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WSJ calls Martha & Ethel “a powerfully absorbing film”

From the Wall Street Journal:

“…the two have produced a powerfully absorbing film. On one level, “Martha & Ethel” is a piece of American social history that weaves interviews, family photographs and archival footage for a penetrating look at class and family. On another, it’s an intensely personal document: a struggle to make sense of a pair of gilded and apparently unhappy childhoods.”

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“A stirring exploration of individual relationships”

From the LA Village View:

“The family is the perennial site of neurotic conflict and artistic examination, the very font of who we are and why we are that way. Jyll Johnstone and Barbara Ettinger’s Martha and Ethel is a brave attempt at examining such material, a foray into a developing genre: the personal, almost diaristic documentary. It is a stirring exploration of individual relationships and private memory, sure to strike chords in almost every viewer.”

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“Martha & Ethel embodies a universal dimension”

variety

From Variety:

“Highly personal and original, “Martha & Ethel” deals with a subject rarely seen onscreen before: nannies and their long-lasting influence on the children they raise. Criss-crossing the paths of the filmmakers’ own nannies, a German-Catholic and a Southern black woman, this remarkable docu provides a piercing yet subtle look at the inner workings of two families as they change over five decades of American history and politics.”

Read the full review at Variety.com

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Avenue Magazine: A Tale of Two Nannies

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“When Ettinger and Johnstone began their film odyssey in 1989, neither dreamed their home-movie homage to their nannies, Martha Kneifel and Ethel Edwards, would blossom into a feature-length documentary that would set the 1994 Sundance Film Festival abuzz, win the audience award for best documentary at the October Hamptons International Film Festival, or be screened at the Museum of Modern Art’s contributors’ dinner next month.”