Prisoner of her Past Presentation

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Prisoner of her Past Presentation

  1. 1. Prisoner of her Past Directed by Gordon Quinn Written by Howard Reich
  2. 2.  Sonia Reich survived the Holocaust as a child by escaping her ghetto. She ran and hid from the Nazis for several years until moving to the U.S., where she lived a normal life.  60 years later, she is being haunted by memories from her past.  She ran out of her house one night, convinced there were Nazis chasing her, trying to put a bullet in her head.
  3. 3.  Her son, Howard, had her put in a nursing home, where she still believes she is being chased by the Nazis.  She constantly says that she is not a whore, referencing Nazis treatment of women.  She has strange habits, such as splitting bread into 10 baggies – 5 for her, 5 for her son – and constantly acts like she is still being hunted.
  4. 4.  Sonia was diagnosed with late-onset post- traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and is reliving her childhood.  She never told Howard, her son, what had happened to her as a child. She refused to talk about it, and relatives wouldn't speak of it either. All Howard knew was that his mother had somehow escaped a ghetto. ← Sonia as a child with cousin, Leon, and grandfather.
  5. 5.  Howard set off to what is now Poland with a cousin, Leon, another survivor, to try and discover what happened to his mother.  He never found out exactly what happened to his mother, but he saw where she grew up.  He also saw spots where thousands of people were massacred. ← A ghetto similar to the one Sonia would have lived in.
  6. 6.  Howard wanted to help his mother, he just didn't know how to do it. Seeing the place where she grew up made her childhood more real to him, though he did not know exactly what happened to her, and would never find out.  Some people suggested that trying to get his mother to speak would be beneficial. He, though, disagreed. He thought it would only cause harm if she tried to relive it anymore. He believed that sometimes, speaking about a problem isn't enough to resolve it.
  7. 7. Central Message The past affects everybody in different ways, depending on how traumatic an event is and how soon help occurs. The sooner you can provide help to someone, the better off they will be in the future.
  8. 8.  I found the recurring theme to be that the past can haunt anybody. Extremely traumatic events, such as the Holocaust, will have the longest and worst effect.  Sonia Reich is a prime example of this, among many Holocaust survivors. The survivors were not offered much help psychologically when they were freed, causing them to still be affected to this day through things like Concentration Camp Syndrome, Survivor's Guilt, and PTSD.  If the survivor's could have gotten help sooner, they would be better off now. This was Howard Reich's central message.
  9. 9. Effectiveness This film was very effective in conveying the central message.  Several psychologists were interviewed, all expressing this idea.  Howard also visited a group of students in New Orleans who were hit by Hurricane Katrina, to help them deal with the trauma. He said that by helping them now, instead of 60 years later, their futures will be easier.  By adding a source that is similar, but doesn't have to do with the Holocaust, Reich's message became clear.
  10. 10. The students who were hit by Katrina that Reich interviewed.
  11. 11. Audience Response  I don't think the director's main goal was to make the audience feel pity for Sonia. I think the director wanted us to feel a small amount, but that shouldn't be the overwhelming emotion.  The director included funny moments of Sonia and showed that, though she may still be reliving her past, she's still a stubborn woman.  I think the director and the writer's goal was to make us want to go out and help.
  12. 12.  Reich wanted to encourage us to understand that though people are affected physically by traumatic events, they are also affected mentally.  Yes, money and physical aid are good things to send, but so is someone who can help them psychologically. Sonia eating bread brought by Howard. She won't eat food from the nursing home because she believes it is covered with lice, a leftover belief from her childhood.
  13. 13. Sources  Family Members: Howard interviewed several family members who grew up with Sonia, trying to figure out what happened to her, but to no avail.  Psychologists: Howard interviewed several psychologists, who diagnosed Sonia with PTSD and who said that if she had gotten help earlier, she might not be suffering now.  Villagers: Howard interviewed many village members in Dubno, where Sonia grew up,
  14. 14. ← Leon, Sonia's cousin who traveled with Howard to Dubno and who helped Howard understand his mother's childhood. Howard talking to a villager and Leon's son about life in Dubno. →
  15. 15. What is the role of the individual in the modern world?  This film helped me gain insight into this specific question.  I believe the role of the individual is to help the victims of a traumatic event in every way possible, to the best of our ability.  This includes mental, as well as physical, needs.  It is our role to look out for those around us and to help ensure a happier future for those victims.
  16. 16. How have human choices had a local and global impact?  This film helped me to answer this question also.  Human choices don't have an immediate effect only.  What someone chooses today can affect a person for the rest of their life.  Because of this, it is extremely important to analyze all consequences of possible decisions so that the best decisions can be made.
  17. 17. Further Questions...  There are a few things this film left unanswered: How is Sonia today? Did she ever talk to Leon? If talking is not always the best solution to help someone, in what other ways can we help? Why did Sonia's PTSD suddenly occur now, 60 years later?
  18. 18. Traumatic events happened to people all over the world, every day. They don't have to be to the scale of the Holocaust – smaller actions can also have large effects. It is our responsibility to help those people who face these traumas avoid a future like Sonia's: one that is the same as their past.

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