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TURBULENCE is a film-memoir, though really, it is a multi-layered tale of how the presence of absence can become a place to be filled by love. It is a story about how our losses—of loved ones, of family, of home—and bearing witness to the pain and grief of others, affect our sense of place in the world. And, it is about how these invisible forces found expression in my films. 

Over the years making this film, I kept wondering where the urge to keep going came from. The truth is, at the core of TURBULENCE is a question we all face: how do we live past the heartbreaks, sorrows and traumas we endure or witness and come out whole? 


It started with a tumble, a broken foot, and a renewed obsession with hiking despite the pain. From this evolved TURBULENCE, a moving, intimate memoir by award-winning filmmaker Anne Aghion (MY NEIGHBOR MY KILLER, ICE PEOPLE).

In TURBULENCE, Anne Aghion grapples with the long ignored, but life-long effects of losing her mother at age ten, and of growing up with her father’s memories of life during the Holocaust.

Still a little girl, Anne Aghion coped with her mother’s death by drawing a curtain on all memories of her life until then. Whatever she felt was brushed aside by a teenage rebellion that landed her in trouble with the law. As an adult, she was drawn to making movies about survival in the most extreme circumstances, finding people who were discarded by their countries through poverty or genocide—which brought her new traumas—or who willingly put themselves in the coldest, most desolate place on earth in the name of science.

Acclaimed by critics and audiences alike for her work, Anne Aghion insisted for decades that she was fine, until, inevitably, she was not. Ignoring the pain in her foot brought home, literally, that this was a habit that dated to her childhood. A reckoning was due.

In TURBULENCE, Anne Aghion brings us on her decades-long global odyssey, which she recounts in a series of tender and honest letters to the mother she barely remembers, but uncannily resembles. She tells the story of her life with a visually stunning and sometimes striking collage of home movies, clips of her films, original animated artwork and new footage shot in India, France, and New York.

With TURBULENCE, a dozen years in the making, Anne Aghion has created both a personal work, and a deeply moving, universal story of overcoming loss to find resolution and peace.

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“You know, Mom, I’ve often wanted to make a film about you, about me– well… about our story–but I never got around to it.
And then, one day, I fell. I walked on my foot for months, not knowing it was broken, disconnected from the pain. It took several years for me to realize that I had carried this fracture in me since your death.
I finally decided to make this film in order to walk, and to tell you what your death, what death and everything else had shaped me into.”

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