The Last Goldfish
R0 - Australia - Umbrella Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: James-Masaki Ryan (5th May 2018).
The Film

"The Last Goldfish" (2017)

Filmmaker and manager of UNSW Creative Practice Lab in the School of the Arts and Media Su Goldfish has had a fascinating life. Born in 1958 in Trinidad to a German father and English mother, she was raised on the Caribbean island until her early teens. But with the Black Revolution in 1970 causing discrimination and violence against whites, the Goldfish family of three emigrated to Australia starting all over again. Su didn't have any brothers or sisters, had no relatives in Trinidad and none in Australia. Her father Manfred had stated that he had no family left in Germany and he never wanted to discuss about his life to his daughter. But through many years and piecing the clues together, Su finds there is much more to why her father kept his early life as a secret. A former marriage and half-siblings, life as a Jew in Nazi Germany, and painful memories.

There are many filmmakers that have made autobiographical works, but in the most part they would be a partially fictionalized version of themselves, reenactments, or loosely based memories. "The Last Goldfish" takes the autobiography to the truest meaning of the word. Narrated by Su, featuring family photos, home videos, and archival footage, the documentary feature is her journey piecing together her family's history that was a mystery to her for decades. The film starts off as a fairly standard biography documentary with Su narrating about her childhood in Trinidad, the difficult move to Australia, teen rebellion, her sexuality, and her relationship to her parents. But the question always loomed - how did a German and English couple end up in the Caribbean? What were their stories?

Throughout the film Su narrates how she started piecing hints together, confronting her parents about the father's first marriage, children he had before Su, and how opening old secrets opened old wounds that never healed. There are countless books and films made about the Nazi Germany treatment of Jews over the years and still in the public consciousness since there are many survivors who are still alive in the twenty-first century, but with many, their silence over the subject has been about trauma and many stories unknown may never be heard. Su was able to bring out some of the stories from him, but her journey led her to Germany, America, and a return to Trinidad to find as much information as possible with relatives, friends, and old colleagues that provided closure to what was once forbidden to speak of. "The Last Goldfish" is possibly the most personal film made by any filmmaker and it is deeply beautiful as it is deeply haunting and heartbreaking.

Note this is a region 0 PAL DVD which can play back in any DVD or Blu-ray player with PAL capability

Video

Umbrella Entertainment presents the film in the 1.78:1 aspect ratio with anamorphic enhancement in the PAL format, though note some footage is windowboxed due to the footage or still photo's aspect ratio. As the film is made up of vintage photographs, home videos, vintage newsreels, plus some more recently shot footage of Su on her journey, it's hard to grade the image as one score. The home videos are as good as they could look but they have their usual troubles of colors and lack of depth. Vintage newsreels can look blurry and scratchy, and even the recent footage does look a little weak at times. The stills of photos do look good as they seem to be directly scanned images of vintage photos. It's as good as the film will look, and even if bumped to HD it may not look that much better.

The film's runtime is 81:09.



















Audio

English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
The original English language track with some minor portions in German is presented in 2.0 stereo, rather than the 5.1 listed on the case. As most of the film consists of Su Goldfish's narration, it is very clear with some channel separation used for the background music. There are no problems with the narration or music, though some of the home movies and other portions may be a little hard to hear due to the source audio.

There are burned-in English subtitles for the few German portions and some hard-to-hear English portions, but there are no optional subtitles for the rest of the film.

Extras

Unfortunately there are no extras on this release. As there is no menu, the film starts when the disc is played, and the disc stops once the film ends. The trailer has been embedded below, courtesy of Umbrella Entertainment:

Packaging

As stated, the packaging mentions the audio is 5.1, but this is incorrect and the audio is 2.0 stereo. It also states the disc is region 4, but it is in fact region 0.

Overall

"The Last Goldfish" is one of the most personal, if not the most personal film ever made - an autobiographical documentary that pieces together a family's history and father's personal trauma as a Jew in Nazi Germany is a truly emotional experience. The Umbrella Entertainment DVD has serviceable video and audio, but unfortunately no extras.

The Film: A Video: B- Audio: B Extras: F- Overall: C

 


DVD Compare is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and the Amazon Europe S.a.r.l. Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.co.uk, amazon.com, amazon.ca, amazon.fr, and amazon.de.