The Tribeca Film Festival, which ends today, is basically a regional festival, with nearly all screenings and events located in downtown Manhattan. It’s lately getting a reputation as one of the finest festivals for documentary film, but there were a number of buzzy narrative premieres as well as movies that previously played at Sundance and are slated for release later this year.
In My Father’s House, a documentary directed by Ricki Stern and Anne Sundberg, follows Grammy-winning rapper Che “Rhymefest” Smith after he buys the house in which his father Brian grew up, then goes looking for him. It turns out that after being absent for most of Che childhood, he’s homeless and an alcoholic. That sets off a chain of events that changes a lot of things for both Che and Brian.
Che co-wrote “Jesus Walks” with Kanye West and was a co-writer on the Oscar-winning song “Glory” from Selma, and a lot of people around the festival can be heard humming the song he’s working on throughout the movie, about being lost and found. Among Stern and Sundberg’s other work are Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work(2010) and The Devil Came on Horseback (2007); this movie is a true tale of redemption, with a strong thread of grace running underneath (and made religiously explicit though not unsubtly so by Smith’s wife). But it’s not easy redemption; it’s hard-won and imperfect, and worth seeing.