Her Immigrant Story: ‘Mother Of Exiles’ Documentary Reveals Statue Of Liberty’s Little-Known History – Women You Should Know

What she represents is everything that has to be protected. Diane von Furstenberg

Shes celebrating her 133rd birthday on October 28. Shes the Mother of Exiles, one of Americas most iconic symbols, and an enduring beacon of hope to the worlds huddled masses, yearning to breathe free. Shes a colossus who stands 305 feet proud and tall. Shes the most photographed statue in the world, visited by over four million peopleannually. You know the Statue of Liberty, but do you know her story?

In the new HBO documentary Liberty: Mother of Exiles (view official film trailer above), award-winning directors Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbara reveal the statues unexpected history, following legendary fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg, a Belgian immigrant, daughter of a Holocaust survivor, and godmother of the new Statue of Liberty Museum, in her quest to discover how sculptor Frdric Auguste Bartholdis dream became a reality and what the statue has meant to generations of people worldwide.

Film synopsis via HBO, Like most Americans, Lady Liberty has its own immigrant story, and over the course of the film, von Furstenberg, who came to the U.S. from Belgium, reveals how intimately connected her background is with the statue. Her admiration for Lady Liberty began with her mother, who gave birth to Diane after surviving the Auschwitz labor camps and often called her daughter her torch of freedom. The fashion icon has long admired the 305-foot, toga-wearing statues strength and femininity and recalls first seeing Lady Liberty when she arrived in New York by boat in the 1970s.

The film follows von Furstenberg on her journey towards discovery, reading French sculptor Frdric Auguste Bartholdis diaries, and traveling to France to meet with descendants of douard de Laboulaye, who inspired Bartholdi to build the statue, and Gustave Eiffel, who designed its metal framework.

The ways in which the statues existence affects Americans is palpable through encounters with dozens of people, like those von Furstenberg spoke to, who share a connection to the colossal figure. From street artists to factory workers, the films robust cast of characters include a French metal artisan who came to America to work on the restoration of the statue in the 1980s and never left, workers in China who make the souvenir statues found in gift shops all over the world, a Russian graffiti artist whose street art prominently features the statue, and families who lived on the island for years until their homes were destroyed by Hurricane Sandy all underscoring von Furstenbergs notion that Lady Liberty belongs to everyone, as well as Bartholdis own idea that the statue should represent the unity of [hu]mankind.

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Her Immigrant Story: 'Mother Of Exiles' Documentary Reveals Statue Of Liberty's Little-Known History - Women You Should Know

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