ONCE MY MOTHER | MOVIE REVIEW & GIVEAWAY

ONCE MY MOTHER is a very different documentary, it is a personal forgiveness story blended with a human story of a very strong willed person who was sent through hell and did everything to survive and build life. At first, following my viewing of this film, I thought little of it, didn’t even think it was cinema worthy, but continued thoughts on the film have changed my mind. Do not get me wrong, this film is powerful and cathartic and should be viewed. And thanks to our friends at Change Focus Media (and their great publicist TM Publicity) we have 10x double passes to giveaway so you can watch it for yourself – please see down below for confirmed cinemas screening the film and to find out how to win. ONCE MY MOTHER is rated PG and runs for 75mins.

 

ONCE MY MOTHER MOVIE POSTER IMAGE
ONCE MY MOTHER | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | MOVIE POSTER

 

REVIEW BY JASON KING

Filmmaker Sophia Turkiewicz at age seven was placed into a foster home by her mother Helen. From this point in time began Sophia’s resentment of her mother and feelings of abandonment and so began a channel in their relationship that widened with years as Sophia realised she was less and less like her mother. Helen was an uneducated immigrant, they had nothing in common and in the 70s, in Australia, tertiary education was free (who would have imagined!). Sophia drifted further and further apart but filmed her mother in 1976 to start making a story of her life, that she found an interesting tale of hardship. The film was never finished and was shelved. Years later Sophia won awards galore for a film she directed, SILVER CITY, a film that was very loosely based and fictionalised on the basic story of her mother’s life. Sophia didn’t invite her mother to the AFIs where she won her awards.

But with age comes wisdom and a need to forgive, or more make sense, and when Helen had reached old age Sophia was back in her life and as poor Helen started suffering dementia Sophia realised there was little time to complete this tale of her mother, one of horrendous pain and suffering and one that still allowed Helen to come out of it a good person and alive. This film is a poignant memoir Sophia has made as a lasting legacy for her mother Helen and also a cathartic exercise for Sophia in putting her thoughts down for film.

 

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ONCE MY MOTHER | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | HELEN HOLDING SOPHIA WHILE IN A REFUGEE CAMP IN AFRICA (4TH FROM RIGHT)

 

ONCE MY MOTHER is in fact two stories. The first is a harrowing life story of Helen Turkiewicz, a woman who survived gulags, walking thousands of kilometres, having to fend for herself since age ten, basically thought to be dead, starvation, slavery and mistreatment unimaginable. Her story is one that could be made into a Spielberg directed film worthy of Schindler’s List type acclaim. In this story I would find Sophia a small character in the story, another point of sadness and another attempt to mentally destroy Helen, that again she would overcome.

The other story is that of a neglected child, told from the point of view of the child since a young age through to now, it is a life of misunderstanding, at times selfish, rebellious and one of unappreciated freedom and privilege. At first I did not like Sophia telling this story, I thought she was using her mother to make a story again, I did find her selfish and unappreciative of what her mother went through. But I also believe this was Sophia’s intention, it is part of the movie and a part as important as Helen’s story. War does not affect just the person involved, it ripples through our souls and can affect generations. How, at age seven, can something that affects a child so profoundly, be forgiven, it would take years of life to reach understanding. By the end of the story it all came together, for Sophia, it was a story of redemption and forgiveness and for Sophia to tell her story and offer this poignant memoir as a departing gift to her mother she had to tell both stories.

 

ONCE MY MOTHER MOVIE IMAGE
ONCE MY MOTHER | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | HELEN AND SOPHIA TURKIEWICZ

 

The most powerful line in this film for me was (I wish I could remember it word for word – even been scanning the screener this morning to find it) “You put me in an orphanage when I was seven,” says Sophia, “and you have put me in one now,” finishes Helen. For me that says it all, both of the women ended up in an orphanage (Helen’s was more of a nursing home) through complete necessity.

The film is brave and Helen’s life will squeeze your heart. Total respect to Sophia for making the film. It will not be for everyone, if you only like Transformers trite then run for the hills but if you love a good, powerful, brave story of a woman who should not be forgotten then get to one of the below cinemas when it releases on July 24th.

 

Confirmed Cinemas:

Palace Chauvel Cinema (Sydney)

Cremorne Orpheum (Sydney)

The Regal Cinema (Newcastle)

Cinema Nova (Melbourne)

Palace Centro (Brisbane)

Luna Palace (Perth)

 

 

4 Pops

 

With special thanks to CHANGE FOCUS MEDIA to win one of the 10x DOUBLE PASSES to see ONCE MY MOTHER you need to either like and share this post on Facebook or retweet/ favourite it on Twitter, you then need to answer the following question. 

Firstly, just an FYI on how to increase chances of winning a salty comp; commenting on the review generally holds you in better stead of winning as opposed to just comp sexing :)

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE TRUE LIFE STORY ON FILM AND WHY? Mine would probably be INTO THE WILD, SCHINDLER’S LIST or UNITED 93 (although United 93 is very much guessed).

If you do not have Facebook and Twitter then you can still enter, leave your entry below and email me at jking@saltypopcorn.com.au telling me you don’t have social media (you still need to enter the comp on the website).

Prizes will be awarded based on skill and selected purely on the thoughts of the judges, said judges being the Salty Kernels, more likely ME.

The prizes will be sent in the next week or two. Good luck! Oh, and minor housekeeping – huge apologies for overseas readers, this competition is only available to Australian residents.

 

 

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