Expired March 20, 2023 6:59 AM
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TERRIBLE CHILDREN is sparked by a family letter unopened for decades. The filmmaker discovers the events that led to her father’s banishment from his Indian family after marrying her Danish mother. This compelling journey reveals her parents’ memories during the same decade: Muslim-Hindu riots during India’s Partition, boyhood training in a paramilitary group, and Denmark during Nazi-occupation. Dreamlike images and searing archival footage reveal unexpected parallels of religious war, and the transformative power of love.

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Director - Shanti Thakur

My 86-year-old father handed me a crinkled blue letter and said quietly, “Maybe you can do something with this.” This is the letter his father sent him from India…which was left unopened for 20 years after his father’s death.

This is the beginning of the story. Of race and masculinity, of love and betrayal, and finally, of transformation. My father began to share stories of intergenerational trauma, colonization, coming-of-age, and creating a surrogate family. As a director, I wanted to steer away from the earnest, sociological portraits of non-Western people so often seen in documentaries. Instead, I created a cinematic style to bring his story to life, and to build his internal landscape.

Memory is like poetry. Facts and dates are un-moveable. But the way we create metaphor and dreams in our lives is an act of survival.

The goal is to represent the ‘un-representable’ through beautifully woven vignettes and creative reenactments contoured by archival footage. My use of poetic voice-over is the continuum that bridges three generations, three continents and three cultures together.

  • Year
  • Runtime
    57 minutes
  • Language
    Danish, English, French
  • Country
    United States
  • Premiere
    West Coast
  • Social Media
  • Director
    Shanti Thakur
  • Screenwriter
    Shanti Thakur
  • Producer
    Shanti Thakur, Mark Lipson
  • Cast
  • Cinematographer
    Benjamin Wolf
  • Production Design
    John Monaco
  • Composer
    Quentin Chiappetta
  • Sound Design
    Quentin Chiappetta
  • Music
    Eric Jacobson, Matthew Sullivan, Quentin Chiappetta