Pincus Finster is in way over his head: trying to find a way to stall his father’s Parkinson’s, halfheartedly taking up yoga to meet girls, and letting his only friend Dietmar, an aging German illegal alien, get drunk and sleep in the homes they’re supposed to be remodeling. Pincus spends his time stoned and fumbling for some sort of spiritual truth. Drawing from his own life, director and writer David Fenster has cast his family and friends (including his father, Paul Fenster, who has been living with Parkinson’s for 13 years) and woven documentary footage shot in and around his hometown of Miami, Florida into the story, capturing the singular beauty of a city that is so often misrepresented.
In late 2010 I was living in my parents’ house for the first time in 14 years. I was helping my mother take care of my father. His mental and physical state were declining quickly as a consequence of the Parkinson’s. I began filming my dad doing everyday activities and interviewing him, not sure what to do with the footage. It was frustrating to see both my parents suffering so much, my father from the disease and my mother from the overwhelming responsibility of being a caretaker. The filming gave me a hiatus from my own emotional turmoil and allowed me to replace negative feelings with curiosity.
While this was going on, I was trying to write a fictional film about a man’s new-age spiritual search. Yoga, vision quests and energy crystals seemed silly to me at first but when I started to engage with these practices and the communities surrounding them, I found myself excited by the possibility that there were forces and dimensions beyond my understanding. When I would become particularly skeptical, a close friend would remind me that “maybe this stuff is bullshit, but life is more interesting when you choose to believe that all things are possible.” I wanted to create a film about my powerful desire to see the world as a magical place versus my equally powerful cynicism.
I was having problems with my script and I didn’t know what to do with the recordings I was making at home. At some point I decided that the presence of my father in the fictional world I was writing might be interesting. In the past I have used documentary to explore people who pique my interest (all of my documentaries are portraits) and fiction to explore my psychic landscape and its relationship to the physical landscape. In this film I investigated all of those things at once.