Scene from the film Instructions on Parting
Scene from the film Instructions on Parting
Scene from the film Instructions on Parting
Scene from the film Instructions on Parting
Scene from the film Instructions on Parting

Instructions on Parting

  • United States
Audio Tracks 

"We were drawn to Jenkins's film for its inventive use of form (blending stop motion vignettes of nature, video journals and answering machine messages) to craft an intimate and tactile exploration of death, grief and motherhood. It reminds us a bit of a Ross McElwee film in its intimate familial relations and its autobiographical nature - but with less ironic distance and more raw emotion." - DOXA

Weaving cinéma vérité with breathtaking vignettes of nature unfolding, Instructions on Parting tells a story of transformation, grief, and the collective human journey. As Director Amy Jenkins welcomes her first child into the world, she also must negotiate the cancer diagnoses of her mother and sister, whom fall ill within the same year. Crafted from Jenkins’ video journals and narrated through answering machine messages, the film is a closely observed elegy to the ever-changing seasons and to the indelible love between family generations. Revealing the ways that the senses are heightened at times of trauma, Jenkins, a visual artist, turns her camera to interrogate loss. Her vulnerability leads us to a daring acceptance of our own mortality and a reverence for life’s fleeting beauty.


  • Original title
    Instructions on Parting
  • Direction
  • Editing
    Amy Jenkins, Bára Jíchová Tyson
  • Music
    Noah Hoffeld
  • Sound
    Jim Dawson
  • Duration
    95 min (91+ min.)
  • Year
  • Country
    • United States
  • Colour
    • Colour
  • Festivals
    • Doc Fortnight Festival, New York
    • Sydney Film Festival, Australia
    • DOXA Film Festival, Vancouver
  • Awards
    • BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: Athens International Film and Video Festival, Athens, Ohio
    • FILMMAKER OF THE YEAR: New Hampshire Film Festival, Portsmouth, NH is powered by Doc Alliance, a creative partnership of 7 key European documentary film festivals. Our aim is to advance the documentary genre, support its diversity and promote quality creative documentary films.

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