First-time filmmaker, Theresa Ortolani, ferries us along a self-reflexive search for her biological roots, weaving a cinematic dreamscape of intimate, lyrical storytelling. After a lifetime of separation, her birth parents are reunited across oceans by the infant they surrendered. A Pandora’s Box is unearthed, paradoxically provoking estrangement, deeper uncertainty, and saudades.
In the decades surrounding Roe v. Wade, the middle-American veil of secrecy fashioned to enshroud a birth mother’s shame forced women into homes for unwed mothers, coercing them into surrendering their unborn to adoption and unlawfully sealing their identities. Saudade incises those seals, exposing lifetimes of secrecy and wounding to allow for regeneration.
“Theresa Ortolani made a documentary that is also an art film. She has developed a new visual language for documentary and she films her subjects with compassion. A true Artist” – Maryse Alberti
“Profoundly disturbing, beautiful and taking you too the intimacy of an imagined childhood. Theresa Ortolani is touching her life in an utmost singularity, of course, but also universally. The combination of alterity and intimacy and the search of time, neither lost nor gained, time … is this film.” – Hubertus von Amelunxen
“Saudade is exceptional – a great story well told in a complex way. [The audience is] me; me and my friends; anyone who thinks…. Film Forum, IFC…” – Elisabeth Biondi