When Katrine Boorman decided to make a short film about her father – legendary director John Boorman – she could not have known that the simple act of filming would reveal her father for who he truly is, someone she has been trying to discover for her entire life.
John Boorman is one of the great directors of our times, he may not be as prolific as other directors, but he has created some wonderful and memorable movies including Deliverance and The General. It seems that Katrine Boorman felt disconnected from her father, and thought that filming a short piece about him would enable them to reconnect. The film is the sum of that experiment.
The narrative combines the professional and the personal; Katrine and her father talk about their lives and how decisions from both sides affected them. Just for god measure, Katrine’s brother Charley and her sister Diasy weigh in on the topic. Most of their memories are recounted with good natured humour, even that fact that, when the children were very young, John and his wife left them at home to go filming in a far flung corner of the world. John talks about his life and career and how his mother’s infidelity has influenced much of his work to date. So far, so interesting.
What emerges from the film is Boorman’s true nature; as his daughter creates her film, he is alongside her, challenging directorial, lighting and background decisions she makes. This comes off as a father trying to educate his daughter, but also as a man trying to control the environment he is in. To her credit, Katrine takes his criticism good naturedly, and often follows his advice, although it is never quite clear whether she is doing this because she believes it is right, or just for the sake of a quiet life.
In all, Me and Me Dad offers a look at director John Boorman through his daughter’s eyes. She is an adult who her father treats as a child, but she is patient and giving, and allows the hour long documentary to be shaped by her father, to an extent. Me and Me Dad is a glimpse at the nature of secrets, public personas and families. The film does not go any way toward resolving the issues described on screen, but as this is a family affair, it is safe to say that the end of the film is not the end of the discussion.