THE TWINNING REACTION (JEWISH INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL), US, 2017. Directed by Lori Shinseki. 54 minutes. Rating not available.
A fascinating film.
For audiences who have seen Three Identical Strangers, with this story of triplets separated soon after birth in the US in the 1960s and their subsequent history, will appreciate this documentary in which the three adult men who have found each other also appear.
For audiences who have not seen Three Identical Strangers, it is highly recommended as a companion piece.
Peter Neubauer began investigations in the 1960s on the effect of separation of twins and triplets without the knowledge of the other siblings. The adopting parents did not know of the other children either. In contact with the Jewish Board for adoption in New York City adopting agencies, potential twins and triplets were assessed over some time as to whether they would be significant subjects for further study and quite an extensive program went ahead.
In this film, four sets of twins are brought together after many years. There are substantial and telling interviews with those concerned, their experience of feeling that they were not alone, satisfaction in discovering their fellow twins. And there are interviews with parents – many of them highly antagonistic towards the study as well as the adoption boards.
And the three men from Three Identical Strangers appear in this film as well.
There are also some of those involved in the in the study, not appreciating until later what they were involved in. And there is the journalist who broke the story. These interviewees also appear in Three Identical Strangers. There is footage of Peter Neubauer himself and of his associates.
The young children, adopted out to parents of different social backgrounds, were visited, questioned, notes made and reports kept. However, the archive of the reports has been sealed until the middle of the century.
Audience reaction to the film is a combination of sympathetic interest in the lives of those involved with the critical attitude, sometimes disbelief, that such procedures actually took place.
Audiences will be pleased to have the opportunity to see both of these films, The Twinning Reaction and Three Identical Strangers.
JIFF Released October 23rd
Peter Malone MSC is an Associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film and Broadcasting.