DMovies - Your platform for thought-provoking cinema

Red Herring

Following a terminal brain tumour diagnosis, young British man sets out to challenge and to document his relationship to his parents - on BFI Player on Friday, May 17th

When 24-year-old Kit Vincent found out that he had a brain tumour, and that his life expectancy has between four and eight years, he immediately switched on his camera and pointed it towards his divorced parents, and occasionally towards himself. He decided to use cinema as a tool for personal liberation (a purpose that fits in well with our dirty vision of film). Making this documentary became a cathartic experience, a coping mechanism and an integral part of his treatment. It was not a smooth and straightforward journey: at times Kit asked himself whether the filmmaking was having the precisely opposite effect on him, in what is a highly confessional and intimate register of a human being coping with impeding death and suffering.

He puts both of his folks through the wringer. He makes his mother Julie visibly uncomfortable as he questions her absence during his disease, and her silence about her past (she was adopted). She harbours a dark secret, and an unexpected revelation helps to shed light on her seemingly selfish behaviour. Perhaps she was just trying to protect her son from an awful knowledge. She eventually breaks down at the recognition that she will have grapple with his death, in what’s perhaps the film’s most poignant scene. His father Lawrence is a lot more present and doting. He provides Kit with the affection and support network required, while using his Jewish faith in order to cope with the immense pain (Julie and Kit do not express any religious affiliations).

This is a very honest and brave yet uneven piece of first-person cinema. It starts with snapshots of Kit’s childhood, then it suddenly fast forwards to present day, leaving a huge gap in between. We learn very little about Kit’s passions in life. He is introduced as a filmmaker, yet this looks like a craft that he picked after his diagnosis (his IMDB suggests this is his very first work). There is little insight into what constituted the human being both in front and behind the cameras prior to the discovery of the tumour. His love life too is left virtually untouched. His partner Isobel is almost entirely absent. The young woman barely shows her face and speaks, except for the quick glance at home and at the doctor’s as Kit considers freezing his sperm, He never confronts and asks her difficult questions.

Ultimately, this is a register of a man desperately scrambling to instil joy into his fragile and tragically short existence, and to help his loved ones to cope with the suffering and the impendings loss. He spares viewers from his regular seizures, but not from the most heart-wrenching interactions with his family. He explains that he set out to create something positive at which people can look and remember him after he’s gone. He’s partly successful. While humbling, this is hardly an uplifting film.

Red Herring premiered at IDFA in 2023. In cinemas on Friday, May 3rd (2024). On BFI Player on Friday, May 17th.


By Victor Fraga - 01-05-2024

Victor Fraga is a Brazilian born and London-based journalist and filmmaker with more than 20 years of involvement in the cinema industry and beyond. He is an LGBT writer, and describes himself as a di...

DMovies Poll

Are the Oscars dirty enough for DMovies?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Most Read

Forget Friday the 13th, Paranormal Activity and the [Read More...]
Just a few years back, finding a film [Read More...]
A lot of British people would rather forget [Read More...]
Pigs might fly. And so Brexit might happen. [Read More...]
Sexual diversity is at the very heart of [Read More...]
Films quotes are very powerful not just because [Read More...]

Read More

The Filmmaker’s House

Marc Isaacs
2020

Victor Fraga - 18-01-2021

British documentarist invites strangers into his house and captures the ensuing moments of both awkwardness and solidarity - in cinemas on Friday, June 25th [Read More...]

Our dirty questions to Sarah Young

 

John McDonald - 27-05-2024

John McDonald interviews Sarah Young, the director of the deceptive "perfectly married couple" movie Not Him; they talk about domestic violence, the paranormal as a horror device, her upcoming comedy horror series, and a lot more [Read More...]

The Substance

Coralie Fargeat
2024

Victor Fraga - 27-05-2024

Coralie Fargeat's deliciously bonkers body horror is a grotesque, groovy and hilarious riff on sexism, ageism, and the absurd beauty standards forced upon women - from the 77th Festival de Cannes [Read More...]

Facebook Comment

Website Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *