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ANOTHER MOTHER

Netherlands, 1996 (MIFF 1997, International)

Director: Paula van der Oest

The fall of Communism in Eastern Europe did not only affect countries. The ordinary human lives that were shattered should not be forgotten. In a decaying Latvia with appalling economic conditions and corruption, Juris can see only one way of giving his son the future he does not see for himself. And that involves the kind of sacrifice that can only come from love - he must give his son away to another mother. How he finds that mother is the film's story, and involves a journey across Europe to Holland and the woman who was Juris's pen-pal when they were children.

This moving feature by director Paula van der Oest achieves its impact from her ability to not show us the obvious in a carefully, yet casually shaped film, which succeeds in linking the dreams of the 60s with the reality of the 90s, and the different lives of the East and the West. As the ten year old Elvis (yes, named by his parents for their Western hero), Arys Adamsons embod­ies, with pain and dignity, a child struck dumb by a traumatising experience. This intensely moving, compassionate film deserves to be widely seen.

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