Children of a Lesser God

"Are you your father’s son or your father’s father?": Rachel Weisz and Fiennes in Sunshine.
photo: Courtesy of Paramount Classics
"Are you your father’s son or your father’s father?": Rachel Weisz and Fiennes in Sunshine.


Directed by Istvn Szab
Written by Szab and Israel Horowitz
A Paramount Classics release Opens June 9

The Children of Chabannes
Directed by Lisa Gossels and Dean Wetherell
A Perennial release Opens June 9

Pop & Me
Directed by Chris Roe
A Seventh Art release Opens June 9

Americans are notoriously more oriented toward geography than history. Unlike Sunshine, which examines a lineage of fathers and sons over a period of 125 years while seldom moving outside of Budapest, Pop & Me, like a pint-size M:I-2, jets around the world in six months on the impossible mission of restoring the tattered relationship between Chris Roe, an aspiring filmmaker, and his father, Richard Roe, a self-made millionaire. The elder Roe is in the throes of a midlife crisis, exacerbated by having just lost most of his money and having been divorced by his wife. The father wants to revisit the happiest time of his life—a 1979 trip around the world taken in the company of his wife and three young sons. Chris seizes on his father's invitation to accompany him as an opportunity to break through the anger that separates them. It's also a way of making a documentary about fathers and sons on his father's dime. The last of Dad's fortune is spent on plane tickets and food and travel expenses, not just for two, but also for the cameraman whose constant presence is a guarantee against the intimacy that the son and father both claim to desire. For the purpose of this indie documentary, the Roes visit families in about 20 countries, but they are so blinded by their own neurotic power struggle that they are only capable of viewing other relationships in terms of their own. Tears flow, but the most revelatory moment is provided not by the spectacle of the Roes clinging to each other on a bungee cord, but by Julian Lennon, who pops up on the beach in Monaco to give a terse evaluation of his father: "He loved the world more than he loved me."

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