Glasgow Film Festival Review: Father

In order to successfully make a point, it’s often necessary to frame it within a story. Storytelling has been used from the time of early cave-dwellers for a number of different purposes. For example, parables in the Bible or Aesop’s Fables are used as forms of instructional, cautionary or morality tales. In Srdan Golubovic’s new film, Father, his lead must make an epic journey across Serbia, exposing societal divisions and problems along the way.  

It has been two years since Nikola (Goran Bogdan) was laid off from his job at the factory and he’s still waiting for the backpay and severance he was promised. As there has been no steady income since, his family have struggled to survive. Driven to despair, his wife Biljana (Nada Šargin) sets herself on fire in protest, is hospitalised and the children are taken into care. With no other option, he sets out on-foot to Belgrade in order to appeal the decision with the minister.

Father is a quietly profound tale about the determination of one man, against all odds, to get his children back. In the wrong hands this could easily have ended up as a slick melodramatic mess, but Golubovic and Bogdan navigate a steady course through choppy waters. Along the say, Nikola experiences the best and worst of Serbian society. From local government corruption and abusive employers to friendly countryfolk and helpful neighbours. Father is a searing social and political critique seen through the eyes of the stoic Nikola.

Father screens at Glasgow Film Festival.

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