New Documentary “Film About a Father Who” Explores Intriguing Family Dynamics
March 3, 2021
By Mary Magsamen
For filmmaker Lynne Sachs, the action of reflecting, recording, and editing a film about her family produces a pretty crazy personal narrative: the new documentary feature Film About a Father Who.
Exploring the contradictions and melodrama of her own family, Sachs created her film from footage she has been assembling since 1984, weaving together a visually textural film about her father and siblings with honesty and openness. Her talent is visible because she makes it all look so easy. For film enthusiasts, it is noteworthy that Sachs takes inspiration for the film’s title from the avant-garde 1974 feature Film About a Woman Who.
Sachs’s father, Ira Sachs, Sr.—a colorful personality and resident of Park City, Utah—made a living as a hotel developer and enjoyed partying with women on and off the ski slopes. He fathered nine children by five women, creating this dynamic story.
I had the pleasure of seeing this film at the Slamdance Film Festival, a more-independent alternative to the Sundance Film Festival, both of which take place in Park City, Utah—clearly the right place to premiere this film. I love Film About a Father Who because it demonstrates the director’s filmmaking skills as she unfolds decades of complicated family interactions, particularly with her father. Family can bring out the worst in us, but for the Sachs family, it seems to knit them together, even if uncomfortably.
I asked Lynne about the feedback she has gotten from audiences.
“After watching my film, a man exactly my age wrote to me from Oklahoma to say that he wanted to share the story of his relationship with his mother, and his discovery of adult siblings he had never known. I have had so many conversations with people who told me that their experience of watching my film gave them insight into their own thinking about the imprint of our parents on all of us as children.” —Lynne Sachs
About the Author
Mary Magsamen is the curator at Aurora Picture Show and an artist who works in collaboration with her husband, Stephan Hillerbrand, as Hillerbrand+Magsamen.