Father (Vader)

Father is a short film about a father-son relationship. Jacinto picks up his teenage son Shakur for a long weekend break by the seaside.

The film is full of the quite mundane, standard parental activities, like buying Shakur a new tracksuit, and asking how he’s getting on in school, along with the dreich holiday classics of playing chess and going ten pin bowling. When you are a kid you always roll your eyes at how your parents get so invested in such rinkydink shit. It’s only when you grow up you realise that most things in this world have teeth and sharp edges, and this rinkydink shit is probably the last truly, harmlessly nice things you’ll do together.

Shakur doesn’t seem to be the kind of sullen wean I was. He seems genuinely pleased to be spending time with his father, even if his demeanour is not overly animated. You get the sense that he places as much value on his time with his father as his father does with him.

From the outset, you are told that Shakur doesn’t live with his father, and despite his fierce love, Jacinto has only seen his son sporadically. Throughout the film, Jacinto phones his girlfriend in the evening to keep in touch, and she asks how their day has been. At the end of the film, Jacinto talks to her about what it was like when social work came and took Shakur away. Without going into detail about the cause, he just talks sadly about how everything felt out of his control back then. That the worst thing about it was not being in control of whether you saw your kid or not, like for this trip, having to ask the social if you can take your kid to the seaside for the weekend and have them tell you they’d check and make sure it was convenient for the foster parents, then let you know.

Whatever has happened in the past, it’s obvious from the trip that both the father and the son want to have a relationship with one another, and are willing to put in the time and vulnerability to make it happen.

Heartwarming wee film.