Family Portrait in Black and White
"A rich observational portrait of a woman who wants to save the children from an unjust world—her way."
- Hot Docs
"Powerful and complex." - New York Magazine
"A compelling look at racism, value systems, and just what family means in today's ever-changing society."
- Mark Rifkin, This Week in NYC
"Riveting...Critic's Pick" - LA Weekly
"High marks for honesty. Portrait of an imperfect solution in Ukraine." - The New York Times
"Remarkable...as fearless and complex as the family it represents." - PopMatters
“The film is a feat of unforced and watchful insight.” - Chicago Tribune
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Subject Areas: Documentary, Family Studies, Race, Gender Studies
Family Portrait in Black and White follows a passionate Supermom, Olga Nenya, during three turbulent years that see her brood of 17 foster children grow into rambunctious teenagers. Olga is a loving mother but she is no Mother Teresa. Raised by the Soviet regime, she believes in communal responsibility over individual freedom and runs the family with a Stalinist determination. Olga does not see color or creed of her foster children of whom 16 are bi-racial, results of amorous relationships between local Ukrainian girls and African students. As a single mother, Olga fights tooth and nail to keep her family together and to give it strength and support with sometimes overbearing control. Olga’s limits are tested daily and her unwavering resolve becomes a refuge for some children and prison for others.