Film About A Father Who

***

Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Film About A Father Who
"While there's no doubting the director's commitment and connection to what is happening here, it's more difficult to engage with it as an outside audience."

The open-ended nature of the title of Lynne Sachs intensely personal documentary reflects its content, which was shot by the filmmaker over 35 years. It's a film which, as you might expect for something with such a long gestation, is more about it's rumination on life - more specifically, the life of her father - than something that has been shot with a clear end point in sight.

Lynne's father Ira has represented an enigma to her for her entire life. A bon vivant businessman who, we quickly learn, was a definite player with the, mostly much younger, ladies, he owned a business in Park City, Utah, which explains the film's world premiere at last year's Slamdance. His life emerges in a sort of collage of footage - shot by the director and also by her fellow director brother Ira and their father - while, in between times, Lynne attempts to dig away at what makes him tick.

Copy picture

In terms of that, she doesn't get very far, although the women in Ira Snr's life - from Lynne's mum Diane through to more recent girlfriends - offer often raw considerations of their relationships with him. Gradually, as the years pass, secrets start to emerge as the family becomes a lot bigger than you might have thought possible at the start, its members forming unexpected bonds and connections, while the patriarch remains curiously aloof. Most interesting among Ira Snr's personal relationships is that between him and his mother Rose, a dominant presence who clearly shaped her son's attitudes to women for good and ill.

While there's no doubting the director's commitment and connection to what is happening here, it's more difficult to engage with this dense and fragmented material as an outside audience. There's often a sense that we're prying into an extended family therapy and mediation session rather than watching a film.

Reviewed on: 12 Jan 2021
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Film About A Father Who packshot
The director turns her camera on her father, as she and her siblings find out an increasing number of family secrets.

Director: Lynne Sachs

Writer: Lynne Sachs

Starring: Julia Buchwald-Sachs, Ira Sachs Sr., Adam Sachs, Dana Sachs, Evan Sachs, Ira Sachs

Year: 2020

Runtime: 74 minutes

Country: US

Festivals:

Doc/Fest 2020

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