Film Review: Memories of My Father

Hector snr and jr

Héctor Abad Gómez was a prominent Columbian doctor, university professor and human rights activist. He is responsible for the foundation of the Colombian National School of Public Health and pioneering a number of public health programmes for the poor in Medellín. During his later life, his focus shifted towards tackling the injustices within his country; becoming an outspoken opponent of the authoritarian government. His story is told in Memories of My Father.

Throughout his childhood in Medellín during the 1970s, Hector (Nicolás Reyes Cano) was in awe of his father (Javier Cámara). A self-possessed and often self-centred child. Growing up with his mother and four sisters in an affluent household, he has fond memories of an almost idyllic existence. Moving forward a decade and Hector (Juan Pablo Urrego), now a university student himself, is attending a ceremony honouring his father. However, life’s harsh realities have taken hold of the country.

Memories of My Father is a stylish and beautifully shot portrait of a man who devoted his life to helping others. Based on the memoirs of Héctor Abad Faciolince, Fernando Trueba’s film paints a picture of a son who idolises his father but increasingly struggles to accept his father’s devotion to others. The childhood scenes are shot in glorious colour, but as Columbia enters a darker period this changes to stark monochrome. Memories of My Father features a wonderful ensemble cast who help create an accomplished and intelligent biopic.

Memories of My Father is available on Curzon Home Cinema from 26 March.

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