A Letter to Dad / Pismo ćaći (Croatia, 2012)

directed by Damir Čučić, documentary drama, 72 min, eng subtitles
written by Damir Čučić
with Milivoj Beader, Mate Gulin

The film A Letter to Dad, awarded the best Croatian film of 2012, can be categorised primarily as a hybrid film, on the borderline between a narrative and a documentary. It focuses on a father-son relationship. The protagonists question communication issues that have been piling up for years. The mainstay of the film is the son's "projection" syndrome - the son cannot shake off the fear that he is a faithful replica of his father and that the father's life is a projection of his son's future. A wish to prove himself superior motivates the son to film a video-letter with an amateur camera and to try to compromise the father by presenting evidence that would prove beyond doubt that he is a much better person than his father.
The father is defensive towards his son's video-letter accusations, finding excuses for his actions in his close proximity, neighbours, friends... The father publicly describes their family problem and the comments in his son's video letter to the community in which he lives.

The entire project is a directing improvisation based on a given subject matter and documenting the actors' performances. Later on, the improvisations are organised as parallel sequences of the son's accusations and the father's excuses, comprising a platform for two thirds of the film. The last third is a documentation of their meeting. This kind of director's approach is the result of initially modest production circumstances. However, the director's intention was not to reveal the project's modesty in the final result, but to create an impressive feature film made in a documentary manner. One of the film's qualities is a certain freedom of form; the film crew's work can be compared to a jazz band, where each of the musicians has unlimited possibilities of expression within a common theme. The project's anarchism finally yielded a controlled and composed film whose plot does not indicate a presence of a scripted base.
What makes the movie even more interesting is that the story is based on the real relationship between the film's leading actor Milivoj Beader and his own father

Pula FF 2012 (Grand Golden Arena for Best Film, Best Supporting Actor, Best Editing, Best Sound, Breza Award for Best Debut)