Tag: adoption


One Child Nation

November 17th, 2019 — 10:57pm

 

***

One Child Nation-  amazon

In 1979, the Chinese government came to the conclusion that if they did not make some radical changes, the next generation’s population would grow enormously. 

They believed that the population would be in the billions and would lead to widespread starvation and be very difficult to manage. Therefore the Chinese government instituted a mandatory one child policy, which was widely publicized and became the “patriotic approach” expected from every Chinese family. Those who disobeyed this dictum and had a second child would be severely punished sometimes by having their home destroyed. Midwives not only performed numerous sterilization procedures and abortions but also at times had to kill newborns who were second children. This policy continued for 25 years before it was finally changed allowing a second child.

Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang directed this documentary film. Much of it was in Chinese with subtitles. It captures and personalizes the impact of this all encompassing social policy. Through interviews with various Chinese people, the viewer can appreciate the very personal meaning of being deprived of the ability to have a second child if one wanted one. Family dynamics are examined especially in some settings where there might be a desire to have a boy and the first child was a girl. The newborn and the very young were abandoned in the streets. There was human trafficking where children were sold to adoption agencies. Many of these children were internationally adopted and ended up in American homes where the adopted parents were not told the true story of their newly adopted child. There also is the story of the search by adopted Chinese children growing up in America who might be interested in finding their birth families.

This film deals with these complicated issues, which have political, social, as well as emotional implications. You come away from this documentary film educated and also moved by the human implications of what you have seen and experienced. (2019)

 

As always your comments are welcome below:

 

 

1 comment » | 3 Stars, Documentary, Foreign, Politics

Philomena

December 1st, 2013 — 10:03pm

****

Philomena – -3AFK1iDRtELTlxSYYgUheuoNmlRg11SirBnxw1spPp4NPNAq9VpIo4q-zHQScGPUxtwElY=s85 Early in the film we learn that Martin Sixsmith  (Steven Coogan), a former journalist, has lost his job as a Labor government (British) advisor and decided to meet Philomena ( Judy Dench) an elderly woman who as a teenager had an out of wedlock child at a convent and saw that child taken away for adoption. In her later years she unsuccessfully tried to find out what happened to him and never stopped thinking about him even after she became a mother and grandmother. She agrees to let Sixsmith help her try to find her, long lost but never forgotten, son and write a human interest story about this situation.  

The film is based on a non-fiction book The Lost Child of Philomena Lee by the real Sixsmith which documents the journey of this unlikely pair. This movie about this human trauma was directed by Stephen Frears with a screenplay by lead actor Coogan and Jeff Pope. It takes a hard look at the attitude of the Catholic Church towards unwed mothers (at least in Ireland 50 years ago but which may not have completely changed today.) It pulls no punches in showing the cruel treatment of the unwed mothers who had to work in oppressive conditions  for a few years in return for having had their  child delivered and cared for by the nuns in the convent, only to see their little one sold to rich Americans who were looking to adopt a child. The details of the destiny of the children were hidden from the mothers and attempts to later trace them were covered up with lies and deception. There is an attempt at some balance by showing the contrasting lack of religious faith by the journalist compared to the almost all forgiving faith of Philomena but in the end the Church does not look very good.

The movie also reminds us of the painful discrimination towards people with HIV disease which existed in the United States, especially in the 1980s. Both Coogan and Dench are excellent as they convey their subtle emotions and the grand lady of theatre and film may be up for another of her many awards. The storyline of this film also deals with a psychological topic that one of us (MB) has been interested in from a clinical point of view as well as how it has been depicted in various movies. Lost or hidden family members is the subject and the incessant drive to find that person where the emotional connection is intensely built on the biological connection even  when the life experience together has been very little or even absent. Some of the recent movies which we have reviewed on this subject have been The Kids Are All RightPeople Like Us, Stories We Tell, Admissions   and Mother and Child. MB has also written about this with case examples in a blog titled PsychiatryTalk.com  which you can click here to view. This very fine film is not only another example of this phenomena but also stands on it’s own as a compelling dramatic production, (2013)

 

1 comment » | 4 Stars, Drama

Admission

March 21st, 2013 — 5:02pm

****images

Admission –sp   When a movie starts with Tina Fey playing an Assistant Dean of Admissions at Princeton  and Paul Rudd as a teacher bent on getting one of his students accepted who has poor grades but near perfect scores on all the tests, you might imagine we are going to see a great comedy and satire of the whole admissions process. And that it was. Who among you is not familiar with dance of students, their parents and their counselors as they try to present the applicant in his or her best light whether it be some special kindergarten class, school or class for “ the gifted”, most private schools and “ the best college” possible.  When it is a Princeton multiply the frenzy by at least ten. Add to this mix the unforgettable character actor Wallace Shawn as the Dean of Admissions and Lily Tomlin playing the feminist mother of Tina Fey’s character with a tattoo on her arm saying “ Bella” (Abzug we presume). But actually the film was much more than a satiric comedy. It very poignantly dealt with issues of children out of wedlock , wanted and unwanted. It examined how people establish relationships, fall in and out of love and how parents sometimes have to choose a path which may be best for themselves or their child.

One of us writes a blog on psychiatry and mental health topics. The most popular piece by far in regard to readership in the past three years was one on the topic of unknown family members. It discussed the need to find a biological parent and how people respond when they meet a previously unknown parent or child. This topic has been the subject of other films in the recent past and was one of the central themes of this movie. Director and Producer Paul Weitz who is an  unlisted script contributor, along with Karen Croner who  wrote the screen play,  very skillfully and successfully weaved comedy and satire at the same time that they presented a very sensitive study of these real human conflicts.(2013)

Comment » | 4 Stars, Comedy, Romance

Any Day Now

December 25th, 2012 — 1:07am

***
Any Day now

Any Day Now- rm   This film clearly highlights the homophobia.and the discrimination against  gays in the 1970s which unfortunately still lingers in our modern society. The story which supposedly is inspired from a real life situation tells of a gay couple that wants to adopt an abandoned child with Downs Syndrome. The reaction of the legal system , specifically the judges interpretation of the law reflects the cruel bias of much of society which in this case deprived a child, who nobody else wanted from being cared for by a loving responsible couple. The film was a tour  de force for Alan Cumming, currently well known for his role as a political consultant  in the television series The Good Wife. He plays Rudy Donatello a flamboyant female impersonator who displays great sensitivity, anger, a great sense of humor and also shows that he is a talented singer. The film is directed by Travis Fine who co wrote the script with Arthur Bloom. Garrett Dillahunt plays Paul Fleiger, a quiet laid back recently divorced lawyer who works in the DA’s office and falls in love with Rudy during his first outing and their first meeting. Isaac Leyva realistically portrays Marco,   the child with Down’s Syndrome, who says few words and is usually happy except when he realizes he is being abandoned. While the film makes the social and political points that are certainly worth making, there is something to be desired in the contrived story line even if based on reality. We see the unlikely couple falling in love although we don’t really get a glimpse at their chemistry. We also don’t initially see what draws them to this child other than our inference that he is misunderstood and treated unfairly as they are also being treated by society. The film is good enough to stir people up about the injustice portrayed and the variations on it that are still around us. (2012)

Comment » | 3 Stars, Drama

Mother and Child

September 8th, 2010 — 12:52pm

Mother and Child* * * *
Mother and Child
– sp – Over the years I have either personally known people or treated individuals in therapy who yearned for a connection with a biological parent whom they never knew. Some actually had the opportunity for such meeting in their adult life. They were able to tell quite remarkable stories of this reunion of the adopted child and the biological parent which often involved meeting other relatives. Screenwriter and Director Rogrigo Garcia had been working on a movie script on this subject for over ten years. He used his penchant for being able to tell multiple stories which effectively blend together as well as his skill in creating rich woman characters. The result is an interesting film which examines many facets of the emotional experience of giving up or not giving up a a new born for adoption as well as the long term impact on mother and child when the two do separate. The story originally centers on Karen (Annette Bening) who at the age of 14 gave up daughter for adoption 34 years previously . However, her phantasies about the daughter are never far from her mind. The daughter Elizabeth (Naomi Watts) is self motivated successful attorney with no intention of every settling down with a man although she freely seduces them. She seems embittered by the fact that her own biological mother never tracked her down. Lucy (Kerry Washington) rounds out the trio of the main women characters and is a woman determined to adopt a child so she and her husband can have a family. The study of the mother child relationships is complimented by the mothers of Karen and especially that of Lucy (Epatha Merkerson) . Samuel Jackson and Jimmy Smits play parts contrary to their often tough guy roles as in this case they are sensitive caring men. The evolution of the characters and the depth of their emotions experienced in this movie brings to light the enduring bond that flows between so many ( but not all ) mothers and their children. (2010)

Comment » | 4 Stars, Drama

The Waiting City

September 6th, 2010 — 8:56am

The Waiting City* * * *
The Waiting City
– sp – This is an unusual movie which combines the plight of an Australian couple trying to adopt a child with the enchantment of India. Fiona ( Radha Mitchell) is a high powered attorney who comes to India with her husband Ben ( Joel Edgerton ) a low powered musician who usually has his guitar nearby. They have come to Calcutta to pick up their adopted daughter and initially have to wait several days to make contact with her. They have their own issues between the two of them but are drawn to meet their daughter and also understand the prior short life that she has had. They meet Krishna ( Samrat Chakrabarti) who is on one hand the hotel worker who is serving them in his uncle’s hotel but on the other hand seems to be a symbol of the country of their new child. These are the ingredients, that pulls the viewer into a spiritual experience which goes beyond the plot of the story. Fiona and Bill undergo a transformation, which is easy to identify with. The characters appeared to have learned some important things about themselves and the viewers have had an insight into the marital relationship of this couple, the meaning of international adoption and the multifaceted nature of India. Screenwriter and director Claire McCarthy was drawn to India by her own travels there. The film that she has created is authentic, beautifully photographed with muted lighting in soft colors but penetrates below the skin of the country and the people in the story. (2010)

Comment » | 4 Stars, Drama, Romance

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