CHICHESTER'S CHOICE (Simonee Chichester, Canada). 64 minutes. Some subtitles. Tuesday (April 24), 9:45 pm, Royal; April 28, 5:30 pm, Al Green. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
Simonee Chichester's first film is a deeply personal one: abandoned by her father, Edgar, when she was six, she sets out to find him on the streets of Brazil once she learns he is dying of tuberculosis. Her journey takes her to Guyana to meet his family and is the scene of shocking revelations that are never completely clarified, even after she tracks Edgar down in Brazil. There are wonderfully uncomfortable scenes between Simonee and her mother, who is clearly still angry at the irresponsible alcoholic she divorced decades ago.
Understandably in such a first-person film, Chichester uses a lot of voice-over narration. Although it's vital for our understanding of what she's going through, her line readings are flat, taking some of the drama out of these scenes. And if you're in an uncharitable frame of mind, you might wonder why you should care about this particular family's story.
But all such unkind thoughts disappear at the marvellous moment when Simonee and Edgar reconnect.