Love, Dad

One of my favourites of the festival.

Breathtakingly honest to the point of being painfully vulnerable, Diana Nguyen confronts the heartbreak at the centre of her and her father’s relationship. She rediscovers a cache of letters her father sent her when she was a child. He was in prison when she was young, but they wrote back and forth all the time, telling each other about their day, and being open about the things that mattered to them. Despite the physical distance, Diana felt supported, loved and seen.

That changed when he got out of prison. He seemed driven by the need to have a son, and after her mother had three miscarriages, he abandoned the family. He now has a new family, back in Vietnam, with a son, and doesn’t keep in touch with his daughter.

While her father is Vietnamese, Diana is Czech, and she doesn’t understand the hold the old traditions had over him, the idea that if he didn’t bear a son, he would be responsible for the end of his bloodline. The whole film takes the form of a letter, as Diana attempts to comprehend his choice, despite the obvious pain it causes her.

The visuals of the film are made up of these old letters, old family photos and videos. While I normally wouldn’t recommend collage animation and mixed media films for everyone, this is one I definitely would, because it is the most fitting match of media and subject, and while creative, its meaning remains perfectly clear.

The legacy of a love interrupted is laid bare in this brave and intimate film.

If you like this…