Parts of a Family

Partes de una Familia

- THE NETHERLANDS, MEXICO / 2012 / Spanish / Color / Blu-ray / 83 min

Director, Author, DoP: Diego Gutiérrez
Sound: Mark Glynne
Editing: Danniel Danniel
Producers: JB Macrander, Harmen Jalvingh, Diego Gutiérrez
Production Company: Bonanza Films
World Sales: Deckert Distribution

An elderly couple that lives in a grand mansion on a 4,000 square meter site in the outskirts of Mexico City is captured in images by the their son Diego Gutierrez. Their son’s camera reveals the course of their marriage, how despite loving each other deeply they have drifted apart over the years. Emotions that have emerged and built up over long periods of time, together with illness, have turned this mansion into a place resembling a prison. What conclusion will their son give to their universally bittersweet and heart-wrenching love story?

[Director’s Statement] It was a sensitive subject, where I sometimes needed to change position from director to son and vice versa. It was not the first time I wanted to film them. Throughout the years they had gotten used to me holding the camera. This made it possible to follow them without being disruptive and to make them feel comfortable opening up in front of the camera.

As their son, sometimes they also tried to make me part of their battle, hoping I would choose their side. As I’m on the other side of the camera, they talk directly to the camera and subsequently make the viewer part of their lives.

For more than three years I filmed them in their house in Mexico City. After almost nine weeks of editing here in The Netherlands where I’m currently living, and before picture locking the film, I went back to Mexico to show them the rough cut. Even though they always knew that I was making a film about their complicated relationship, I was nervous.

After watching the film, both of my parents agreed on something: “It’s a beautiful film but it’s a very sad film,” they said. “It’s worth showing. It’s like a Bergman film . . . it touches issues that concern every human being on this planet,” my dad said.

“It’s good that people watch it and realize how easily you can fuck up your life,” said my mom.

Somebody told me about a research study on hope and fear among people. It seems that most of the human beings around the planet hope to die next to a close relative or family member, and that their main fear is of close relationships disappearing.

- Diego Gutiérrez

Diego Gutiérrez is a visual artist, film director, and cameraman. He studied visual arts at the UNAM in Mexico City and later served a two-year residency at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. He is currently participating in the 18-month Doc Lab at the Binger Filmlab, also in Amsterdam. In 1998 he founded “el despacho,” an artist initiative based in Mexico City and Amsterdam interested in bringing visual artists and people from other disciplines together with an alternative way of making documentary films by means of playful formative processes. Since 1998 Gutiérrez has coordinated numerous documentary-workshop film projects and has co-directed films together with other filmmakers and visual artists such as Kees Hin, Yael Bartana, Sebastián Díaz Morales, and Linda Bannink. He has worked as a teacher and guest advisor at several art institutes.