Distributed by Women Make Movies, 462 Broadway, New York, NY 10013; 212-925-0606
Produced by Cynthia Connop
Directed by Cynthia Connop
DVD, color, 52 min.
College - Adult
Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Psychology, Women's Studies
Reviewed by Barb Bergman, Minnesota State University, Mankato
Date Entered: 2/7/2008
Bloodlines is the story of two women profoundly affected by their ancestors. One is Bettina Goering, grandniece of Nazi war criminal Herman Goering. The other is Ruth Rich, artist and child of Holocaust survivors. The women come together from halfway across the world in search of catharsis. Bettina travels from her Arizona home (having emigrated from Germany many years ago) to meet Ruth in Australia. Bettina suffers guilt about the actions of her great uncle and fears that the capability for such evil is in her blood (she does state that both she and her brother chose to be sterilized rather than risk having children). Ruth shows deep rooted anger over the Holocaust and the loss of the smiling innocence of her parents. Her paintings are dark, Holocaust themed works. Bettina and Ruth both show anger, hurt, and defensiveness at various points, but seem to achieve healing because of their interactions. Both women are disturbed by Bettina’s clear resemblance to Herman Goering. Bettina and Ruth both recount past mental health issues that they attribute to the guilt and anger. Bettina has experienced nervous breakdowns that resulted in institutionalization at times; Ruth abandoned her children when they were younger and has worked to rebuild that relationship.
Production values are good. Running time is reasonable for class use. Bloodlines is recommended. Although of potential use in psychology, women’s studies, or history (holocaust/genocide), courses with a counseling focus seem the likely audience for this film.