‘Thy Father’s Chair’ stirs up emotion, nostalgia


Kat Sarafianos

‘Thy Father’s Chair’ tells the surreal story of two brothers dealing with addiction and isolationism all while dealing with a hoarding problem that fit the likes of reality TV standards.
This documentary, directed by Alex Lora and Antonio Tibaldi, follows the identical-twin Orthodox Jewish brothers, Avraham and Shraga.
After the death of their parents years before, the interior of their seemingly regular Brooklyn brownstone has fallen into chaos and clutter. As we learn in the film, this complete indifference to domestic health stems from very deep roots: isolationism, alcoholism and mental illness.
They take the plunge to clean house when an unseen upstairs neighbor lodges a complaint against the duo for the smell emitting into their apartment, leading them to hire house cleaners.
The film centers around the brothers dealing with the cleaners’ well-meaning interference in their life and the many emotions that come from their house, in their eyes, being stripped away.
The interactions among the brothers and the help offers both comic relief. It also provides a window to the brothers’ feelings of impatience, petulance and inability to let go.
While the six parts the film is cut into can seem long and a bit claustrophobic — given it takes place entirely in their trash-filled brownstone — it really delves into the apprehensive emotions both brothers feel toward the clean out.
At the end, I found myself wondering how long the clean house would last and if their carelessness would take over once more.
Despite my lingering doubts at the end of the movie, “Thy Father’s Chair” offered a fresh look on old clutter, and I’m thankful for the clean up.
See it tomorrow, March 6 at 4 p.m. at The Picturehouse during the True/False Film Festival.