Lullaby to My Father

A mash-up of family history, observational footage and dramatic reconstructions, pic reps yet another snoozy contribution to the subgenre of dead-dad docus.

With:
With: Yael Abecassis, Jeanne Moreau, Hanna Schygulla, Keren Gitai, Theo Ballmer. (Hebrew, French, German dialogue)

A mash-up of family history, observational footage and dramatic reconstructions, “Lullaby to My Father” reps yet another snoozy contribution to the subgenre of dead-dad docus. Forming half of a cinematic diptych along with his mom-focused “Carmel,” Amos Gitai’s latest film essay offers tantalizing glimpses of the Israeli director’s late papa, Bauhaus-trained architect Munio Gitai Weinraub, and manages to make a rather boring film about someone with a fascinating story. Portentous style may help endear pic to programmers at art museums and some fests, but form and function make this best suited to egghead cablers in search of filler.

Disdaining the delivery of facts in any comprehensible manner, the film forces auds to piece together what they can about Munio from the presented jumble of digitized photographs, interviews, letters read aloud by Jeanne Moreau and Hanna Schygulla, and scenes re-enacting key moments from his life. In brief, he studied under Mies van der Rohe at the Bauhaus school of design in the early ’30s, barely escaped the Nazis, emigrated to Israel and built many buildings, only just glimpsed here. Less time spent talking about the helmer himself might have improved things.

Lullaby to My Father

Documentary -- Israel-France-Switzerland

Production: An Agav Films, Elefant Films production, in association with Hamon Hafakot, Rabinovich Foundation, RTS, Arte Cinema France, CNC, Achave Films, Rai 3. (International sales: Agav Films, Tel Aviv.) Produced by Amos Gitai, Larent Truchot, Alexandre Iordachescu. Directed, written by Amos Gitai.

Crew: Camera (color, HD), Renato Berta, Giora Bejach, Richard Coppan, Gitai, Gabriele Basilico; editor, Isabelle Ingold; music, Zoe Keating; production designer, Miguel Markin, Ivonne Dippan; costume designer, Moira Douguet; sound (Dolby Digital), Michel Kharat, Alex Claude, Stephane Thiebaut. Reviewed at Venice Film Festival (noncompeting), Aug. 31, 2012. Running time: 85 MIN.

With: With: Yael Abecassis, Jeanne Moreau, Hanna Schygulla, Keren Gitai, Theo Ballmer. (Hebrew, French, German dialogue)

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