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adoption reunion: NFB screening in WINNIPEG, Manitoba
Posted by: Holly Kramer (ID *****3590) Date: November 15, 2002 at 11:59:17
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“TO MY BIRTHMOTHER” will be screened in WINNIPEG on TUESDAY, NOVEMBER19th, at 7 pm. at the MANITOBA MUSEUM AUDITORIUM, 190 Rupert. Following are excerpts from some of the reviews after screenings at the Montreal World Film Festival in August:

“Oh, my God, how did you find me?” Marie Klaassen’s biological mother asks the daughter she gave up for adoption three decades ago. To My Birthmother, a National Film Board of Canada documentary…answers that question with gentle honesty and a few tears….Film-maker Beverly Shaffer…tracked Klaassen’s odyssey over a 10-month period last year. The resulting 54 minute film is a sensitive and humourous treatment of the politics of adoption….To My Birthmother could easily serve as a how-to manual for adoptees seeking their origins. “Marie agreed to make the film because in telling her story it might help others,” Shaffer said. The focus isn’t on the happy moment of reunion…Klaassen does find her mother – and gets a surprise. There’s an older sister, who was also put up for adoption during the flower-child era of the 1960’s…. “It was socially unacceptable to be a single mother,” said Klaassen, who doesn’t blame her mother. “I have sympathy for the woman. Abortion wasn’t an option”….The older sister, Janine, has no interest in finding her mother, because it could open up a “Pandora’s box.” “I didn’t want to spend my whole life wondering what was in the box,” said Klaassen, who grew up in a happy home, one of four adopted children.
-From the Montreal Gazette

When the Oscar-winning moviemaker flashed on the dramatic potential of a woman’s search for her biological mother, her instincts drew her to Klaassen. “I liked her right away…There was a combination of strength, determination, humour, and vulnerability that attracted me….” An energetic, emotionally balanced person, Klaassen had read many books about…victimized or emotionally incomplete adopted people she didn’t relate to. Raised by bright parents in a comfortable environment, she wanted to find her birthmother for “practical reasons” but to her surprise, “the search became obsessive.” Obsessive, but not joyless….Liberated from deadening talking heads interviews, the doc shows its characters re-enacting crucial scenes from their lives…. Marie’s on-camera and voiceover narration is framed as a letter to the woman she is seeking….Shaffer uses [this] to connect her audience with Marie’s varied emotions, her determination, and even her sense of absurdity about the whole project. When she finds the missing link in her life, and hears her mother exclaim, “Oh my God, how did you find me?” viewers are not clinically observing a case study. They are caught up in the emotion of this extraordinary reunion.
-From CineFestival

If you are searching, or considering it, if you have searched and found, if you care about someone whose life has been affected by adoption, this film is a “must see.”

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