51 Birch Street (2005)

51 Birch Street

Last night I was at the world premiere for 51 Birch Street directed by Doug Block. I know that sounds a little pretentious but how often do you get to say that you went to a world premiere?

51 Birch Street is a documentary film about family secrets, relationships and marriage. Doug’s parents were married for 55 years until his mother died suddenly. A few months after her death, Doug’s father remarried, to his former secretary.

Adding to the drama is the discovery of the diaries that Doug’s mother kept. They paint a different picture from the mother most of the family knew while growing up.

I don’t want to give too much because there are several surprises and turns that make this a really interesting film. I found that I was able to relate to a lot of the material and learned a a few things about family relationships by the end of the film.

Doug Block was here in Toronto last night to introduce the film. His entire family and many of the people that worked on the film were sitting in front of me which seemed a little surreal. His father Mike and his wife (his former secretary), Kitty, did a Q&A following the film that was really touching.

What didn’t come out in the film was that Mike Block contemplated suicide after his wife Mina died. He had a difficult time dealing with lonlieness and decided he wasn’t going to be one of these old people that gives up and wastes away.

I felt like I was a part of something special by screening the film with Doug and his family. A great festival experience.

Posted in 2005 TIFF and Movie Reviews at 9:01 PM