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Posted November 09, 2010 to photo album "Father-Daughter Movies"
Inspired by Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere, resident film historian David Parkinson looks back over the history of films that focus on father-daughter relationships.
Slide 11: The Feathery Father - Fly Away Home (1996)
Based on the exploits of Bill Lishman, Carroll Ballard's heart-warming Mother Goose saga is the most enchanting variation on the estranged father and daughter format that Hollywood has yet conceived. Lishman originally flew alone with a gaggle of orphaned geese. But screenwriters Robert Rodat and Vince McKewin give the intrepid birdman a child he barely knows in order to make this inspiring story appeal to younger viewers and feel just that little bit more magical. However, Ballard also saw the addition of 13 year-old Amy Alden as a way of helping him cope with the divorce he was going through at that time. “Very painful memories,” he said in one interview. “For me it was an exorcism of all that and bad memories.” For Anna Paquin, however, it was a chance to spread her wings (as it were) after becoming the second youngest Oscar winner for her performance in Jane Campion’s 1993 film The Piano.(Tatum O’Neal remains the youngest ever Oscar winner, for the aforementioned Paper Moon). But the most important part of her performance happened in her absence. As a rule, a gosling assumes that the first thing it sees or hears on being born is its mother. So the team of geese wranglers had to train the birds to respond to recordings of Paquin's voice and follow a double dressed in her film costumes. Indeed, the whole picture was about acclimatisation, as Amy is forced to leave New Zealand following her mother's death in a car crash and live with her conceptual artist-cum-inventor father Thomas (Jeff Daniels) on his remote property in Ontario, Canada. If Amy and Thomas's relationship was initially a little awkward, spare a thought for Paquin and Daniels. Nine years later, they were reunited in Noah Baumbach's The Squid and the Whale (2005) after Daniels replaced Bill Murray in the movie, and found themselves having to shoot a brief sex scene. As Daniels later revealed, the only way the erstwhile father and daughter could cope with the weirdness of the situation was by trying “not to think about...you know, geese.”