The Moon and the Son: An Imagined Conversation. 2005. USA. Directed by John Canemaker. 16mm. 28 min.
In this “imagined conversation,” master animator John Canemaker (voiced by John Tuturro) talks with his departed father (voiced by Eli Wallach). Intensely personal, the film combines Canemaker’s animation, family photos, and home movies to create a disarmingly intimate exploration of memory, abuse, and aging between a father and son. A truly one-of-a-kind exercise in autobiographical filmmaking, The Moon and the Son may feel just as cathartic for the viewer as it likely was for Canemaker. Awarded the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 2005.
Santiago. 2006. Brazil. Directed by João Moreira Salles. 35mm. In Portuguese; English subtitles. 80 min.
Revisiting footage he shot in 1992, Portuguese filmmaker João Moreira Salles constructs a portrait of his family’s longtime butler, Santiago. Chronicling Santiago’s impressive autodidactic nature and capturing his eccentric charm, the film also lays bare the intrinsic class divide between Santiago and Salles, born to a wealthy family. Decades after Salles has left home and the butler’s watchful care, Santiago remains obsequious to Salles’s requests during their interviews, demonstrating the complicated nature of Santiago’s identity, particularly under Salles’s gaze. Primarily an archival documentary, the reevaluation and compilation of this material is an attempt to reconcile Salles’s own relationship to filmmaking, memory, and a dearly departed friend.