Hot Docs 2014: Alfred and Jakobine Review

Alfred and Jakobine

Alfred and Jakobine

Love, Factually

If you were just suddenly dumped quite unceremoniously and without warning after spending six years with someone and having their kid, could you forgive them decades later as a final act of love? That’s the tough questing being raised by filmmakers Jonathan Howells and Tom Roberts in this fascinatingly nostalgic and almost tragicomic look at not one, but two contentious long distance road trips.

In 1955, a half-assed sailor with a lust for life named Alfred met an artist named Jakobine. They dropped everything in their lives to go on a whirlwind tour of the world, driving everywhere in the same beat up London taxicab. Then, when the trip ended and they had a son together, Alfred fucked off to Taos, New Mexico because he said he needed some time alone. Now at age 84 and with little money and no time left, Alfred wants to make amends by driving with his son in the old jalopy across the US to see Jakobine one last time and apologize.

But can Jakobine actually forgive him that easily? It’s not an easy question to answer, and to her credit and that of the filmmakers, she probably shouldn’t. Alfred and Jakobine is a well rounded portrait of a man who has coasted his entire life by simply trying to sweet talk and hustle people (even to get the car fixed he tries everything in his power to get out of paying for anything). Yet, his love for Jakobine and his son seems real and unwavering, and their abandonment shows an almost painful kind of prideful deficiency. It’s complex (as intense love affairs often are), but while it isn’t always sweet, it definitely paints a wide historical picture. (Andrew Parker)

Remaining Screenings

Sunday, April 27th, Isabel Bader Theatre, 1:30pm

Sunday, May 4th, Hart House Theatre, 9:15pm