exile from Nazi Germany, the other a black woman from the rural south. Intelligent, searching, and often touching, the film still suffers from a certain distance from and condescension toward its subjects, though it remains fascinating in spite of these limitations. As critic Georgia Brown points out, the film can be read as a scathing critique of the mothers the nannies replaced. (JR)

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