In my Fathers Den, a brilliant example of subjective filmmaking and credit should be given to the director Brad McGann for successfully developing a character who takes a journey through regression. McGann uses a series of flashbacks for Paul to revisit the traumatic past and then back to the obscure present to deal with the outcome of his memories. Brad McGann develops the character Paul, as a man who is lonely and isolated yet mystifying and secretive. He blocks out his emotions completely which makes the audience intrigued to find out what has happened in his past that has made him the enclosed character he is today.
The story includes themes found familiar to many New Zealand films, dark family secrets, small-town claustrophobia, the lure of the outside world. “It’s not so much a whodunit” said McGann, “but a whydunit”. The film is as much about tone as plot, eloquently describing a world of emotionally damaged characters isolated from each other in stark landscapes. The theme of escapism is consistently grabbing the audiences attention throughout McGann releases details sparingly, constructing his film as a kind of puzzle assembled from pieces of the past and present, with Prior’s attempts to forget his younger days.
His use of camera movement adds new information, as flashbacks play a large role in this film. McGanns ability to stitch material together is significant as he doesn’t signal the shift between time periods heavy-handedly, and yet its always clear what is happening and how each new snippet of information contributes to the complex. McGanns use of cinematography is a great example of successful director skills. The use of camera angles and lighting effeteness on the film help create a mood to demand the audiences attention to discover the true identity of each character.
McGanns panning of the den, prepares the audience with a flashback, and as a small boy (Paul) with his father the lighting of warmth is portrayed with the effeteness of connection and close feeling with the young boy and his father. Celia’s grief as she console’s Paul for the truth, the warmth of the fire light against Paul’s face makes the audience devoted to feel sorry for him and feel his pain. McGanns successful use of director skills impacts the audiences views on the film “In my Fathers Den”. This film is carefully crafted, as it is a dialogue for ironic social comment and characters.