Even those unfamiliar with the work of Roberto Rossellini should get something out of Guy Maddin’s haunting and memorable short film My Dad Is 100 Years Old, which plays as a sort of personal exorcism for its writer and star Isabella Rossellini. It’s not a document of the great Italian director’s work (the only clip used is from the oft-excerpted Rome: Open City) so much as the younger Rossellini’s reconciliation with her father’s mystique. To her, he is a towering figure, represented here by a comically blubbering torso that argues with several famed figures from cinema past (all played by Isabella). Alfred Hitchcock, Federico Fellini, David O. Selznick, and Charlie Chaplin weigh in with their ideas about the art of motion pictures, while Ingrid Bergman expounds on her tempestuous relationship with Roberto, which begat both Isabella and a powerful series of films (Stromboli and Voyage to Italy among them). The actress is never presumptuous in how she inhabits the short’s many roles and she even “directs” its most emotional scene, interrupting an in-character reverie to decry an ostentatious and manipulative crane shot that she feels does a disservice to her father’s ideals.
- Zeitgeist Films
- 16 min
- Guy Maddin
- Isabella Rossellini
- Isabella Rossellini, Isaac Paz Sr.
- Slant is reaching more readers than ever before, but advertising revenue across the Internet is falling fast, hitting independently owned and operated publications like ours the hardest. We’ve watched many of our fellow media sites fall by the way side in recent years, but we’re determined to stick around.
We’ve never asked our readers for financial support before, and we’re committed to keeping our content free and accessible—meaning no paywalls or subscription fees. If you like what we do, however, please consider becoming a Slant patron.
You can also make a one-time donation via PayPal: