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My Doukhobor Cousins

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When Janice Benthin vacationed with her mother's Doukhobor relatives in the Kootenays, she sensed that the community held many secrets: the adults spoke Russian in hushed tones, people kept disappearing, and RCMP officers kept constant watch over the community. My Doukhobor Cousins is Benthin's quest for answers to her childhood questions.

The film provides a rare, personal look inside this mysterious spiritual community. Brushing over the differences between competing Doukhobor sects, the Canadian public has tended to see all Doukhobors as dangerous lawbreakers. Bitterness and anger across the lines persist as Benthin and her cousins Lance and Marilyn meet their families, who were torn apart when the government imprisoned hundreds of Doukhobors and forcefully took their children away from them. In this moving portrait of a family in search of its past, we watch as Benthin and her cousins try to reconcile the turbulent history of the Doukhobors with the gentle, troubled people they encounter.

2002, 71 min 18 s