Acclaimed New York filmmaker Alan Berliner took on his reclusive father as the reluctant subject of this poignant documentary, and what emerged was this cinematic biography that finds both humor and pathos in the swirl of conflicts and affections that bind father and son. Berliner weaves together archival footage and interviews with relatives in his quest to understand this complex and troubled character. Ultimately, Nobody’s Business serves as a meeting of the minds, where generations collide and the boundaries of family relationships are pushed to the brink.
Alan Berliner, USA, 1991, Digital projection, 60m
Alan Berliner’s maternal grandfather is the subject of his remarkable documentary from 1991. Joseph Cassuto was a Palestinian Jew, born in 1905 and raised in Egypt. After World War II, his fascination with Japanese culture blossomed into a lifelong love affair with the country, and he abandoned his family to live there and pursue miscellaneous business interests. Equal parts romantic adventurer and coldhearted shirker of familial responsibility, Cassuto is a riveting protagonist in this poetic and emotional jigsaw puzzle of family history.