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Romulus, My Father

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A Philosopher Concerned with Ethics Reflects on His Childhood

    Raimond Gaita is not a name widely known to the world outside Australia where he serves as a professor of philosophy, writing extensively on 'skepticism (moral, of other minds and of the external world), on the philosophy of mind and the philosophy of psychology, on aspects of political philosophy (collective responsibility, the role of moral considerations in politics, genocide and the alleged uniqueness of the Holocaust), on education (the nature of teaching as a vocation, the role of love in learning and the plight of the universities) and on Wittgenstein's philosophy of mind and language'. After this filmed version of his memoir ROMULUS, MY FATHER, he may well gain a larger audience. This low budget film uses fewer words than silences and actions to depict the childhood of Gaita in the period around 1960. For many it may seem an aimless, prolonged, sad film, but for others it will deliver a life force in a sensitive child that is indomitable. Romulus Gaita (Eric Bana) immigrated to Australia from Yugoslavia with his wife Christina (Franka Potente) and their son Raimond (Kodi Smit-McPhee). Romulus works as a blacksmith and farmer to support his family: Christina is not happy with the confinement of marriage and motherhood and finds frequent reasons to have promiscuous jaunts away from her small house and maternal duties. Romulus and Raimond are very close and find ways to exist without Christina, especially when Christina has an extended affair with a family friend Mitru (Russell Dykstra) and has a child by him. Despite warm support from Raimond and his best friend Hora (Marton Csokas), Romulus decompensates and his radical behavior results in his hospitalization in a mental institution. How Raimond's bond with his beloved father endures despite the endless tragedies that befall his 'home' provides the closure of this tender memoir. Nick Drake provides the screenplay from Gaita's book, Richard Roxburgh directs, Basil Hogios provides the sparse musical score for Geoffrey Simpson's magnificent cinematography of the desolate plains of Australia. But it is the solid performances by Eric Bana and Kodi Smit- McPhee as father and son that make this film so memorable. Grady Harp

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