Anyone with siblings will recognise the scenario. An incident from the past comes up and it’s the cue for a well-worn discussion about parental quirks, favouritism and shared family traits. We’ve all been there and, in this film, the Fisher family go there too. They, however, have the conversation while sitting in a tunnel built by their father while he was a prisoner of the Nazis during World War II. It’s intense, emotional, oddly amusing and, in the end, surprisingly universal too. ‘If you put this bit in your film’, quips family joker Ronel, ‘add a parental warning’.
Prompted by film director David Fisher, the middle-aged Fisher children are on a pilgrimage to Austria. They’re retracing their father Joseph’s footsteps during the war so inevitably, much of the journey is harrowing. But eventually, there’s a vivid sense of closure too. The town of Gusen, which once housed a concentration camp, looks beautiful in the snow and boasts an incongruously jolly brass band. Everyone moves on because everyone must. Eventually, the Fisher children look like they’re making peace with the past too.
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