Problem Family: We know the concept, but what is it actually? How are things in such a house? And what is causing the problems? Filmmaker Sahar Maraji goes in search of answers in the four parts of the Lost Children documentary series.
For three months, Sahar was immersed in the lives of three “problem families”. She would spend time with them daily, sometimes for 24 hours at a time. “I hope to give the viewer, as well as welfare institutions and the government, a good picture of what is happening in a problem family.
I’ve previously made series about abuse, addiction, and crime, such as Tygo in the GHB and Vernaedd. In the research phase, many people said they came from a troubled family. It made me curious about how upbringing in such a family would work. With Lost Children showed that.”
How are things going?
“In such a family there is one or more problems every day. Sometimes something lurks in the background, and sometimes something really happens. Family fun moments and difficulties alternate constantly. For the series, I followed Astrid’s family. She entered their home while she and her husband were arguing; she She argued with her ex-husband that morning; the children were covered in shingles; and the house was packed.
I almost felt part of these families
I know from my other documentaries that people often think: a difficult childhood means one without love. I was curious if this is true. How much warmth and affection is there? The three families I followed were very loving. This series also shows how it is possible to become or remain a problem family.
Can you lift a corner of the veil?
“If you have a problem and you’re in a stable environment, it’s easier to get the attention you need. But if everyone in the family has a problem, then everyone needs the same attention, and you have to give it too. That way you end up in a way.” clogged, and the problems only get worse.
We see this with his mom, Meryl. She suffers from stress and has a daughter, Nohemy, who has autism spectrum disorder and an emotion regulation disorder. Nohemy has to learn to deal with this, and he needs to rest. Meryl must support her daughter, while also longing for peace. This preoccupation exacerbates Merrill’s overstimulation.”
These families share their story
in missing children Sahar follows three families, each with different problems.
Marjolene and Ronald live in Friesenveen and have three children: Florijn, Gondar and Lind. Everyone in this family is talented, but the family members also suffer from psychological problems. Three years ago, the parents sought help from youth services, but have since been embroiled in a battle with child protection. They receive a report that one of their children may be placed under supervision. For better care and education of their children, the family decided to move to Belgium.
Astrid and Peter live in North Amsterdam and have four children: Roden, Rowan, Rowena and Wendy. The family has serious financial problems, a very small home, and unresolved trauma. Almost every day the bucket overflows, and this creates an explosive atmosphere in the house.
Meryl and Gerson live in Rotterdam and have two children: Isai and Nohime. Nohemy has autism and an emotion regulation disorder, Meryl is overwhelmed by the pressure of caring for Nohemy. Gerson has ADD, and little Isai is very busy. The parents do everything they can to provide an orderly and peaceful home environment
It was “extremely difficult” for Sahar to live so intensely with families. “It’s one of the hardest docuseries I’ve made. I usually follow one person, and now I live with three families. The parents experienced intense emotions – such as grief, frustration and panic – because it revolved around their children. Suffering from the pain of these parents made it heavy. I almost felt “I feel like I’m part of these families, so I really had to switch after the day of shooting. Sometimes that came with tears. But I thought it was worth it, because I wanted these people to tell their story.”
Magic wants to show that the world is not black and white. “When it comes to relationships, we cannot judge situations as right or wrong. When you are willing to accept that there is a gray area – for example in parenting – you will gain more understanding of each other. Moreover, choices come from your history and your intentions. The families in this series show that. We hope this helps us understand each other better.”