An Exposed Family Secret Makes A Good Story In ‘A One Way Trip To Antibes’

“The power of a writer means we can take the truth and change the ending of the story”

Filmmaker, Richard Hobert

A One Way Trip To Antibes

Swedish Film, A One Way Trip To Antibes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When his father’s  life long secret is finally revealed to him, Swedish Writer and Director Richard Hobert is inspired to turn it into a movie, “A One Way Trip To Antibes’ because family secrets make for great stories.

The film is about a retired French teacher, George (Sven-Bertil Taube) spends most of his days indoors, waiting for visits from his young house cleaner Maria (Rebecca Ferguson), who is routinely stealing objects from his house, relying on his deteriorating vision to mask her misdeeds. Indifferent to her actions—more concerned with being left alone—George is forced to play his hand when he learns of her involvement in a conspiracy with his children—Johan (Dan Ekborg) and Susanne (Malin Morgan)—to sell his house and ship him off to a retirement home.  As a counter-move George makes a plan together with his friend and neighbour  Olof (Iwar Wiklander) and sets off to his secret mistress, Christine (Catherine Rouvel) in Antibes.  A woman he would have married if his wife hadn’t become pregnant with Johan. The journey gets complicated and delayed, but ends in a kind of reconciliation.

I went to see his latest Swedish tragicomedy called, “A One Way Trip To Antibes” at The Royal in Toronto for their European Union Film Festival on Sunday and was happy to hear the director was in the house for a Q&A.

Filmmaker Richard Hobert at The Royal

Filmmaker Richard Hobert at The Royal in Toronto introducing his movie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Secret That Inspired The Movie

A  couple months after his mother died, Richard received a phone call from a woman who asked his permission to contact his father upon learning of his mother’s death.  Richard told her she didn’t need his permission and wondered why she would ask?  She explained to him that when his father was younger and engaged to his mother,  the  two of them met and fell in love while he was in France working for her father for a few weeks.  He planned on going back to Sweden to break up with his fiancé  but as soon as he got there, she told him she was pregnant.  Since he was a man of honour and felt the need to do the right thing, he stayed with her and broke it off with the love of his life instead.

Now that her husband and his wife were dead, she wanted to reconnect with him. Richard gave his blessing to do so and didn’t mention anything to his father.

“All my life I felt something was not right with my parents but couldn’t really tell what?  They seemed to love each other but something was missing in our lives. At the end of my mother’s life, she went crazy and I figure it’s because she too knew something was off with my father but never talked about it. That phone call gave me my answer.”

A couple of weeks later he was at his father’s home when he received the call from the woman.

His father stood up and walked into his study-turning his back to Richard.  All he heard his father say was, “No thanks, I’m not interested.”

At that moment, he got the idea for this movie.  He based it on just that feeling of his fathers reaction.

 “I’m a writer so I use aspects of my life in every movie I make.  The power of a writer means we can take the truth and change the ending of a story, so I twisted it and gave it a happy ending. My father told me a while later, that he was too old to go back to a love he once had at the beginning of his life. That he could never fulfil her fantasy.  But what if my father followed his heart, went to her and it worked out?”

What You Don’t Know Will Hurt You

“My mother never had the chance to forgive my father in life but I gave her the power to do it in this movie by making her a ghost that haunts him and eventually tells him he is forgiven.  Maybe she wouldn’t have gone crazy in the end had my father revealed what was really in his heart all along?”

And So I Write My Story…

It made me wonder, is it a blessing or a curse to  have messy secrets brought out in the open for everybody to deal with or for a family to never really know why they are the way they are and carry a weight on their shoulders that can never be named?

I think exposing secrets lessens their power and takes them out of the realm of being “unspeakable.” Just think, if you had the freedom to tell your own (and your family’s) story, your own kids would be able to understand themselves a lot better.

When I was 12, my cousin revealed a family secret to me that I was the last to know about. He actually screamed it out in front of the neighbourhood kids while we were playing outside. Apparently,  I pissed him off enough for him to feel the need to lash out.    It devastated me for years and fed into my pre-pubescent angst.  Even though the way he did it sucked, I am grateful for the little shit exposing it because my parents could have waited forever for the right moment to tell me.

As I write my story now, I’ve had to dig deep into my personal experiences and be honest with myself about past regrets, bad choices, family secrets and messy dramas.  But knowing what I know now, it’s helped me understand myself and be at peace with it.

After all, our personal life experiences make for good TV shows, movies, songs, paintings, novels… So, Own it. USE IT.

Know that you have the power to change the ending.

If you want to weigh in on this post…leave a comment. Love to hear what you think about exposing family secrets and how you’ve dealt with it in your life.

Love and light,

Yoko