Review: Father (2019)

Director: Isabel Lamberti | 24 minutes | short film, documentary

‘Vader’ is a sensitive short documentary about a father who has not seen his teenage son for almost six years. Father Jacinto takes his son Shakur (meaning “thankful”) on a short road trip to the coast. In an effort to mend old ties, the two gradually come closer together.

The setting of ‘Vader’ is gray and pale and is reminiscent of the Belgian coast, which often consists of disconsolate concrete. Father and son are anything but sentimental and as a viewer you wonder what happened and whether they are not going all over the place. Little by little you begin to understand the relationship between the two more. They turn out not to be the greatest of talkers, but they seem to say a lot to each other in their own language. Jacinto can talk to is his girlfriend, who is sometimes literally there on screen. While on the phone, Jacinto reflects on his past and how he can restore the relationship with his son.

Director Isabel Lamberti pays a lot of attention to details. She knows how to make something small out of something big, so that that small thing gets more value. ‘Vader’ is an intimate and moving documentary. Both the cinematography and the edit are daring, which makes the film playful, but you don’t lose your focus. ‘Father’ is what a short film should be. You get enough background information in all its subtlety, but nothing is completely sorted out. Space is left for your own perspective and opinion.

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