________________ CM . . . . Volume VI Number 18 . . . . May 12, 2000

cover One Divided By Two: Kids and Divorce.

Joyce Borenstein (Director, Producer, Animator). Edeet Ravel (Writer). Rhona Bezonsky-Jacobs (Consulting Psychologist).
Montreal, PQ: The National Film Board of Canada, 1997.
24 min., VHS, $39.95.
Order Number: C9197 196.

Subject Headings:
Divorced parents.
Children of divorced parents.
Divorce-Psychological aspects.

Grades 4 and up / Ages 9 and up.
Review by Katie Cook.

*** /4

One Divided by Two focuses on 13 young people (aged 8-18) whose parents have been through a divorce. Each child's story begins with footage of the child talking. Then, the vehicle changes to animation as the thoughts and feelings being discussed are shown in line animation, both in color and in shades of black, white, and gray. The animation is excellent, seamlessly flowing from idea to idea and from child to child. Block color highlights the feelings being described. Because the sections for each child are very short, the video does not get bogged down. No lessons or morals are given. Rather, viewers have to interpret the ideas, thoughts, and feelings described by each youngster.

Younger viewers may have trouble with this exercise and may not follow the video very well. However, the majority of the children speaking are upper elementary or junior high school students. Older viewers may not feel that they have anything in common with these younger children. Some of the children describe their dreams after their parents divorced. These dream sequences could frighten some younger children as the color choices reflect the anxiety and dislocation experienced during divorce.

A highlight of the video is that it is entirely narrated by children. No adults speak or ask questions. The children openly share their experiences. Their voices are clear and easy to understand. They speak in "kid language" which gives more impact to what they are saying. While they must obviously have been coached and rehearsed, the clips look entirely natural. The sections where the children speak are divided by slightly longer sequences of fiction that expand on what the children have said (but always in the voices of the children themselves).

In addition to teachers and guidance counselors, this video would be useful for parents and children experiencing divorce.


Katie Cook is a social studies teacher and a teacher-librarian at the Steinbach Regional Secondary School in Steinbach, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364