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  1. 1. A Review by Becca Mitchelson
  2. 2. Here’s a quick summary of the film… • Prisoners of her Past is a film that shows Howard Reich trying to find out what exactly happened to his mother, Sonia Reich, who is a survivor by running away and hiding during the Holocaust. Howard Reich 
  3. 3. • Now, she currently suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. She is convinced that everyone is out to get her; her mindset is stuck in her past, although is aware of her surroundings and knows who people are in the present. • Sonia  • She lives in constant fear of the Nazi’s killing her and she doesn’t trust anybody. This is what Reich investigates because she never talked about her experiences when he was growing up.
  4. 4. Central Message of the Film. • Traumatizing experiences can cause disorders like PTSD to occur, but this can be prevented. – Since she was alone during her hiding and escape during the Holocaust, she was alone in dealing with her experience, so therefore she didn’t talk about it. – Howard Reich and Leon  – Leon, her cousin, on the other hand, does not suffer from PTSD, although he went through a similar experience by running away and hiding during the Holocaust.
  5. 5. • Also, towards the end, it shows young survivors of Hurricane Katrina listening to Sonia’s story and then opening up about their own experiences. – Reich tries to convince the young survivors that the only way you will be able to heal from the trauma is to open up, talk about it, and talk about it made them feel. young survivors 
  6. 6. • The difference between Leon and Sonia is that Leon opened up and talked about his experiences, and by talking about them, he was learning to cope with them, leaving him much less likely to have PTSD. vs. • Sonia kept all her emotions and experiences inside and never dealt with it and this is the likely cause of her disorder she has today.
  7. 7. Effectiveness of Film • It tells Leon’s story of how he dealt with it and it shows his personality and how he acts today. – This is contrasted well with Sonia’s behavior because when Leon comes to visit her, he is trying to help her remember her experience so that they can talk together, but she rejects him, because she is blocking out any connection to the past, although she is stuck in it. Leon feels rejected when Sonai does  not recognize him
  8. 8. Filmmaker’s Goal • To have the audience hear Sonia’s, Leon’s, and other survivors’ stories, and recognize the contrast between them. – He wanted the audience to see the different ways people deal with their trauma and where they are once they get older. • The filmmaker wants the audience to realize that this is relevant to today. – He urges people, if they have had traumatic experiences, to get help and talk it through, so they don’t end up with a sickness like Sonia.
  9. 9. Sources of Film • Doctor’s diagnosis • Sonia’s behavior • Leon’s story of his experiences • Various people in Ukraine that help us visualize what really happened during the Holocaust.
  10. 10. “What is the role of the individual in the modern world?” • He not only tells his mother’s story – He is helping people today deal with their trauma by having them realize they have to talk about it if they want to get over it. • He is using the best possible medium – a film, which can reach people all over the world
  11. 11. “How have human choices had a local and global impact?” • The film shows how the Holocaust impacted the European countries, the Jews, and many other people that were discriminated. A Ukrainian woman tells a story about  the horrors that occurred right down the road
  12. 12. Unanswered Questions • Did Sonia see the movie? If she did, what was her reaction? • What are the circumstances of her illness? Is she stuck in the past, or is she just having those emotions come back and affect her because she knows the people around her? Sonia walking with her granddaughter
  13. 13. More Questions… • How has growing up with Sonia’s behavior affected Howard’s life? • What inspired Howard to create a film, not just a book?
  14. 14. Think about this… • Prisoners of her Past was much more than a movie showing a woman suffering from PTSD – It’s a message to the people and anyone who has gone through a traumatic experience that although what a person went through is awful, they can come back from it if they do the right things like open up and talk. – This is what Reich shows the Hurricane Katrina survivors to do. – It can be applied to any traumatic experience, from death of a family member, to abuse, to a drug problem, to losing your job or home.
  15. 15. Young people, and old need to deal with their problems so that they can go on with their life, without this trauma holding them back. This is what prevents a person from becoming a prisoner of their past…