My Mum Used to Call Me Sister

My Mum Used to Call Me Sister

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Award-winning photographer and author Sonia Marin has been capturing the cherished memories and life of her grandmother and mother over the past twenty years. This is a lifelong journey into retracing the steps that the women in Marin’s life have taken as they ventured from Italy to the United Kingdom and back. The photography book Twenty Weights, Please represents the pinnacle of this journey, along with an intimate short film shot by Vittoria Elena Simone, My Mum Used to Call Me Sister. Every aspect of this project has been lovingly nurtured and presented, allowing us to delve into the intricate narratives that transport us back to the vibrant 1950s through the director’s lens.

“My mum used to call me sister was born from my overpowering need to imagine and to tell: I remember at her place, between a cigarette and a cup of tea, how her tales from that past captured my imagination, I was fascinated and I really felt as if I had been there myself in those streets, in that factory and, under that damp sky… I could almost smell the air.
I interviewed my mother and I wanted her to remember as many details as possible, and her words took shape in precise and recurring images, simple moments of everyday life that returned like unexpected gifts, giving her a comforting smile. It is that sense of belonging that I wanted to resurface, a link with that precise moment, a homage to a past that reshapes and returns as a moment to contemplate.

As I showed my mom the project, I think she was moved. She paused for a moment; it certainly didn’t close the wounds, but it brought peace. Yet, the feeling of what could have been still lingers. This weighty inheritance passed down from my grandmother to my mother and now to me, serving as a reminder of missed opportunities and of the persistent longing to do something meaningful in life.

Even before working on this short film, the text included in the photography book related to this project speaks of a shirt that breathes when the wind occasionally touches it. And I realize that these images, notes, and reflections always return to my photography unconsciously. All narration lies in this – the presence and absence. The house may appear empty, yet there’s intangible energy persisting. It’s like a room filled with memories, a box within a box, each layer holding its own significance”

Directed by Sonia Marin (Italy)

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