28 Days Greater
"poetic, pragmatic, passionate"
"a resistance against the narratives of shame and weakness associated with the menstrual cycle"
28 Days Greater is a collection of 28 short films illuminating the powers of the menstrual cycle.
Created by Carolyn Defrin
Filmed + edited by Rosie Powell
Music by Callum Grant + special guests
Premiering at Camden Peoples' Theatre 'Calm Down, Dear!' Festival of Feminism
One film a day for 28 days
July 1-28, 2021
2. be with the pain
my eyes are adjusting
night stars way-finding in the dark
trying to give permission to fear less
the crown is intact though adrift
and she whispers:
be with the pain
do not numb
do not distract
do not loathe
rather hold this soft skins that protects
this blood full belly
that carries a different shade of pain and life
than the last time
6. swim up salmon
swim up salmon
wild in your red orange pink
propelled by nature to return home
arc your way elegantly in splash and circumference
with sky and sea
this pull is full
so effortless despite death's edges
and yet for now
the light of the sun
the water's currents
11. what do we see?
High Tide rising
what do we see?
with minds no longer set out to sea
but revered instead for how we see:
seizing and seething and seeing
with such sublime sensitivity
that they can only awe and envy
17. in the garden of fuck up and apology
i was trying to distinguish
my know better
i made you look small
not my best moment
deep deep deep down
i know my actions betrayed my words
my practice cancelled all of my preaching
and i was wrong
i was wrong
22. eat the whole thing
I’m snacking now
In a body of disembodied hands
Like the ‘thing’ from the Addams Family,
but there are many.
And not one is his beloved Lady Fingers
from episode 17
This is a different love affair
between hands and bowls and bags
insatiable crunching, crisping, cracking, slurping, stuffing, lip smacking
most conspicuous of consumptions
My hunger leaps to the bottom of the bowl and looks back at me
Liquid residue of soup’s last slurp
Rinses her eyes with a saline that clears the histories of guilt, and fear, and shame
Wind-shield wiping, she soothes:
For what’s to come won’t be easy
We meet in the brochure of 1958
the girl with the braids turns her head to us and she smiles this time
'Empty your pockets,'
'Then look from outside yourself.
Spin in an orbit and let go of what went wrong.
You can ride these strange fears until they spill downwards,
So that only the star dusted clutter
that serves you
need line your inseams
for the long-legged strides ahead.'
'Reset,' she says
"My period has mostly been an experience of hiding: hiding tampons, hiding pain, hiding emotions. All to ensure I wasn’t pinned as weak. Two years ago, I began reading the trending literature about menstrual power and suddenly felt like I was uncovering a secret code- a blueprint for empowerment that was in tune with the natural world.
Each film is a short audio-visual expression of the strengths I’ve begun to notice as I’ve charted my own cycle and listened more closely to my body. Talking with other women across age has furthered that sense of power as post-menopausal women expressed missing bleeding because it gave them a sense of ‘restart’ each month and newer menstruators shared their close attention to the need to rest and honour the pain, rather than ignore it. It’s also been important to me to talk with those across the gender spectrum to see how they relate to a female structure like the menstrual cycle since so often it is the other way around. Male friends who felt they shouldn’t ever ask opened up about their own emotional and physical cycles. One father shared his understanding of the power of bleeding as a life force- not something to shame- but rather uplift. Trans friends offered unique insight into hormonal impacts on their bodies and the ways in which that offers additional possibilities for existing beyond the linear view of patriarchal productivity.
My hope is that each film can illuminate a part of life as informed by the menstrual cycle, in a way that several people (whether they menstruate or not) can relate to. 28 DAYS GREATER is not a prescription, or an effort to portray every aspect of menstruation as positive; rather it’s an artistic expression of the value of each aspect. Rage needs its space as much as quiet as much as confidence. If we listen to our bodies and the natural world around us and allow ourselves to move through it all, regularly- we might be healthier for it. For me, the 28 artworks feel aspirational. I’m trying to listen to my body and answer its calls more and more- but it doesn’t come easily as I’ve been trained not to listen for so many years. Each cycle thus becomes a conscious effort. But I now see this as an opportunity each month, rather than a drag."
Created + produced by Carolyn Defrin
Filmed + edited by Rosie Powell
Music by Callum Grant
Additional music by Adeloa Yemitan, Kevin O'Donnell
Sound Mix by Rob Ackerman
Graphic Design by Mimmo Manes
Featuring performances by:
28 DAYS GREATER premiered at Camden Peoples' Theatre's 'Calm Down, Dear!' Festival of Feminism 2021
The films were released one day at a time.
1-28 July, 2021