This deeply personal doc from London filmmaker Josh Appignanesi (‘The Infidel’) starts out as a self-shot memoir about trying to start a family and sustain oneself as an artist, a father and a husband. But it becomes something more difficult and soul-searching as events take over.
The film is directed and written by both Appignanesi and his wife Devorah Baum, an academic. But it’s his perspective to which we’re locked, not least as Baum is sometimes reluctant. ‘A guy filming himself at home, it’s just masturbation,’ Appignanesi comments. And, yes, the act of filming becomes the film’s subject, raising questions about how much you can ever make an ‘observational’ film about yourself without slipping into performance.
But there’s much more here than high-minded self-inquiry as real life overtakes the nervy self-reflection and offers equal amounts of tragedy and joy. Along the way, Appignanesi hauls in family, friends and acquaintances for comment – including his own mother and father, and cultural luminaries including John Berger, Slavoj Žižek and Zadie Smith. It’s a playful, painful film, artful and honest.