To The Other Shore is a deeply personal study of motherhood as a ‘rite of passage’. It interweaves moments from the filmmaker’s childhood, family life and psychotherapy with world events, including the Holocaust, the Vietnam War and the Chernobyl nuclear accident, to evoke the complex inner world of maternal experience.
Grethel’s tale from the fairy story Hansel and Grethel juxtaposes the personal story with a mythical exploration of freedom and individual responsibility. To The Other Shore dissolves the boundaries between public and private history. It is a contemplative work, acknowledging German filmmaker Syberberg’s maxim that ‘the issue is to mourn through art’.
The film is a multi-faceted tapestry of original dramatisations, music, poems and excerpts from international and local films, including Eva Braun’s home movies, Teshigahara’s Woman of the Dunes, Greenaway’s The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover, Freeman’s The Letters of Sylvia Plath, the filmmaker’s home movies and her award-winning diary film Maidens and co-directed feature documentary For Love or Money: A History of Women and Work in Australia.