Sex in a Cold Climate (1998)
In 1998, Testimony Films released the documentary Sex in a Cold Climate, which reported the true stories of four survivors from the Magdalene asylums in Ireland in the twentieth century. Magdalene asylums, also called Magdalene laundries and homes, were institutions of the Catholic Church that sought to reform women engaged in prostitution and those who birthed children out of wedlock by forcing the women to do hard labor. Directed by Steve Humphries, the documentary interlocks four survivors’ stories of how they came to inhabit a Magdalene asylum, what occurred to them there, and how they eventually freed themselves. An Irish film festival first screened the documentary, which became the inspiration for the 2002 film, The Magdalene Sisters. Sex in a Cold Climate brought attention to the stories of women who survived Magdalene asylums, which prompted additional research and eventual justice for many of the women.