Father of My Children

A film about life, legacy, and movies, Father of My Children is a fine-grained portrait of one man and the world that moves around him.

Identifying himself in the film’s first lines with a distinctively Parisian “c’est moi”, Grégoire is an ambitious film producer and the father of the film’s title: an affable man concealing serious troubles.

A champion of unknown and eccentric filmmakers, Grégoire works with big, artistic egos and takes the corresponding risks. But when one Swedish auteur starts haemorrhaging money from Moon Films, a warren of financial problems are exposed.

In a desperate situation, Grégoire ends up taking desperate action.

In the wake of his actions, Grégoire becomes more of an enigma than he may at first have seemed.

The film’s focus shifts to his wife, Sylvia, and his three daughters, leading us to consider the various ways they know and understand him. Grégoire becomes the mysterious absence around which Mia Hansen-Løve constructs her film.

From its portentous title onwards, this is a film preoccupied with what we leave behind. It considers how the idea of legacy can give sense to life but also distort the way it is lived.  

Grégoire mires himself – and his family and friends – in deeper issues because he refuses to sell on his company’s catalogue, which is the record of his work and successes.

Meanwhile, the recurrent presence of flora – shrubs planted by children in a garden; houseplants patiently watered in a Paris flat; herbs enshrined in mosaics on the ceiling of an Italian cathedral – suggests more patient, organic versions of  longevity and inheritance.

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