The son of acclaimed cinematographer Haskell Wexler confronts his complex father by turning the camera on him. What results is a portrait of a difficult genius and a son's path out of the shadow of a famous father.
Mark Wexler's cinematic blend of biography and autobiography centers on his relationship with his father, legendary Oscar-winning cinematographer and filmmaker Haskell Wexler, whose long and illustrious career is a virtual catalogue of 20th-century classics. Haskell's collaborations with such world-class filmmakers as Elia Kazan, Milos Forman, George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola and Mike Nichols include such works as WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF?, AMERICAN GRAFFITI, COMING HOME, BOUND FOR GLORY and ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST. The film features interviews with many of these artists, along with such luminaries as Jane Fonda, Michael Douglas and Sidney Poitier. But the true "star" of TELL THEM WHO YOU ARE is Haskell himself, a controversial, larger-than-life character who challenges his son's filmmaking skills while announcing with complete conviction that he could have done a better job directing most of the movies he's shot. As these two men swap positions on camera and behind it... Written by
Words and Music by Leadbelly (as Huddie Ledbetter) and John A. Lomax
Courtesy of TRO - Ludlow Music, Inc.
Performed by The Weavers
Licensed from and used by permission of Vanguard Records, a Welk music Group Company
(p) Vanguard Records, a Welk Music Group Company See more »
As I write these comments (on 5-14-05) this film has only a 6.7/10 user rating on its IMDb page. That is such a disgrace. It is easily a 10 in my book. Just a terrific piece of work. And what a tribute to Mark Wexler that he was able to tell such a remarkably candid tale of he and his father's troubled relationship without pulling any punches. Also, the inherent irony in watching this tremendous documentary, is that throughout it, Haskell Wexler, his prolific and highly critical father, is condemning Mark for many of his film-making choices. The scene where Mark pleads with his father to please step out on the balcony to conduct the interview so he can frame him with the cityscape of San Francisco in the background is utterly tragic. It is a microcosm of their entire relationship. The son both literally and figuratively trying to step out of the shadows, those in that little hotel room and those cast by his legendary father. Mark Wexler should be proud and resolute in the knowledge that he is not only out of that formidable shadow, he is casting quite a shadow of his own with this wonderful film.
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