This Was My Dad: The Rise and Fall of Geoffrey Matthews is a profoundly intimate documentary filmed by director Morgan Matthews over a period of more than ten years in the life of Morgan’s father Geoff and his wonderfully eccentric partner Anna.
In an attempt to re-connect with his Dad after becoming estranged, Morgan uses the camera as both a facilitator and a filter that enables him to stay close during challenging times. The film follows Geoff and Anna through a financial crisis that sees them losing their home; it captures the challenges of their relationship, and documents the decline in Geoff’s health as a result of emphysema and cancer. With the warmth, love and humour that is so often mixed up in family dramas, this is a documentary made from the inside by a film maker who is used to turning his camera towards other people’s families – but never his own. The result is deeply personal, but the themes of a challenging paternal dynamic, a relationship under pressure, and death in the family, are widespread and universal.