Veteran filmmaker Doug Block had every reason to believe his parent’s 54-year marriage was a good one. But when his mother dies unexpectedly and his father swiftly remarries his former secretary, he discovers a family history far more complex than he ever imagined.
51 BIRCH STREET is the heartbreaking and unexpectedly funny first-person account of Block’s unpredictable journey through a whirlwind of dramatic life-changing events: the death of his mother, the uncovering of decades of family secrets, and the ensuing reconciliation with his father.
51 BIRCH STREET spans 60 years and 3 generations, and weaves together hundreds of faded snapshots, 8mm home movies and two decades of verité footage. What begins as his own intimate, autobiographical story soon evolves into a broader meditation on the universal themes of love, marriage, fidelity and the mystery of family.
2005 // USA // 88 min
" Fascinating ... Mr. Block has put his parents’ life, and his own, into this film with such warmth and candor that it may take more than one viewing to recognize it as a work of art."
— A.O Scott, The New York Times
Read the fascinating New York Times feature " Mom Dies, Dad Doesn't Grieve, and So a Film Is Born".
" As engrossing as any murder mystery but without melodrama or histrionics."
"Through haunting home movies, Mina's diaries and interviews with Mike, a raw, riveting portrait emerges of what a child sees in his parents' relationship and what lies beneath."
— Peter Travers, Rolling Stone