Yet another doc at this years fest that goes well beyond the expected scope, remaining compelling throughout its running time once the “hook” of the main story is spelled out quickly at the beginning. The story actually reaches back into the past (the father actually brought surfing to Israel, where it remains quite a phenomenon) to the present, where the family must come to grasp with the teachings of their unconventional, unrepentant patriarch.
This strange film elicits a mix of pathos for the family and a strong sense of voyeurism. They lived their lives in a unique way, to be sure, but the underlying principals instilled by their parents continue to guide them, even as the family has gone through some pretty significant setbacks.
The documentary does lose any sense of objectivity fairly early on, but that’s part of its charm – the process of telling the story itself causes the family to reconsider past conflicts, and to come to terms with their unique take on life, sport, the environment and family. This is a fine portrayal of a complex situation, a fine work that illuminates something quite extraordinary.