51 Birch Street

Thematic Family Affairs Curated by Ross McElwee

Within a few months of his mother’s unexpected death, Doug Block is stunned to learn that his father, Mike, plans to move to Florida to live with Kitty, who was his secretary some forty years before. Perplexed and hurt by his father’s decision, Block realizes that there may be more to his parent’s fifty-four-year marriage than he imagined. In helping his father pack up the family home, Block uncovers his mother’s diaries, the contents of which propel him to embark, with camera in hand, on a journey to understand the parents he thought he knew. What results is an excavation at once literal and figurative, personal and universal, pieced together through faded snapshots, 8mm home movies, and two decades of verité footage. Lies and deceit, love and misunderstanding, timeless themes of marriage and family, are signposts throughout Block’s affecting pursuit of closure.  ST


Doug Block


Doug Block, Lori Cheatle


Amy Seplin


Doug Block

Release Year


Festival Year



United States

Run Time

88 minutes