June 11, 2018  (Web Review)

We'll Meet Again

(2017) 2 discs. 360 min. DVD: $34.99 ($64.99 w/PPR). PBS Video (www.teacher.shop.pbs.org). SDH captioned. ISBN: 978-1-5317-0392-9.

Reviewer rating: 3.0/4

Attachments and bonds formed early can shape someone’s entire life. Former Today show host Ann Curry presents this PBS-aired six-part series in which each episode features two examples of life-changing friendships or moments of empathy and compassion that trigger a belated attempt to reunite. Most of these situations are born in crisis. When WWII breaks out, a Japanese girl who is shunned and ordered to enter an internment camp is defended by a courageous classmate. A Jewish boy fleeing Europe with his family to Shanghai faces a new crisis when Japan invades, but forms something of a surrogate family with an Australian couple. The gathering tremors around the Mt. St. Helens volcano in 1980 serve as the backdrop for the heroic actions of a volcanologist and helicopter pilot whose actions help save lives. Two “lost” children from Vietnam look back on a caring American father and another American who volunteered to save a boatload of Vietnamese refugees. Other chapters concern 9/11 and its horrendous aftermath, 1964’s “Freedom Summer” (which sent young people to the South to end segregation and secure voting rights), and two gay men who found generosity and acceptance, allowing them to leave the shadows and embrace their identity. Each episode offers background on the search, usually involving lengthy investigations (with the all-important aid of libraries and archives). In some cases, it’s too late to reunite with now-deceased heroes, but the subjects are determined to press on, meeting half-sisters or sons and daughters, sharing memories and tokens. In each case, the seeker is able to find closure and a sense of peace. A tribute to “big heroism and small heroism,” as well as the abilities of ordinary people to do extraordinary things, this series serves as a nice corrective in our cynical age. Recommended. Aud: P. (S. Rees)