My Dad is complicated in the same way that memory is complicated. An examination of inherited racism as seen through the eyes of a child, its bright colours and childlike narration create an image of a vibrant, multicultural community, full of experience and opportunity. The narrator beams at his father, cherishing fish and chip Fridays and football in the park. But those memories are also peppered with “newspaper poking,” his dad angrily responding to the daily news, and repeating phrases of hatred and bigotry start making their way into the mix. Eventually, the colourful community is barricaded by blocks of newsprint—the opinions of the father cutting the son off from the world, creating the conditions for racism and hatred.
It’s a difficult film, but one that feels particularly relevant right now—it’s actually almost surprising that it was made pre-Brexit, a testament to the fact that the rising tide of the extreme right isn’t a new phenomenon, but a continuation of long-running racism in Western culture.