I am velvety-smoothReview is BELOWI am veltely smooth, too
DVD: Family (2001)
    Film Music Masters: Jerry Goldsmith    
Review Rating:   Good  
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1 (NTSC)

January 27, 2004



Genre: Documentary  

After losing his family, Arab-Danish filmmaker Sami Saif embarks on a personal journey to find the father he never knew who abandoned him at an early age.




Directed by:

Phie Ambo,  Sami Saif
Screenplay by: n/a
Music by: Søren Hyldgaard
Produced by: Jonas Frederiksen
Cast: Sami Saif,  Phie Ambo,  Walid Khalil
Film Length: 90 mins
Process/Ratio: 1.85 :1
Anamorphic DVD: Yes
Languages:   Danish (Stereo),  English (Stereo) / English Subtitles
Special Features :  

Booklet with Directors statement / Music Videos: "Love You Tonight" (5:01) and "Nothing But Love" (2:49), by Walid Khalil (Sami's big brother) / 4 page colour booklet / Trailers for "Family," plus "Horns And Halos" and "The Cola Conquest"

Comments :

Sami Saif's self-portrait during a traumatic period of his life proves to be a gut-wrenching mix of extreme highs and lows that bleed with raw, powerful emotions. Within a short period of time, Saif's older brother committed suicide, and his alcoholic mother dies, leaving the surviving son completely alone with fading home movies and family pictures, before the father packed up and left for his native Yemen when Saif was a child.

The sequence that kicks the film into gear is Sami's efforts to track down his father by phone. Dialing each new lead, he seems to come so close, only to have a family member turn against him. Himself guilty of lies and half-truths, Sami's inevitable confrontation with the large, extended family of a brother – all people he's never met – turns the tables, with the lost son in search of truth and support suddenly becoming a support girder, when the tragic news he brings not only affects the others, but opens wounds he never thought existed.

“Families bring responsibilities,” says Saif's co-director/cinematographer, and towards the end of the documentary, he finds his new family are very different from the idyllic vision that propelled him to leave Denmark. Whether he meets his father or not becomes less important, as the tragedies of both brothers creates a bond that spawns some confusing feelings, which Saif admits, he has no idea how to tackle.

The directors use visual buffers – stylized, moody montages, set to melancholic orchestral passages – as transition devices between whole scenes, allowing viewers to take in or reel back from the film's more engrossing moments, before the next chapter in the director's search for his father.

Microfilm's transfer seems to be made from a PAL master, and offers a clean image with slightly soft focus, but very good colours. The stereo mix blends music and eerie ambient sounds, and the original track includes Danish, and English dialogue, when Saif meets Walid Khalil, his older brother.


© 2004 Mark R. Hasan

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