April 28, 2015
Chicago based rapper Che “Rhymefest” Smith bought the home he grew up in, a place full of mixed childhood memories. As he raises his own family Smith wonders more and more about his absentee father, eventually finding him homeless and alcohol addicted living just blocks away. The reconciliation is its own complete and moving story but there is an equally as compelling secondary narrative at play, one that outs the quieted issues of many African American families; broken homes, addiction, lack of stability, abuse. Much like Rhymefest himself, In My Father’s House acts as a loudspeaker, broadcasting under-heard stories and posing as a much needed role model- however imperfect- to those in need of one. What the film lacks in artfulness it makes up for in pure heart, emotion and message. The screening I attended was perfectly capped with a quick acoustic performance by Rhymefest, and a Q&A with the filmmakers & family members from the film, including Smith’s father. Seeing these individuals was a reminder that the subjects of documentaries selflessly open up their lives to potentially help audiences through their own. I truly hope this film reaches the audiences that need to hear its story.
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