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Ukraine is NOT Weak

Take this, Angelina Jolie: Olga Nenya is a foster parent in Ukraine who has mothered a brood of children whose number varies; some descriptions say 16, others up to 23. At any rate, it's a lot of screaming, runny noses, diaper changes, and food receipts. In her new documentary, Family Portrait in Black and White, director Julia Ivanova became a fly on the iron wall of this Stalinist matriarch's home for three years, where the children -- most of them the racially undesired offspring of visiting African students and local Ukrainian girls -- were raised to be members of the socialist collective, not individual achievers. This becomes a problem as the children grow into adulthood. But Ivanova doesn't judge the impenetrable supermom, and the even-handed quality of her directing has led to glowing reviews across the board, including a selection at last year's Sundance Film Festival. Even the webzine Slant, which hates almost everything, granted the film three stars, comparing Ivanova's style to the Maysles Brothers, cinema's kings of documentary naturalism. Family Portrait in Black and White opens Saturday and runs through September 13 at the Lake Worth Playhouse, located at 713 Lake Ave. in Lake Worth. Tickets cost $6 to $9. Call 561-586-6410, or visit
Sept. 9-13, 2012
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John Thomason
Contact: John Thomason

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