Director Klaartje Quirijns delves into her own history and the roles of parents and children. What makes us who we are, and what is the fault of our (ancestors) parents? Generations transfer trauma, that’s it, right?
“Your Mum and Dad” immediately catches the eye because of the Bromet approach, asking a questioning filmmaker off screen. The undersigned finds it quickly guiding, especially when it comes to an ego document. Quirijns supports her argument with vivid images of her own daughters, who talk about parental love in a family context. Also beautiful are the poetic quotes by Saul Bellow (“don’t look for the dead, they are looking for you”) and Philip Larkin (“They fuck you up, your mum and dad. They may not mean to, but they do”).
Digging into the past, a loveless but adventurous father whom the creator called Kees, is a little flirting with grief. After all, every house has its cross. The last thing Klaartje heard from Kees is that he ran off with an African princess without money. It might be interesting when she calls him again. The bird of paradise sounds like a tipsy Maarten Spanjer; she is the adult in the conversation. There are so many like that.
Why can’t her broken father get attached? The answer is not given while the key is in the lock. There is a deceased child, which Quirijn’s mother can tell about. Then again Quirijns fans out to New York, where everyone has a therapist, as if the New Yorkers float like angels. It’s nice, but the story of Quirijn’s New York ex Michael, abused by his mother, is also distracting. Especially when his therapist brings up his own grievances.
The daughters’ adolescent drama coincides more naturally with the film than the grief of the adults. Quirijns is also a mother off-screen, and that works thanks to the close-ups. It is a bit like psychoanalysis, which also works thanks to the open teens, who clearly maintain a close relationship with Quirijns. This keeps the film sympathetic. At the same time, there seems to have been more in it, especially with regard to the focus on one specific story.