A multiple-award winning film, “Once My Mother”, premiered in Nowra at the Roxy Cinema on Berry Street on Friday night.
Written and directed by Sophia Turkiewicz, the documentary tells a multi-layered story about her relationship with her mother as well as her mother’s own long and complicated journey from a small village in east Poland to being a refugee in post-War Australia.
“Once My Mother” has received rave reviews from critics and reviewers all around Australia. Director Peter Weir said the film was “a fine work (that) touches a profound truth.”
Ms Turkiewicz said making the film was a long and difficult process. She began it in 1976, but did not have the experience or knowledge to make it work.
“I brushed it off in 2007, and have been working on it since.”
Sophia’s mother, Helen, was taken from her Polish home and sent to a slave-labour camp in Siberia by Soviet invaders. From there, over many long and arduous years, and travelling from the Soviet Union through present-day Uzbekistan and Iran to Africa, she finally reached Australia.
“I was born in what was then Northern Rhodesia,” Ms Turkiewicz said. “My father did not come with us, so Helen was a single mother in a new and strange country.”
Helen abandoned her daughter in an Adelaide orphanage.
Ms Turkiewicz said she never forgot her sense of betrayal.
“The film tells not just my mother’s tale, but also my attempt to know my own mother and confront my own demons.”
The film’s producer, Rod Freedman, said he thought “Once My Mother”, dealing with survivors from a world-wide conflagration making a new home in a new land, was a very Australian story.