‘An Elephant in the Room’ | SXSW Review

‘The children are our future’ and ‘Think of the children’. Both phrases used all too commonly to espouse a political standing, or used in the wrong frame of context. We live in the same world as children but in very different corners of it when it comes to our ideology, our capacity for forgiveness and tolerance, and how we communicate those fears to each other. ‘An Elephant In The Room’, is the last documentary by Danish filmmaker Katrine Philp and attempts to pull back the veil between what we see in a child’s life. It’s a heartbreaking yet inspiring look at the strong and Courageous kids of our world and is the strongest film I’ve seen come out of SXSW this year.

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It’s no wonder ‘An Elephant In The Room’ won the best documentary at this year’s SXSW. The film takes a look at the children a part of the Good Greif Community Program, who’s mission is to normalize grief in our communities through education, advocacy and year-round grief support programs for grieving children, teens, and adults. This covers a year of different children’s experience in the program and how it is helping them cope with extreme loss. What was heartbreaking at times when watching these kids describe their worst moments often ended up showing the resilience and ability of forgiveness every kid had in the film and what made it such an interesting watch.

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Children are far too often told to suppress their feeling, and we as adults have a duty, a moral obligation, to guide them through the toughest pains of humanity. Adults, kids, we suffer loss at the same levels, but with this doc, we are allowed to see open communication ad empathy in the toughest times. These children are resilient. I was surprised by some of their reactions, horrified by the stories each of the 6 kids followed went through, and still, the gift of laughter and love that these kids still had the capacity for is overwhelming.

As adults, we compartmentalize everything. We bury our feeling deep down, and hope that will be enough to get along in life. What ‘An Elephant in the Room’ shows so beautifully is how important communication and vulnerability is essential for moving on from trials. It’s a damn shame this documentary didn’t get its chance to debut on a silver screen. But I would highly recommend it to anyone and am so thankful to have gotten to see it now.

 

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