Movie, Reviews

“Aida’s Secrets” a Surprising Reunion

Heartwarming and heartfelt, the documentary Aida’s Secrets reveals how two brothers find their family many years after the WWII holocaust. It’s not a rehash of one of the most diabolical events in history, but a reuniting of family members. The film holds some endearing moments and a mystery of surprises.

Izak Szewelewicz, a holocaust survivor, has been living in Yedidya Village in Israel with his wife. He has three children and eight grandchildren. He grew up in Israel with foster parents, a foster sister and foster brother. One day when he was 8-years-old and while playing in the streets with other kids, they ask if he knows he was adopted. Puzzled he asks his mother who denies it at first, but finally tells him he was not born to her.

Izak Szewelewicz and Shep Shell in Aida’s Secrets Courtesy of Music Box Film

She confesses that his real mother lives in Canada. It’s now 65 years later and even though he has met his mother at his Bar Mitzvah, he wants to find a brother that he thought was dead. With the help of Alon Schwarz and Melanie Shell he starts his long and laborious search for family.

Aida and her family Family Photo in Aida’s Secrets Courtesy of Music Box Films

Directors Alon Schwarz and Shaul Schwarz film the special documentary while putting together the puzzle of finding Izak’s brother Shep. From millions of documents, photos, and an extensive search the two men finally meet with a gratifying reunion. But, it doesn’t end there, as there’s other secrets to uncover.

I like the way the directors get right to reuniting the two brothers and show how the two have to make some interesting decisions. They use old photos and video to unravel the mystery of their parents. Not holding back anything, you will see all, love, hatred and a plan for the future.

Aida’s Secrets has not been rated by the MPAA, but I could not find any objectionable material for teens on up. The film spools out in Yiddish, French and English with English subtitles. The film won the Jury Prize for Best Documentary at the 2017 Jewish Film Festival in Atlanta.

FINAL ANALYSIS: A very good film that starts out as a reunion and then surprises.

Additional Film Information:
Cast: Izak Sagi, Shep Shell, Aida Zasadsinska,
Directed by: Alon Schwarz and Shaul Schwarz
Genre: Documentary, Foreign (English Subtitles)
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 1 hr. 30 min.
Release Date: October 27, 2017
Distributed by: Music Box Films

The comments within this review are the critic’s expressed opinions.

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Film Editor John Delia has been on all sides of the movie business from publications to film making. He has worked as a film critic with ACED Magazine for more than 12 years and earned a Bachelors degree in communications from the University of Florida. John is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association. Follow John on Twitter @staragent1 or send John a message at jdelia@acedmagazine.com

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