The Lingering Memory of a Bad Film

It’s surprising the things that you remember, things that stick in your mind despite yourself, passing experiences which would be better forgotten, but which linger.

When I was in Paris a couple of weeks ago I went to see an incomprehensible film, but I keep thinking about it, largely wondering how the director managed to get anyone to give him money to make such a dog’s breakfast of a film, and then persuade a cinema to show it. Or how no-one told him along the way that the rigmarole wasn’t going to communicate anything to anyone who didn’t know about the subject already; and given that the whole thing was meant to be a tribute to his father, why he made such a mess of it.

Lullaby to My Father is a French, Swiss Israeli co-produced film by Amos Gitai.  Since seeing the film, my research on the internet has revealed that his father, Munio Gitai Weinraub, was a Bauhaus trained architect who emigrated from Germany to escape the Nazis settling in Israel where he built lots of houses.  It’s a shame that none of this information could be deduced from the film.

Variety  didn’t care much for the film either remarking that it disdains the delivery of facts in any comprehensible manner, making it a boring film about someone with a fascinating history.  That pretty much covers it.

Instead, we sat through lots and lots continuous shots of waves, train tracks and a journey around a building, inducing in this viewer a queasy motion sickness especially when I needed to read the subtitles when the voice-overs were in German and Hebrew.  And when I wasn’t feeling seasick, there were rather pedestrian staged readings of real historic documents to endure, and a mysterious woman in Warsaw.

It was such a wasted opportunity, and that’s why I think it keeps bugging me.

But after we left the cinema we went for oysters, so at least the evening ended well.

%d bloggers like this: