- Tell Them Who You Are review by CP Customer
The biography of a great cinematographer, you would assume, is not the appropriate place for parricidal impulses, however justified by an absent, neglecting or rejecting parent. Mark Hexler’s documentary about his father, Haskell, exposes his desperate need for revenge against his more famous, more politically radical and obviously far more talented Dad.
No one could claim that Hexler senior is a dear old sweetie; he’s a difficult, demanding and probably infuriatingly egotistical person, but great artists frequently are. Which is where I came in; if you want to get down to brass tacks with your parents, the parental home, the first novel or fiction film, or the psychiatrist’s couch is the proper place to do it, not a documentary.
I have checked on IMDB and whilst the list of films shot by Haskell is long, and wonderful, all I can find for Mark, apart from this documentary and a film about a matchmaker is a documentary about Air Force One. This is clearly something of which Mark is very proud, as he gives a picture of himself with George Dubya, to his still Radical Dad, and there are plenty of other shots of Mark with the American Great and the Good.
The bitchiness of his taking the trouble to point out his Pa’s failures, (Blaze) as well as his shortcomings becomes really unpleasant when he rows in his Alzheimer’s affected Mother, to be wept over by Wexler Senior. I feel the old gentleman was ill advised to sign the release form at the close of the film, or to have anything to do with it at all.
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