“Tell them who you are! Tell them you’re Haskell Wexler’s son!” often decried the director’s mother. Mark Wexler’s documentary centers on his relationship with his father Haskell Wexler, one of the legendary American cinematographer and filmmaker. Haskell Wexler worked with many celebrated filmmakers, such as Elia Kazan, Milos Forman, George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola, Mike Nichols and John Sayles. His only film as director Medium Cool (1969) became a landmark of New American Cinema through its amazing mix of fact and fiction. The documentary also features interviews with directors and artists like Jane Fonda, Michael Douglas and Sidney Poitier.
But the real “star” of the film is Haskell himself, an uncompromising character who challenges his son’s filmmaking skills (in front of others) and do not hesitate to claim that he could have done a better job directing most of the movies he was involved in. The two men exchange positions on and behind the camera, sometimes shooting one another. Father and son argue about politics, while 82-years old liberal activist Haskell tries to understand his son’s more conservative positions. The two men do love each other but have a hard time coming to terms with a contentious relationship. Mark Wexler’s film is a striking portrait of a father-son relationship but also a study on the work of a cinematographer.