Over my Dad’s Body

99A documentary thriller. When Taliya was young, she never knew for sure whether her uncle was a KGB agent in disguise or a true member of the family. Her father claimed that his brother had been murdered in a Ukrainian prison and substituted by an imposter from the KGB, forced on the family by the old soviet regime. Her father presented his claims in a way that made his family believe this unlikely story. After the tragic death of the father, the mystery surrounding his stories continued to grow. Five years after his death, filmmaker Taliya Finkel goes on a fascinating journey in order to unfold the mystery around her departed father. Guided by a private investigator, she travels from Israel to the Ukraine and back in a desperate quest to find proof of her father’s story. During the voyage, Taliya investigates the thin line that separates imagination and reality, sanity and madness.

Press and publications  about the film

Festival and Prizes

Winner of Best foreign Documentary at “WASHOUGAL International Film Festival”, Whashington USA, held at August 24, 2008

 HIGHLY COMMENDED in the DOCUMENTARY AND FACTUAL category at Scottish Mental Health Film Festival 2009

Bob Truus review

IDFA is back in town. The documentary festival has this year new locations: Tuschinski and De Munt. City is being renovated at the moment. Friday evening R and I had our yearly IDFA-visit.  

We had a great evening: we chatted, Grandma Bob’s  bitterballen were excellent and the  film was  impressive. Over My Dad’s Body is an Israeli documentary of a young director about her schizophrenic father. Was his brother not his real brother but a KGB agent like her father said? After her father’s mysterious death she researches with a private detective her uncle’s history in the Soviet Union, but she doesn’t find the answers she is looking for. To me this didn’t matter, because in the meanwhile we got a touching portrait of her family that was nearly broken by the schizophrenia of the father. And despite of his lies and craziness his wife and daughters loved him. (Bob Truus / Amsterdam)   The film page in IDFA

Yair Garbuz talks about “Over My Dad’s Body” (Hebrew)

at “Tik-Tikshort”, TV industry critic, Channel 2, Reshet, 01/11/2007 When a young daughter decides to make a documentary movie about her mentally ill father she summons numerous risks that can paralyze even the most experienced movie maker. She can be unjust toward those people who want to remain anonymous and unveil the sufferings of her family thus inviting harsh or cruel remarks and gossips. She is asked to deal with an ethical question: Does her father agree to expose his illness? Such a movie can be vulgar and too emotional. “Over my Dad’s Body”, Taliya Finkel’s movie, not only dodges all these traps but also succeeds to evoke a great interest, compassion and a feeling of great gratitude for the opportunity to look into the life of her family that teaches us how one can live with such illness, how we can love a mentally ill person and how we can enjoy his company. It teaches us how not to condemn the sick person to solitude as he suffers enough. The film is well edited and merges well the footage of the hidden camera as well as regular documentary footage. It enjoys a very good soundtrack and the ending theme song is thrilling. Is the main subject of the film is truly the mental illness? Not necessarily. We can say that the film main subjects are acceptance, determination and love. This film does not try to be objective but to be a true documentary film. Till we learn how to live with such illness there is no time left in order to use this knowledge and the remaining time is dedicated to sorrow. If this mentally ill person was alive today I would look for him and wish to know him since he was such a charming person. Unfortunately, this is impossible.

Watch a video of critique Yair Garbuz reviewing the film (hebrew)

KGB and a Documentary Film on TV News: ”Over My Dad’s Body’

Over My Dad’s Body is a real-life thriller by Joseph Serge, Canada :  “This is a disturbing and deeply moving documentary.” 

Movies in the Twilight of the Inner and the Outer Reality. The Insights of Taliya Finkel click to Read the article by Doron Rabinovici (English) from Dilleto Paper on art & culture II/2001.

‘Skating on Thin Ice’ – Article in “Ha’Aaretz

The film’s graphics created by Daniel Buckwald

Jason Watches Movies

First up was a pretty strange movie, an Israeli documentary thriller “Over My Dad’s Body”. Taliya Finkel grew up not knowing if her uncle really was her uncle, or a look-alike planted by the KGB to spy on her father. That was her father’s theory. He swore his brother wasn’t the same man when he came out of prison. He was always asking strange questions that he should know, his birthmark was gone, etc. But then again, he was also diagnosed with schizophrenia. Five years after her father died (murdered?) she decided to investigate her own uncle, hiring private eyes and documenting the whole journey. She travels back to the Ukraine to find prison records from when her uncle was in prison, but the records have long been lost or destroyed. She searches for evidence of the KGB program in the prison, but no luck. It’s a fascinating movie, a fascinating story, but I don’t know what to make of it. I’m pretty convinced that her father was just schizophrenic and was telling wild stories. She seems to lean towards believing her father, but is very skeptical and doesn’t really know what to believe. This movie may end up haunting me for a while. Here’s Jason’s blog