By Jean Lotus
Hatboxes, a film produced last year by Forest Park resident Etta Worthington, will make an appearance at the Chicago International REEL Shorts Film Festival Sept. 15.
The film was shot last summer in the Andersonville neighborhood.
The story explores both lesbian and Jewish themes as a secular Jewish lesbian lawyer meets a recently divorced Orthodox Jewish mother who makes her living as a milliner –creating hats – an ancient career path for Jewish women.
The story shows a moment of vulnerability for both women – one a secular Jew who wonders what she's missing by ignoring the traditions of her faith, and one who is thrown into a new life as a divorcee. As the breakup of her marriage finally sinks in with the Orthodox single mother, she invites the secular lawyer – a colleague of her husband's – to Sabbath dinner with herself and her children, exposing a stranger to the intimacy of her family life.
"Hatboxes captures a moment of longing that isn't necessarily going to work out," Worthington told the Review.
Because it's a short piece, writer/director Susana Darwin leaves it up in the air whether a relationship between the two will develop.
Worthington was intrigued by the film because of its literary themes.
"Even though I'm not Jewish I understood that this is a thoughtful film with a literary quality."
Worthington teaches script-writing at Columbia College and produces the Foodgasm, an Internet cooking series with her daughter, Ashley Simone. She also produced and starred in a film last year called "50 at 50" where she documented herself trying 50 new things in her 50th year.
"Hatboxes" will be screened at 11:30 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 15, at Film Row Cinema (Columbia College), 1104 South Wabash in Chicago. Tickets are $10.