Synopsis : Father Spirit
The documentary follows Jonathan and his father Peter as they journey through India.
Peter must ultimately lose his battle against Huntington’s disease, a fatal neurodegenerative disorder. Jonathan recognizes the tragedy of this but also sees a rare opportunity to pour into their relationship. This opportunity far outstrips the ‘other kinds of work’ he could pursue. Jonathan hopes to enable a richer life for Pop where every moment can be lived to its fullest and each day is a gift.
Jonathan’s appetite for adventure lures him into taking his dad to India – a community he has already acquainted himself with on a previous journey. Though things in this world are fully beyond Jonathan’s control, he can’t pass up the opportunity for their relationship to culminate in this epic adventure.
Motorcycling through the Himalayas Peter clings to his son and the dream becomes a reality while they experience the exhilaration of living from the heart. Everyone seems personally interested in the Duo’s success, whether locals, Sadhus or foreign travelers. We see Jonathan becoming dad’s ability in his disability and the community facilitating this opportunity. Jonathan incarnates the spirit of a father while he himself is supported by the love of even perfect strangers.
But soon Jonathan is confronted with the fact that there is a limit to his ability. Every passing day Pops is becoming weaker and the effort necessary to sustain his dad is at times Herculean. In a situation beyond Jonathan’s wisdom and control he faces the challenge of navigating unfamiliar surroundings while the state of his father’s health deteriorates.
Another nagging question in the face of all these challenges is how much can Pop appreciate the experience. With his powers of expression compromised by the disease, he cannot really say. As the journey progresses, Pop’s actual experience is more and more a mystery, and the epic becomes more and more an act of faith.