Artifact

Mastectomy as sacrifice in documentary 'The Good Breast'

A statue of a cherub holds a platter with two amputated breasts on it

Image caption: A still from the film The Good Breast

Image credit: Bernadette Wegenstein

Filmmaker Bernadette Wegenstein, a Johns Hopkins research professor and founding director of the Center for Advanced Media Studies, visited the Festival of Saint Agatha in Catania, Sicily, for her new documentary, The Good Breast, from which this image comes.

A cartoon women sits in a stone room while winged breasts fly around her
Q+A
Saints, mastectomies, and the power of myth

A conversation with filmmaker Bernadette Wegenstein, whose documentary 'The Good Breast' offers an intimate look at surgical breast cancer interventions

The documentary examines mastectomy as a modern form of breast sacrifice, and the Saint Agatha festival celebrates the young Sicilian woman martyred in the third century for refusing the advances of the Roman prefect, who had her breasts cut off. Saint Agatha has become the patron saint of breast cancer patients, and Wegenstein is working on a Saint Agatha documentary titled Devoti Tutti.