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Nobody’s Business

Directed by Alan Berliner

USA | 60 minutes | 1996

Exemplary documentarian Alan Berliner (The Family Album) trains his camera, as is his wont, on familiar terrain: his family. A kind of sequel to Intimate Strangers, Berliner's moving portrait of his grandfather, Nobody's Business focuses on the director's father, the 80-year-old, irascible Oscar. A man who lived an ordinary, unexamined life, Oscar constantly complains that Berliner is wasting his time and film trying to find something interesting to capture. But it is, in fact, this tension between father and son (the latter prodding the older man for facts and insights into personal history, the better to understand himself) that becomes the powerful, and funny, thrust of Nobody's Business. Berliner works around the old man, paying an on-camera visit to his divorced mother (who says Oscar could never comprehend her complexity) and meeting a wing of the family he has never known. The net result is a poignant, occasionally stinging portrait of conflict and ambivalence between men and their fathers; also revealed is the important ways in which our parents' pasts determine our destinies.
Director Alan Berliner
Countries of Production USA
Year of Presentation 1996
Language(s)
Premiere Status
Runtime 60 minutes
Principal Cast Alan Berliner, Oscar Berliner
Award(s)

Winner of the Caligari Award at the Berlin International Film Festival

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