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My Father & The Man in Black - Review

My Father And The Man In Black

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

JONATHAN Holiff’s documentary opens in shocking fashion: with the recreation of his father’s suicide.
Yet it somehow seems an appropriate starting point given that it was this very act that first sewed the seeds for the film that followed.

The father in question was Saul Holiff, manager to Johnny Cash for 14 years. But it was this job and its demands (as Cash was going through a turbulent period) that took its toll on Saul’s relationship with his son.

But while he tried to follow in his father’s footsteps to attempt to claw back his admiration, Jonathan never really got to know his father until his death, which in turn unearthed diaries and secret recordings of Saul’s life and views.

Jonathan’s film takes viewers on this journey of discovery and, eventually, forgiveness and is much a commentary on many dysfunctional father-son dynamics as it is an intriguing insight into Johnny Cash and his relationship with Saul (a man who, crucially, was responsible for introducing him to June Cash).

It’s an intimate film in many ways but one that is sure to strike a chord with many. And it’s quietly affecting and even poignant once the journey has reached its end.

Holiff says making the film was a cathartic experience for him. But he’s since been touched by people’s positive and often tearful reactions to it as well. It’s a tribute to his efforts and the movie itself that he deserves every piece of praise coming his way.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 87mins
UK Release Date: August 2, 2013