Look a Doll! My Mother’s Story


60 mins

Lijn’s parents belonged to a generation of Jews who faced extermination. Through their stories as in a cracked and tarnished mirror, Lijn sees herself reflected as if she were formed before her birth by the choices which they made.

Look a Doll! explores Lijn’s mother’s childhood in Russia and Poland, using interviews, photomontage and archive film clips. She had started to interview her mother on tape in 1994, having had a dream in which Lijn saw her fall from their collapsing home. She has lost everything, she thought either during or just after the dream, even her name and renamed herself Sylvana Bismark. This Lijn then decided was to be the title of her autobiography. When Lijn began to write, she realised she knew very little about her origins or her parents. From this belated interest came Her Mother’s Voice, and having completed that book, Lijn wanted to see what would happen if she tried to film her mother and ask her to tell the same story…

In this film she evokes in intimate and moving detail the history of a Jewish woman born into the 20th century and a memory of family life for the survivors of the holocaust.

60 minutes shot on Sony digital video, edited on Beta SP

Camera: John Bulmer, Editor: Michael Franks, Rostrum Camera: Ken Morse

Made with the financial aid of the London Production Fund