El Father Plays Himself

  • Mo Scarpelli
  • Venezuela, United Kingdom, Italy, United States, Canada
  • 2020
  • 105 min
  • Dutch Premiere
  • Best of Fests

When Jorge Thielen Armand set out to make a film about the life of his maverick father, who plays himself in the lead role (La Fortaleza, which competed at the International Film Festival Rotterdam in 2020), Mo Scarpelli accompanied the film crew to make a behind-the-scenes documentary. With a keen eye for detail and emotion, she documented the shooting of the movie which largely took place in harsh conditions in the Venezuelan jungle.

For the charismatic, alcoholic father and his director son, the film is an opportunity to make up for lost time. But can “El Father” handle the confrontation with his turbulent life? And how far will the son go in manipulating his actor to get the desired result on film?

In an observational style, Scarpelli presents a close-up view of the father-son dynamics, which—partly due to the stress of the film shoot—swing back and forth between explosive and enviably intimate. Home videos of the young father and son add a moving and poignant layer.

Credits

  • 105 min
  • color
  • DCP
  • Spoken languages: Spanish
  • Subtitles in: English
Director
Mo Scarpelli
Production
Mo Scarpelli / Rake Films, Manon Ardisson for Ardimages UK, Rodrigo Michelangeli for La Faena Films
Executive producer
Edward Power for Channel 6 Media, Gordon Culley, Justin Madhany, Bart van den Broek for FeverFilm
Cinematography
Mo Scarpelli
Editing
Juan Soto Taborda

IDFA history

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