A Family Affair

Schedule

Sunday, Nov. 6 at 3:30pm

On his 30th birthday, filmmaker Tom Fassaert receives a mysterious invitation from his 95-year-old grandmother Marianne to come visit her in South Africa. Tom’s knowledge of Marianne is slight, limited to the predominantly negative stories told by his father, Rob, who describes her as a cold, distant mother who inexplicably abandons her two sons in a children’s home before just as mysteriously reclaiming them a few years later. Eventually, the self-absorbed Marianne — a famous model and femme fatale — leaves her sons behind for good by moving to South Africa. Despite this shabby treatment, the adult Rob continues to try and reconnect with his mother. His efforts seem rewarded when she unexpectedly asks him to run a part of her thriving fashion business. Rob dutifully uproots his family and moves to South Africa, but Marianne then delivers yet another blow, abruptly withdrawing the offer without explanation. Determined to fill in the gaps in his family’s troubled history — which he knows only from his father’s understandably aggrieved point of view — Tom accepts Marianne’s summons. Although he makes persistent attempts to tease out information from his grandmother, she cannily evades his questioning, remaining stubbornly unknowable. Marianne does, however, make a far more shocking confession — one that disturbs Tom and viewers in equal measure. A beautifully edited, profoundly personal documentary, “A Family Affair” explores our abiding need to seek answers but acknowledges the ultimate impossibility of finding “the truth.”

2015
116 min.
Dutch & English

Directed by

Tom Fassaert

Country

Netherlands South Africa

Film Category

International Spotlight Leon & Mary Strauss Documentary Spotlight

Subject

Family Issues

Genre

Biopic

Film Website

Official Website