WriterTony Cavanaugh, Graham Hartley ScreenplayTony Cavanaugh, Graham Hartley AwardsAACTA Award for Best Lead Actor, AACTA Award for Best Supporting Actress CastMax von Sydow (Joe Mueller), Carol Drinkwater (Anne Winton), Julia Blake (Iya Zetnick), Steve Jacobs (Bobby Winton), Simone Robertson (Rebecca Winton), Kahli Sneddon (Amy Winton) Similar moviesThe Well (1997)
Father is a 1990 film about a retired German immigrant living in Australia, Joe Muller (Max von Sydow), who is accused of being a former Nazi who committed war crimes in the Second World War by a strange woman called Iya Zetnick (Julia Blake). His daughter Anne Winton (Carol Drinkwater) is not certain whom to believe.
The film was directed by John Power, written by Tony Cavanaugh and Graham Hartley and produced by Barron Entertainment and Film Victoria. At the 1990 AFI awards, Max von Sydow won the 'Best Actor in a Lead Role' category, and Julia Blake won the 'Best Actress in a Supporting Role'. The film was also entered into the 17th Moscow International Film Festival.
The film begins with a scene of an open pit full of shot naked bodies somewhere in Lithuania during the Second World War. A young Iya Zetnick crawls out of the bodies in tears, apparently having survived a massacre.
Decades later in modern-day Melbourne we are introduced to Joe Muller and his affable family. His adult daughter Anne lives with him, and one day she receives a phone call from Iya Zetnick, asking her to ensure she watches a television current affairs show coming up. Joe thinks it concerns a trivial matter about his business, but he and his family are shocked when the show instead links him to the massacre of Iya's family in Lithuania.
Joe suddenly becomes the centre of attention. His family sticks by him, but some seeds of doubt are sown. Eventually he is arrested and sent to trial, but is found not guilty on account of insufficient evidence. Still, Anne is now increasingly concerned about her father's past, and confronts him.
Iya breaks into their house, armed with a pistol. She confronts Anne and her father, and when she is capable of shooting Joe, she shoots herself instead. Anne is left in no doubt about her father's crimes, and Joe is left estranged from his family.