"When Mother Comes Home for Christmas... is the product of extraordinary persistence, empathy and intelligence; it opens up the emotional lives of an entire family and reveals, in heartbreakingly direct fashion, the true meaning of the phrase "global economy.

The most remarkable thing about When Mother Comes Home for Christmas…is perhaps the way Nilita Vachani's camera stays with Josephine for the entire month in Sri Lanka, as if it were a fifth member of the family. I can think of few recent films that have offered such an intimate human drama while at the same time connecting the dots between rich and poor, First World and Third."
Stuart Klawans, The Nation, May 13, 1996 

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"An accomplished documentary with the narrative texture and emotional involvement of a dramatic feature, When Mother Comes Home for Christmas… transforms a story of everyday hardship and sacrifice into a moving example of unsung heroism. Told with warmth, restraint and a genuine feel for the sometimes unfathomable bonds of family, this is ideal material for docufests, and quality foreign-language webs worldwide.

U.S. trained Indian filmmaker Nilita Vachani lays out the details of Josephine's life with patience and matter-of-fact objectivity. While the film could benefit from being slightly shortened, the material's emotional force grows steadily constructing an engrossing portrait of an uncomplaining woman shouldering formidable burdens alone."
David Rooney, Variety, Feb 26-March 3, 1996

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"Noble and Self-Sacrificing, A Long-Distance Mother: If one were being facetious, Josephine Perera, the subject of Nilita Vachani's documentary film, When Mother Comes Home for Christmas could be described as a Sri Lankan answer to Mildred Pierce. A widowed mother of three, who selflessly dedicates her life for her ungrateful brood, Josephine is one of thousands of Sri Lankan women who have left their country to earn high salaries (by Sri Lankan standards) as domestics elsewhere."

Stephen Holden, The New York Times, Mar 30, 1996

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"Though it gives the impression of a dramatic feature, the film is authentic 'cinema truth'. The director's skill allows her to select different narrative rhythms, depending on the scenes she documents, while what absolutely distinguishes her work, besides her feminist and humanistic point of view, is the total respect for the people she focusses on."
Eleni Andrikopoulou, Thessaloniki, 1996

"An authentic work that wins appreciation for its boldness and humanity"

Katerina Mandenaki, AVGI, 1996

"Cinema-verite in all its magnificence and with deeply touching scenes, which, never for a moment become melodrama. The subject: a housemaid from Sri Lanka, who lives and works in Athens, goes back to her country for Christmas. The camera follows her everywhere, in Athens, in Tinos, in Sri Lanka, and documents her life. A heart-rending film with a nobility of soul."

Jason Triandafyllidis, Adesmeftos Typos, 1996

When Mother Comes Home for Christmas

REVIEWS: Excerpts

Nilita Vachani