A Family Affair

  • Tom Fassaert
  • Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark
  • 2015
  • 110 min
  • World Premiere
  • IDFA Competition for Feature-Length Documentary, IDFA Competition for Dutch Documentary, IDFA DOC U Competition
“Marianne Hertz: Model and Perfect Mother.” This is how filmmaker Tom Fassaert’s grandmother was presented in a 1950s magazine. His father, uncle and aunt smile awkwardly when he makes them read it out loud: their childhood was far from perfect. Her two sons ended up in a children’s home at a young age, and the relationship with their now 95-year-old mother remains troubled. Not long after his father broke off all contact with her, Marianne invites Fassaert to visit her in South Africa, where she started a new life years ago. He accepts and takes his camera, hoping to find the missing pieces in the family history. Why is there so much disappointment and resentment on both sides, and why was it never discussed? But while Marianne eagerly embraces his interest in her, she blatantly refuses to talk about “that family affair.” Grandma will not be directed, and in an extraordinary and completely unexpected way, she dismisses the very role her grandson is trying to bring into focus: that of a mother and grandmother.


  • 110 min
  • color
  • DCP
  • Spoken languages: Dutch, English
  • Subtitles in: English
Tom Fassaert
Wout Conijn for Conijn Film
Danish Documentary, Clin d'Oeil films, Danish Documentary Production
Tom Fassaert
Claudio Hughes

IDFA history

World Premiere
IDFA Competition for Feature-Length Documentary
IDFA Competition for Dutch Documentary
IDFA DOC U Competition

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IDFA history

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