Rewind: Make more of this wonderful film

FrenkDad

Jan and his son, Frénk

We featured one scene from a Dutch TV documentary before – The two truths of torn up letters. There is an (as yet) unpublished English-subtitled version called: Rewind. We must find ways to make much more of it.  The full story plainly underlines several key lessons for Child and Parental Alienation (PA). And, once again, a letter plays a big role.

Only the Dutch version – Verloren band – is freely available online. You’re in luck if you speak Dutch! The Dutch title and sub-title translate as: Broken Bond: Reconciliation after divorce?  That’s as far as I can translate for you!

Rewind: my parents’ divorce

FrenkMum

Frénk and his mother, Erica

There is a summary of the family’s story in the earlier blog. The journalist and film-maker, Frénk van der Linden, is the grown-up child of his own story. The full English title is: Rewind: my parent’s divorce.

The film is a retrospective of Frénk’s parents’ marriage and divorce 40 years before, after which his parents never met up again … plus there was Alienation from their mother during the children’s teenage decade.

The story is told entirely through Frénk’s interviews with his separated parents. There is no commentary or professional interpretation given. What happened decades ago seems as real as if it was yesterday. And there is a surprise ending.

FrenkLetterJudge

Young Désirée and Frénk

The news is that Frénk and his colleagues have let me have the English-subtitled version to show to limited audiences. I have done this several times now, always with powerful responses and much discussion.

It is a wonderful film to watch, and a rich resource about families, separation and about Alienation (though no technical terms like that are used in the film).

Here is a short subtitled clip – leading up to Frénk and Desirée’s writing their letter to the judge.

1. Ask me to show the film

So first, I am happy to be asked to put on Rewind for any audience pretty well anywhere in the UK that asks me … well, anywhere in the world, sounds fun too! On its own, it can do more than any ordinary presentation can. Just now you cannot buy or view the whole subtitled film in any other way, though I’m working on it!

Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 05.55.55Since I’m part of the package and if I’m going to travel anyway, I can add some extras about the film, lead discussion after showing it, and suggest some lessons for us to learn.

And I can offer to do a double event and add in any other form of presentation or workshop that organisers would like from me. I have a range of options on tap. And I’m cheap … I only ask for my expenses! As long as this is for educational not profit-making purposes, we have permission to show it.

2. Anyone got links with TV companies?

Secondly, we have been trying to find an English-language television company to show the film. Again, anywhere in the world would do. Until that happens, rightly, there won’t be an online version with subtitles. So please would anyone get in touch who knows how to pull the levers of television companies anywhere in the English-speaking world. Forward this blog post to anyone you think might know how to help get it shown on TV. You can Contact us here. Thanks. If we can make that happen, then thousands more everywhere can get to watch the film.

3. Have a look at what the film teaches us

Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 05.55.35Thirdly, the subtitled version lacks the beginning and ending that will be put in again when it is shown on TV. Plus I sketch a genogram of the family as the story unfolds when I show it. And finally I list the lessons the film teaches us about Alienation – it happens; it’s serious, harmful, even life-threatening; mothers can be rejected, not just fathers; there don’t need to be evil intentions; don’t just rely on the child’s voice; collaborative help won’t work; but simple court authority can.

Here are my Rewind slides. Click to have a look. Spoiler alert! – the surprise ending is revealed. A few of the key slides illustrate this blogpost.

So tell it to the judge

Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 05.55.17The key lesson to learn from Rewind is that the Judge could have quite simply made all the difference. The court should not have so easily accepted Frénk and Désirée’s immature advice in their letter asking for custody with their father.

That was ‘the child’s voice’ for sure. But it was not competent, even though it was so clearly and voluntarily expressed in that letter.

So: Judges and courts, please take note

  • You are uniquely able to simply make all the difference.
  • Please learn more about Alienation. And remember:
  • The child’s voice is not the best source or the best advice for your decisions.

Nick Child, Edinburgh

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About Nick Child

Retired child and family shrink now family therapist living, working and playing in Edinburgh.

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