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Split: A Film for Kids of Divorce (And Their Parents)

Ellen Bruno Films
Produced by Ellen Bruno
Directed by Ellen Bruno
DVD , color, 28 min.
K-General Adult
Divorce, Child Rearing, Child Development, Psychology, Social Work

Reviewed by Carolyn Walden, Mervyn H. Sterne Library, University of Alabama at Birmingham

Date Entered: 10/23/2013

Split, a film by Ellen Bruno, “is a deeply personal film made in collaboration with children aged 6-12, exploring the often frightening and always life-altering separation of their parents.” This comment, appearing on the container insert, along with the full title summarizes and gives insight to the content of the film. Viewers listen to several children as they describe their feelings about divorce and how life changed for them after the divorce of their parents. “Something you really love breaks and you can’t put it back together.” We’re still a family but we don’t live in the same house anymore…that’s all.” These quotations from two children express their truth and their wisdom at a young age and mirror similar comments expressed by all the children in the film.

To provide some structure to comments by the children, Ellen Bruno develops thoughtful themes for the divorce journey traveled by the children. Change, Wishing, Back and Forth, Stuck in the Middle, New People, Talking about It, Life Goes On, and other motifs help illustrate the process of divorce and give an opportunity for children to express their feelings.

As described in the title, this film is for parents and children of divorce. Throughout the film and sometimes as transitions to the themes, there is delightful, expressive, childlike animation with appropriate music to illustrate and capture their essence as described by the children for that particular topic. This technique provides an effective way to dramatize the poignancy of the comments and gives artistic shape to the children’s viewpoints. This is a film that will touch your heart as you empathize with the expected sadness that the children feel but it also conveys a sense of hope on the journey as the child voices remind us that they can “think about a happy place” and feel better. Recommended for public libraries and for counseling and psychology collections in academic libraries.