Sasha Joseph Neulinger revisits family footage and the dark history of abuse that lies behind it. He interviews members of his family and revisits important places from his past. Gradually he is able to explore his childhood trauma and finds a way out.
Rewind is testament to the awe inspiring perseverance of the human soul. Neulinger and his sister talk heartbreakingly frankly about the abuse they experiences and their emotional reactions to it. Neulinger’s father also opens up about the horrific things that happened to him and there’s a powerful sense of catharsis to these people being able to share their experiences and relate to each other. This is a documentary that feels like a healing process. It’s purpose is powerfully evident.
The identity of the abuser is initially withheld, coming as a midpoint revelation whilst several possible suspects are introduced. Whilst this kind of guessing game over the identity of child abusers may seem distasteful it creates a frightening sense of the unknown. Neulinger’s parents had no idea where the danger was coming from and their child was unable to tell them. The helplessness of seeing this child in the footage surrounded by potential details is powerful and relatable.
Rewind is a very difficult film to watch, featuring vivid details of child sexual abuse, but it’s a film that emphasises the importance of communication as a therapeutic tool. From the drawings young Sasha drew which exposed his attackers to this film itself, the act of telling is itself a victory and a liberation. It’s an important statement that must be experienced.