My Father and Me – Film Review

Directed by Nick Broomfield, My Father and Me is a documentary film about the filmmaker’s late father, his complex relationship with him and the other members of his family.

The film starts with Nick Broomfield‘s narration where he introduces you to his father, Maurice Bloomfield who was a factory worker that turned into a photographer taking photos from the factory that he worked at. Through his father, Nick became interested in photography which eventually led to him becoming interested in film. However, his father wasn’t always supportive, as Nick’s documentary style is confronting, and Maurice being a humanist-pacifist would at time have a problem with them.

If you have seen any of Nick Broomfield‘s films, then you know that he often includes himself in the film even if the subject of the documentary has nothing to do with him, so I was curious to watch My Father and Me, as it is the most personal film that he has made to date. There were a few personal moments that stood out to me; the first one was Maurice’s negative reaction to one of Nick‘s earliest attempts at photography from when he was a child, showcasing that Nick isn’t afraid to show his father in a negative light if he needs to. Another moment that stood out was when Nick noticed that he was starting to adopt his father’s mannerisms. I found this fascinating, as it shows that we do take after our parents regardless of whether we consciously do or not.

Nick Broomfield uses multiple filmmaking techniques to tell his story. He uses home movies that had either been filmed by himself or by his father, interview footage with himself, his family, and the people that new his father. There are also audio clips from interviews that his father did over the years, off with Nick‘s narration which helps to elevate the story and to keep the subject matter of the documentary interesting. With that being said, at certain points of the film, it did feel like it was dragging on from time to time and I believe some parts of the film could have been edited to be shorter or just left out of the final product altogether.

My Father and Me is no doubt a moving film that is both a brutally honest and loving tribute to the filmmaker’s father, as well as his family. While it is an enjoyable and insightful film, I would say that I prefer Nick Broomfield’s films that about subjects less personal. However, My Father and Me is still a good representation of the bond between a father and son.

My Father and Me is showing across Australia as part of the British Film Festival from November to December 2021.
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