DADDY TRAN: A LIFE IN 3-D (Siu Ta, Canada). Some subtitles. 47 minutes. Friday (April 18), 9:30 pm, Isabel Bader; Saturday (April 19), 4:30 pm, Al Green. Rating: NNNN
This is actor-director Siu Ta’s affectionate profile of Vietnamese-born, Calgary-based camera store owner Hia Tran, whose passion for photography, particularly the 3-D format, led him to corner the town’s market on analog antique cameras.
Part of the Boat People emigration of the 1970s, the endlessly enthusiastic Tran is shown pursuing his hobby to the exclusion of all else – a focus that quickly seems more pathological than quirky. (His wife tells a story about a bear encounter during a photo shoot that’s only funny in retrospect.)
Sure, he’s obsessive, blinkered and emotionally volatile, but he’s also warm and generous and a provider for his family. And Ta’s insistence on presenting her subject as the sum of his complicated parts makes for a fascinating portrait.