In Derecho de Familia (2004), a.k.a. Family Law, from Argentina, Perelman Sr. (Arturo Goetz) practices law. His son, Perelman Jr. (Daniel Hendler), teaches legal ethics at a university, although he too practices law as a defense attorney. That filmmaker Daniel Burman presents the vocational spheres of these two men, father and son, is the most agreeable thing about Family Law. Otherwise there is nothing exceptional here. Nothing new is being said, nothing particularly compelling is done. It’s just a well-made film about a family.
What is being said? A message about the burden of transience; the idea that grown sons recognize themselves in their fathers (as daughters do in their mothers); that anguish has a way of sneaking into any given father-son relationship. Again, nothing new. In truth the film is more intelligent than, say, Cronicas but is less challenging, less gripping, than that South American picture. By no means do I wish to discourage anyone from seeing it, but I must wrap it up by asking a question: Does Burman disapprove of Perelman Jr.’s unwillingness to degrade or embarrass himself in certain public activities involving his little son Gaston, e.g., dressing up as a clown? If so, why? Granted, like Perelman Sr. Perelman Jr. is not an ideal father but he isn’t a bad one either. He has a lot to learn but . . . what is Burman getting at?
(In Spanish with English subtitles)