Thy Father’s Chair
directed by Antonio Tibaldi and Alex Lora
starring Abraham and Shraga
No Permits Produktions, Graffiti Doc
I admit I have a penchant for junk, but it’s not as bad as these guys. Abraham and Shraga own a building with an upstairs rental, but the stench and roaches from their apartment give the tenants good cause to not pay rent. Their money is almost gone, and Abraham rightly decides they need professional help. Enter Naja and the Home Clean Home Team. They respect their clients, but don’t take “keep it” for an answer. It takes them a week to haul away the stale food, the pizza boxes, and repel the cockroach occupational army. Naja seems to be the point man, he points out you can’t really eat can goods from the 1960s, you can’t keep every issue of the New York Times, and you can’t live in a house where you don’t remember the color of the carpet. Here it’s a vaguely retro green shag impregnated with 30 years of guck. As the crew of heavily immunized workers digs down to the floor, a pleasantly dated mid-century apartment complete with an amazing green sectional couch appears. Mean while, Abe’s arms are covered with bedbug bites. It’s a creepy sensation.
So why this movie, on this film stock, in this festival? It’s a cryptic movie delving into a psychology that’s is common but little recognized problem. It’s a mixture of frozen nostalgia, a cheap streak that says “I might need this screwdriver someday,” and really manifestation of depression. Its hopeless to get anything clean enough, so why even start? The upstairs neighbors have a solid complaint, the brothers have a solid problem, and it takes a solid professional to make things right. The titular chair is briefly alluded to but never seems all that important. Eventually dad’s padded seat is killed in a ritual dismemberment in the stair well when the crew can’t get it down the stairs. Somehow this chair anchored the brothers in this miasma of clutter, and when it was gone they seemed better for its disappearance. Chances are you will see part of yourself or part of your family here but there is help. The cleaning company in the movie is real and this is their gig: throwing away the life you no longer need to live.