Documentarian Sarah McCarthy (The Sound of Mumbai: A Musical) returns to the Festival with this extraordinary portrait of a Wisconsin family’s struggle to bond with a trio of Russian orphans — the last such case to predate Russia’s controversial recent ban on adoptions by Americans.

TIFF Docs

The Dark Matter of Love

Sarah McCarthy

Can love be learned? That's the question at the heart of this complex story about adoption. Former Disney employees Claudio and Cheryl Diaz live in a Wisconsin suburb with their biological teenage daughter, Cami. Now they're preparing to rapidly expand their household by adopting three children from Russia: eleven-year-old Masha and an unrelated pair of five-year-old twins, Marcel and Vadim. The new arrivals will have their names changed and take on a new home, language and society. Nothing can prepare the Diaz family for what's to come.

Director Sarah McCarthy previously made the Festival hit The Sound of Mumbai: A Musical. Once again she's drawn to what happens when dreams collide with reality. She follows the Diaz family for the first year of their new family dynamic. Woven into their story is a thread examining the science in the field of developmental psychology. What happens in the dark matter of the brain? Drawing upon decades of research, Dr. Robert Marvin has moulded a program to teach parent-child bonding. He works closely with the Diaz family to break emotional barriers and build a love bond.

Not long ago Russian president Vladimir Putin put a ban on further US adoptions from his country after a headline-making case of a match gone wrong. This film sheds light on the human side of those politics. The Diaz family is a testament to the mix of perseverance, improvisation, and blind faith required for parenting. It is extraordinary to witness in compressed time the ability of parents and children to adapt over the course of a year. The Dark Matter of Love shows we all have a lot to learn.

THOM POWERS

Screenings

Sat Sep 07

TIFF Bell Lightbox 3

Regular
3:00pm
Sun Sep 08

Scotiabank 9

Industry
9:30am
Mon Sep 09

The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema

Regular
5:15pm
Fri Sep 13

Scotiabank 3

Regular
5:45pm