First Communion
TitleFirst Communion
DirectorMartine Thoquenne
CountryUK
Year1986
Duration13mins
Format16mm, Umatic video
DescriptionIncest has been a primary cause of mental breakdown in girls and women, not only through the act itself but also because of the sexual guilt - defined in religious terms as inherent in women, since Eve 'tempted' Adam - enforcing, through fear, an oppression of silence. First Communion pieces together a montage of images and memories. Bride-like girls shrouded in white, heads covered, uniformed majorettes and an ever-present dour priest, brandishing the symbol of the cross, are seen as the voice of a young girl reads letters to her mother in which she tries to articulate her experience of incest. Her confessional tone merges with images of Catholic ritual, remarking upon the power and influence of religious mystification over young girls. As the girls light the candles, the penitence chant becomes distorted and mesmeric; the words 'sinned', 'isolation', 'shame', 'and guilt', 'nightmare' is spoken again and again.