Signe Baumane and five women in her family battle with depression and madness.Signe Baumane and five women in her family battle with depression and madness.Signe Baumane and five women in her family battle with depression and madness.
Latvia, the late 1920s. Anna, a young woman, pretty and educated, falls in love with an adventurous entrepreneur, 30 years her senior. But with marriage comes great jealousy, and the entrepreneur hides Anna away in the forest, far from other men, where she bears him eight children. The Great Depression hits them hard. Then Latvia is overrun with invasions by the Soviets, then the Nazis, then the Soviets once again. Anna is a pillar of strength, defying the hardships, raising her young, teaching them survival secrets of the forest. But something inside her is terribly wrong. Years later, Signe, a young artist, asks her father, "how did my grandmother die?" Her father is evasive. His seven siblings are evasive, as well. Signe strongly suspects that Anna committed suicide. Clues of mental illness had always leaked through the family stories. Signe suffers from depression herself. Her suicidal fantasies get her locked away for four months in a Soviet mental institute. Three of her cousins, all women, battle madness, as well. Could there be a link between Anna and the four granddaughters? Defying the stigma that silences so many, Signe takes us on a journey deep into her own depression where she looks to confront the family demons.
Inspring film - Palm Springs International Film Festival
This afternoon at the Palm Springs International Film Festival I saw this wonderful film. Signe Baumane is a gifted animator and storyteller, integrating her family's story with events in Latvian history. Every family has skeletons in the closet, and Signe's is no exception. The difference is that she tells us the story of mental illness in her family as if she is talking to a close and trusted friend. Her approach uses humor and a realistic approach which draws us in and helps us to gain a better understanding of the challenges she and others in her family have faced. This is a brave and touching story, and an important story to share with others. Signe - congratulations on an outstanding film!
- Jan 5, 2015
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