Children of Fate

Institute History


In 1961 two young American filmmakers, Robert Young (The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez) and Michael Roemer (The Plot Against Harry), went to Sicily to document for NBC the severe social conditions in Cortile Cascino, a Palermo slum, Shooting in striking black and white, they focused their cameras on one family, at the heart of which was Angela, a mother of enormous courage struggling to help her family survive amidst poverty, Violence and crime_ The resultant documentary, called Cortile Cascino, was deemed "too powerful" for American television audiences. Curious about what had become of Angela and her family since their slum was torn down in the sixties, Young returned to Sicily in 1988 with his son Andrew, and daughter-in-law Susan Todd. Finding Angela and the remaining members of her family still in Palermo, they decided to make anew film, interweaving the 1961 footage with new color sections shot in 1991.

Children of Fate, encompassing three generations in one family, is a heart-wrenching depiction of the difficulty of escaping the fate dictated by one's origins. Although Angela eventually left her abusive husband, most of her children have been in prison, and are uneducated and unemployed. A litany of tragedies is revealed; yet Angela, her children, and now her grandchildren continue to make their way in the world, not only surviving, but occasionally succeeding in changing their fortunes, if only modestly. Searing and unforgettable, the thirty-year arc of Children of Fate leaves an indelible imprint on the viewer.

Friday Jan 22 1:00 pm
Holiday Village Cinema I

Saturday Jan 24 4:00 pm
Holiday Village Cinema I

Wednesday Jan 27 10:00 pm
Holiday Village Cinema I

Friday Jan 29 10:00 am
Egyptian Theatre


— Robert Hawk

Screening Details

Sundance Film Festival Awards

As you use our Online Archives, please understand that the information presented from Festivals, Labs, and other activities is taken directly from official publications from each year. While this information is limited and doesn't necessarily represent the full list of participants (e.g. actors and crew), it is the list given to us by the main film/play/project contact at the time, based on the space restrictions of our publications. Each entry in the Online Archives is meant as a historical record of a particular film, play, or project at the time of its involvement with Sundance Institute. For this reason, we can only amend an entry if a name is misspelled, or if the entry does not correctly reflect the original publication. If you have questions or comments, please email [email protected]