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The Good Breast
Directed by Bernadette Wegenstein
Produced by Elizabeth Karr, Rebecca Messner and Jon Reiss
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THE GOOD BREAST explores breast cancer as ritual, presenting today's rise of the mastectomy in the U.S. as a modern form of breast sacrifice.

The no-nonsense veteran breast cancer surgeon Dr. Lauren Schnaper believes that fear and ignorance are fueling an alarming rate of medically unnecessary mastectomies in America. But for the four women allowing us intimate access to their mastectomies and their individual and most personal breast reconstructions, their search for the "good breast" is a necessity. We witness the ups and downs of the women's breast loss and reconstructions, from the collateral damage of infected implants and dying flaps to a cosmetic nipple exchange, and a miraculous Lat Dorsi breast reconstruction.

film still

The film blends archival medical films and the history of the mastectomy since William S. Halsted with the surprising journey taken by Dr. Schnaper and her partner, the plastic surgeon Dr. Slezak, to Catania, Sicily, to experience Saint Agatha, the annual festival of the breast and third largest such celebration in the world. What the doctors learn about the Sicilian saint of the breast as an ancient symbol of female strength leads to a provocative connection between our contemporary American culture of the mastectomy and this ancient veneration of the breast.

The loss of the breast of each of our patient characters illustrates that the breast is far more than just an organ; but rather contains within it the history, suffering and power of female identity.

"Presenting the voices of women with breast cancer, their doctors, and their families, THE GOOD BREAST poignantly recounts the myriad different ways in which women equate femininity and their bodies with their sense of self." —Sujata Moorti, Director and Professor of Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies, Middlebury College

"Explores bodily, emotional, erotic, and psychic scars of the loss of the breast for breast cancer patients, their families, and communities, skillfully juxtaposing medical, scientific and religious myths regarding mastectomy in order to offer a brilliant diagnosis of personal and cultural imaginaries of female bodies… A remarkable work of great interests to feminist scholars, students, and activists." Professor Ewa Plonowska Ziarek, author of Feminist Aesthetics and the Politics of Modernism

“The personal stories are authentic and illuminated the complexity of medical decision-making. I loved the main doctor as a primary character and the diversity of stories among the diagnosed." Gayle Sulik, author of Pink Ribbon Blues

2019 Border Scene Film Festival
Shanghai Jiao Tong University
2017 Vermont Women's Film Festival
2016 Bentonville Film Festival
2016 High Falls Film Festival
Collège de France, Paris
Milken Institute of Public Health
University of Heidelberg
Sigmund Freud University, Vienna
Cambridge University

94 minutes / Color
Closed Captioned
Release: 2016
Copyright: 2016

For individual consumers (home video)

This DVD is sold for private, home use only.

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For colleges, universities, government agencies, hospitals and corporations

This DVD is sold with a license for institutional use and Public Performance rights.

Subject areas:
Fanlight Collection, Health Issues, Health Care Issues, Women's Health, Women's Studies

Watch the trailer:

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