We'll Never Meet Childhood Again

We'll Never Meet Childhood Again


Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Remember the Romanian orphans? Blasted to the front pages in the 1980s, many of the children – termed “Ceausescu’s babies”, were infected with HIV through contaminated needles and transfusions in orphanages and hospitals and left to die.

Between 1986 and 1989, a staggering 10,000 babies were infected and today 60 per cent of Europe’s HIV positive children are Romanian.

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This is the story of some of those who beat the odds. In 1992, at a hospital in Bucharest, volunteers fought to look after 120 HIV infected children and offer them some quality of life. But, as one of them later puts it: There were 20 kids per 30 metres. In an attempt to improve the children’s lot, in 1993 the first of seven houses was set up, where children could be looked after by foster parents – most of them nurses from the hospital, or teachers.

This is their story, showing the bravery of both the carers and children as they have grown up since. Sam Lawlor and Lindsay Pollock’s film is heartwarming and heartrending by turns. Every story of how the children came to get over some of the worst of their problems or remembrance of the first time they called a carer "mummy", is tempered by a recollection of four children lost to Aids in the space of four years, in just one household or the ever-present spectre of the disease which could yet lay claim to these bubbly youngsters on the brink of adulthood.

By intercutting archive footage with fiercely candid interviews with the ‘house parents’ and video diaries partially recorded by some of the children, Lawlor and Pollock paint a comprehensive picture of bravery in the face of despair. “When they arrived,” says one of the carers, “we had no cooker, no fridge.” Despite that, this couple took receipt of eight four year olds – four boys and four girls – and it’s clear to see their love for these previously forgotten children, even when faced with the new challenges of adolescence.

The children too, are keen to fight, with all of them expressing hopes for the future. Let’s hope they all have long and fruitful ones. We’ll Never Meet Childhood Again (a rather downbeat and unfortunate title for what is, at its very essence, a positive film) gets its world premiere at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival in March – I hope it will have a long and fruitful future at festivals and on televisions across the world, too.

Reviewed on: 02 Mar 2007
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Documentary charting children who have grown up with HIV in Romania and the extraordinary people who have looked after them.

Director: Sam Lawlor and Lindsay Pollock

Year: 2007

Runtime: 80 minutes

Country: UK


Human Rights 2007

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