4.5 stars

Rewind (2019)

  • Documentary Feature/Official Selection
  • 87 Minutes/USA/2019
  • Drama/Social Justice
  • Director: Sasha Joseph Neulinger

Premise: Drawing upon an immense home video archive, Sasha Joseph Neulinger exposes the family secret which destroyed his world. The camera that followed his footsteps from the day he was born also captured the story of an unraveling childhood, a high-stakes court battle, and a generational reckoning.

Rewind is a heartbreaking and deeply moving documentary that left me in shambles yet somehow managed to uplift me in a profound way. Sasha Joseph Neulinger leaves no stone unturned as he revisits a history of horrific trauma at the hands of trusted adults. The personal truth and discovery of inner strength that’s showcased in Rewind is so raw and palpable that it is hard not to be emotionally affected by it.

The film establishes young Sasha through home movies that his dad recorded constantly throughout his childhood. Throughout the film, Neulinger utilizes this footage to deconstruct the intense damage and lasting effects that the trauma had on his childhood. This is such an important tool as the audience can see firsthand just how drastic and heartbreaking the change in Sasha’s behavior was at the time.

This footage also shows us how monsters can hide in plain sight. Bringing the viewer into footage of happy family gatherings and then uncovering the truth of what was happening at the time is a highly effective storytelling technique. It gives us an intimacy into Sasha’s story that allows us to share the pain of the family on a more visceral level.

Extremely candid and heart wrenching interviews with his parents and the childhood psychiatrist he saw at the time provide an even more detailed overview of the trauma Sasha and others suffered. There are moments in this documentary where I nearly broke out in sobs because the subject is so heartbreaking.

There are intense revelations that come up as the details of the assaults come out. Rewind documents a lengthy court battle that, in conjunction with the home movies, puts a spotlight on just how much of an emotional toll the repetition of a prolonged legal battle has on a survivor of abuse.

Rewind was incredibly moving, heartbreaking, and at times difficult to watch. Its candor and the use of tons of footage from home movies create an intense emotional experience that embodies what makes documentary filmmaking such a powerful art form. Sasha Joseph Neulinger’s personal journey to confront what happened to him and search for some semblance of peace is awe-inspiring, cathartic, and must be seen.

Showtimes at HIFF28

  • Friday, Oct. 11 – 5:15pm – AMC Traders Point 14
  • Friday, Oct. 18 – 10:30am – AMC Traders Point 12

Buy Tickets Now

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