Update, Father/Son

This whole blogging thing is new to me, so I struggle with wondering how much to divulge about myself and how much to remain resolutely focused on films. Some blogs resemble odes to navel-gazing streams-of-consciousness; others are more topical.

So I’m back after a few days traveling to my home state of Missouri, where we’ve just had a funeral for my father (60) who passed away last week. I’ve lived away from home for over ten years, and my father and I had many differences–the trip and sorting through my thoughts and feelings have been complex and taxing. At the same time, like these journeys often are, it was also healing in many respects. I suspect the process will continue in both regards for years to come.

During this time, the mail delivered a Region 2 DVD from the UK I pre-ordered months ago and had forgotten about: Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne‘s The Son (2002), a film I watched last spring and along with Russian Ark continues to be my favorite new film I’ve seen all year. (Write New Yorker Films and demand a North American video release.) The Dardenne’s have made documentaries and three fictional features, the first and last of which (La Promesse and The Son) directly confront father/son issues and the relationship between example-setting and individuation, which makes them particular apt viewing for me these days. I hope to get a longer response posted about them later this week.

In addition, a local international film club will be screening Ermanno Olmi‘s The Tree of Wooden Clogs (1978) tonight, a film that has been on my To See list for some time.

Stay tuned for more updates throughout the week…