Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Big Fish - Hyde Park Picture House

Martin Grund writes:
Tim Burton’s adaptation of Daniel Wallace’s novel fitted the ‘Lives and Loves’ theme of this year’s Headingley Litfest perfectly. The film tells of a son trying to learn more about his dying father’s life through the fantastic stories he has been told over the years.

From the start, the line between fiction and fact, between man and myth, becomes blurred.  The son is a writer, the father a teller of tales.  Storytellers both.  A child is entranced by fantasies and tall tales; an adult is merely embarrassed and angered by lies.  This film weaves the threads of the story, from past to present, from truth to embellishment, into a delightful fairy tale that takes you with it from what you do believe to way past the point where you suspend your disbelief – because you want to enjoy the feelgood effect. Tim Burton uses his unique style to give the look of the film an almost carnival feel, adding to the increased level of the fantastic that makes the stories so compelling. I’m not sure that the willingness to suspend disbelief would be so easy if it had been another director behind the camera.

Dad was fearless, faithful and philanthropic in his enthralling fables, his only son embarrassed, irked and estranged by the fabrication and deceit.  “You’d better talk whilst I’m here,” says the son, recalled to his father’s sickbed, and trying to find out something of his father’s real life. He wants all the facts, none of the flavour.

“No, you’d better talk whilst I’m here!” says the father to the son, aware he is close to death but still relishing the magic of mystery tales. The tale of the elusive big fish, caught only with a golden ring, serves as a metaphor for ‘who dares, wins’ throughout the film.   The father talked of a lot of exciting things he never did, but did a lot of good things he never talked about.  And we finally see the son embrace his father’s life with the telling of a tall tale to take his father peacefully through to death; literally a happy ending as each acknowledges the love between them. 

Thanks to the Hyde Park Picture House (http://www.hydeparkpicturehouse.co.uk/) for hosting our first partnership event.

Read more about the Film Festival at: http://www.leedsyoungfilm.com/