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Review: Overcoming tragedy in 'Seeds of Resiliency'

Susan Polis Schutz's film features 12 remarkable examples of triumph. Unfortunately, it amounts to a lot of surface-skimming and reliance on platitudes over context.

October 25, 2012|By Robert Abele
  • A scene from the movie "Seeds of Resiliency."
A scene from the movie "Seeds of Resiliency." ("Seeds of Resiliency" trailer )

The 12 men and women featured in Susan Polis Schutz's documentary "Seeds of Resiliency" have all worked awfully hard at overcoming tragedy, even if Schutz herself hasn't done a whole lot to make her film little more than a strung-together collection of interviews set to piano muzak.

More like something you'd see at a seminar on perseverance than a movie, the featured interviewees are nevertheless remarkable examples of triumph: a young man born with spina bifida who can do flips in his wheelchair, an escapee of Idi Amin's regime who now helps African refugees, a Korean professor who quickly returned to teaching after becoming a quadriplegic.

But it's jarring to jump from a homeless guy who righted his life to images of Auschwitz and the stories of three Holocaust survivors, one of whom had to dance for Josef Mengele after watching him send her mother to the gas chamber.

There's an equivalency of recovery implied, and a "here's another, and another" vibe that might rub some people the wrong way — at the very least, it amounts to a lot of surface-skimming and reliance on platitudes over context.

"Seeds of Resiliency." No MPAA rating. Running time: 1 hour. At Laemmle's Music Hall, Beverly Hills; Laemmle's Town Center 5, Encino.

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