Martha and Ethel

Martha&EthelCover_lgMartha and Ethel

This unique film, made by two adult women who trace the lives of the two nannies that raised them, explores the impact each had on the family she joined. Martha, a German immigrant trained in a strict school for nannies, came to work for the Johnstones, while Ethel, a sympathetic and kind woman from the segregated South, went to work for the Ettingers. Both Martha and Ethel are enigmatic and powerful women, and the influence each had on the children she raised cannot be overstated. While Martha played the strict disciplinarian, in her old age the truth is somewhat different: she is beloved by her former charges, and mellows into a kind and feisty grandmother-type. Ethel Edwards, the black woman who raised Barbara Ettinger and continues to live with Barbara’s mother, is perhaps the most fascinating character in the documentary. Her return to her hometown after decades away is moving, and her humor and vigor are inspiring. This is a classic documentary; tracing the roots of family, the impact of childhood, and how we all can age with grace. (Not Rated)

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