A few years ago, 59-year-old Bill Friedman was an out of shape workaholic lawyer, a lousy husband and an absent father with a mansion in a Toronto suburb. After his second divorce, he suffered a major depression, sold the house, left the law firm and started working out. A lot. Bill became a competitive bodybuilder. For director Bryan Friedman, this is a fascinating subject for a documentary, but also a little embarrassing. The bulging, bronzed and glistening geriatric muscleman squeezed into a thong just happens to be his estranged father. Making this film is Bryan’s way of coming to terms with the man he has hardly seen since he was a baby. Following his dad’s obsession brings up painful unresolved issues for Bryan, but it still seems easier than talking to his dad through a wall that is 26 years thick. Through the quest for sculpted perfection, the choreographed routines and the tanning sessions emerges a funny and poignant musing on coping with failure, dealing with family and reluctant forgiveness.
Bryan Friedman holds a BFA from New York University’s Tisch School of the arts and has worked in producion and development at two of Canada’s top film companies. In 2005. he directed ‘Selwyyn’, a short documentary. ‘The Bodybuilder and I’ is his first feature film.
The Bodybuilder And I
2007, 86', color, video
Julia Rosenberg, Anita Lee, Tyler Levine
January Films, National Film Board of Canada
Festivals & Awards:
Hot Docs 2007 - Best Canadian Feature Documentary; Atlantic Film Festival - Best Canadian Documentary