Nobody's Business (1996) Poster

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Everyone's Business
cwei-17 March 2006
After seeing this documentary "Nobody's Business" by Alan Berliner in 1996, I find myself love this documentary. This sixty-minutes-long film talks about the director Alan Berliner's father and his background. I think the basic element in this film is to identify the director and his father's families. The son persuaded his father to face his past and his lost memory. Thee director used his personal story as basis (his father, his grand father, his family, and so on) to talk about human's communication and the relationship between a father and a son. I think this movie is about the memory his father had. In contemporary society, people do not care about other people and their families - just as the title of this film, and the director tried to show that people are actually connected to each other. Sometimes, we may have to concern about other more. As the movie goes on, it also showed the loneness of people (he took his father as example). Basically, the editing and the sound use in this film are fantastic and unique. My most impressive scene is that when the father and the son had argument, and the images are cut to boxing scene. This brilliant editing made audiences understand what is going on at this moment and the boxing scene also represented their conflicts. This movie at its surface level is to show a story between a father and a son. However, behind the scene, it actually showed "generation to generation" - that means the problems and questions the director and his father may have also existed in all other people and their families. Although this seems to be a serious issue, the director used very interesting and humorous way to discuss this serious issue and introduce his family. Moreover, the clever editing and sound use are to grab audiences' attention and then they would not feel bored. By and large, this documentary is really interesting. The director used his father and his family as examples to remind other people (including me) to try to talk to and care about their families and relatives more whom they haven't talked to for a long time. It is everyone's business!
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Lucky you.
Randall Good23 September 1998
If you should by some luck happen to come across this film, by all means, watch it. It is a very well done documentary which is never boring, never pretentious, and always entertaining. To uncover his family's history, film maker Alan Berliner questions his family and grapples with his cynical father to feed his own appetite for knowledge of his lineage. Even though this is obviously a personal film for Berliner, one he made for himself, it is quite entertaining and very accessible. Dealing with divorce, paternal love, and questions which we all seem to have, Berliner creates an energetic, fun documentary which is honest in its portrait of families and curiosity about the height of one's family tree.
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9/10
A wonderful documentary
runamokprods8 July 2013
The strongest and most affecting of Alan Berliner's impressive list of quirky, personal documentaries to date. This study of his cantankerous, difficult, if also very bright (and buried under the surface, quite human) father is both very funny and sometimes very sad. Berliner captures perfectly the buttons that parents push in children and vice-versa as their interviews together often turn into angry verbal sparring matches.

And yet, by the end of the film, you can feel how much the gap between the two men has narrowed through the process, and that Berliner is left with more love and less anger and confusion about the man who raised him.

A very personal document, that paradoxically becomes more universal for daring to be so intimate and real.
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10/10
An irresistible force meeting an immovable object
thomas9krabbe23 December 2005
This was a cousins description of Alan Berliner and his father at family gatherings. This description really fits the film as well. Alan is inspiring, exciting and curious in the way he interviews his father, but the old guy is like a brick wall: 'who cares', 'leave it, it's a long time ago', 'what's the point', and so on. This attitude could seem cynical, as one in this forum puts it, but aside of being very entertaining, it's clear that Alan and his sister love their father very much. Maybe he's more informative off the camera, but I doubt it, hence the cousins description. Anyway, I find the mere historical facts of the family interesting, and the interviews of the father very moving, so it's a perfect 10/10. I don't know much about the technical side of making a film, but I really enjoyed this. If anyone comes across it in the trade, please post a note on this forum.
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10/10
Masterpiece of sound, gives real insight into relationship
jkc27 March 2000
This has to be one of my favorite documentaries. Berliner's use of sound is unparalleled, and the structure of this film is full of humor and insight into the complicated father-son relationship. It's a very witty, well-made documentary, and I highly recommend it.
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