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.