Litany for Survival: The Life and Work of Audre Lorde

USA, 1995, colour, 90 min
Tribute to Audre Lorde

“I have come to believe over and over again, that what is most  important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at  the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood.... My silences had not  protected me. Your silence will not protect you.... and while we wait in silence for that final luxury of fearlessness, the weight of that silence will choke us. The fact that we are here and that I speak these words is an attempt to break that silence and bridge some of those differences between us, for it is not difference which immobilizes us, but silence. And there are so many silences to be broken.”

Audre Lorde (The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action, Sister Outsider). This quote of the visionary activist and gifted poet Audre Lorde (1934–1992, USA) stands in many respects for her entire work. Seeking to give voice to those who have been displaced, silenced and marginalized as “The Others”, she celebrated the multiple differences between us as “this raw and powerful connection from which our personal power forged.” Lorde refused “to be circumscribed by any simple identity“ and wrote, as her famous colleague and poet Adrienne Rich stated, “as a BLACK woman, a mother, a daughter, a LESBIAN, a feminist and a VISIONARY”. Thereby she created “poems of elemental wildness and healing, nightmare and lucidity.” Her award-winning poems, essays and novels, written in a stunning figurative language, speak of racism in North-America, of sexism among African Americans, of lesbians and love. Some of her most celebrated collections of poetry and prose are: From A Land Where Other People Live (1972), The Black Unicorn (1978), Our Dead Behind Us (1986), The Cancer Journals (1980), Zami: A New Spelling of My Name (1982) and Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches (1984).
Through her confrontations and dissections of all forms of prejudice, she had a profound influence on the many communities to which she belonged: queer, Afro-American, Afro-Caribbean, feminist, and others. She worked intensively with women of colour in many different countries and was founder of Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press, which publishes and distributes exclusively works of women of colour from various communities. Audre Lorde was above all a charismatic, inspiring person. She was a dynamic force, a devoted professor and teacher, and an important role model for younger generations and those to come. We were particularly keen to have her “present” at this year’s City of Women, since in many respects she was the predecessor and pioneering force for several of the artists included in this year’s programme. She is a constant source of inspiration: “The work of the poet within each one of us is to envision what has not yet been and to work with every fibre of who we are to make the reality and pursuit of those visions irresistible”. For the documentary A Litany For Survival - The Life and Work of Audre Lorde co-directors Ada Gay Griffin and Michelle Parkerson worked for eight years in close collaboration with Lorde to weave together a richly textured portrait of a gifted, strong-willed woman who embraced life’s moments and focused her energies on fighting for civil justice, women’s equality and lesbian and gay rights. This moving film depicts Lorde’s life, from her childhood roots in New York’s Harlem to her battle with breast cancer. A Litany For Survival (named after one of her poems) features interviews with many of her fellow poets and activists, including Adrienne Rich, Sapphire, and Sonia Sanchez, all of whom pay tribute to Lorde’s impact as a mentor and inspirational force. “Audre Lorde has been a pioneer in making available her voice as a teacher, a survivor, an activist, and a crusader against bigotry,” says filmmaker Ada Gay Griffin. In 1995 the film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. The European premiere took place at the 45th International Berlin Film Festival.

Tribute to Audre Lorde:
Litany for Survival: The Life and Work of Audre Lorde
by: Ada Gay Griffin and Michelle Parkerson.
Third World Newsreel:

A selection of private photos from Dagmar Schultz, Alice-Salomon-Fachhochschule Berlin, Founder and Director of the women’s publishing house Orlanda (Germany).


Date and time of event: 
Oct 11th 18:00
Place of event: 
Slovenska kinoteka