Picture Copyrights: Netflix
Venue: India Habitat Centre
Date: Oct 10, 2015
We marvel at documentaries that take the film maker as well as the audience on a journey of transformation. As if the transformation in itself is not difficult enough, these filmmakers have the courage to make a documentary out of it and by shooting various phases of the journey.
“The F-Word” was a documentary we saw some time back that dealt with a woman’s transformation towards a fitter life by losing weight. Similarly “My Own Man” is director David Sampliner’s journey towards being more manly in terms of how the society defines “manliness”. David spent about 40 years around a typically macho father and brother, always feeling himself as less of a man for the lack of the killer instinct a man is supposed to have – for the lack of a perfect strong manly physique – and for being emotional and kind hearted.
The epiphany happens after his wife gets pregnant with a child and he is concerned about how he is going to instill manly characters and virtues in his yet to be born son. Consequently, the various measures he takes to become more manly are cute, humorous and at times touching and confronting. Throughout the documentary he interviews his family members, friends and his life coach to find answers to things that bug him or has bugged any man, in his shoes, for ages.
Life comes a full circle when he finally lets go of his differences with his father and takes full responsibility of his past, current and future life. Isn’t it the manliest thing anyone can do? The closure with father happens over a letter which is beautifully conceived sans any melodrama.
“My Own Man” represents a lot of men who are going about their lives as if everything is alright but, deep down, are uncomfortable under their own skin. Silently competing with brothers and fathers and colleagues and friends, they pay the price of ruining their overall experience of life.
It’s a beautifully directed film and works of this sort are what made us big suckers for documentaries. Thanks to India Habitat Centre for selecting and screening such great documentaries.