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Daddy Day (Papadag) Short Film Review

Updated: Sep 15, 2021

★★★★ Stars


A lounge area - a grandfather sits on the left of the couch, his granddaughter in the middle and her father next to her on the right. She looks down at her hands in boredom, the two men looking at each other quite confused.

Daddy Day is a Dutch short film mainly based around a father-daughter relationship. When the girl’s father forgets that it is the weekend she comes to stay at his household separate to her mother’s, he doesn’t have anything prepared. He scrambles for help; scrambles for any ideas that can pass time and assist them in enjoying the company they have together.

Made for the 48 Hour Film Project, Daddy Day’s core is voiced as “you are in control” through the form of affirmation tapes. You are the only person who understands your boundaries. Do not cross that line if you don’t want to. You are in control. It may seem like a very deep topic to connect to a short about a colourful tea party with dad, daughter and grandad but I can assure you that it fits perfectly when put into context. Even the simple things in life can be refused if you don’t feel comfortable. Sjoerd (father figure played by Dirk Gunther Mohr) lists ideas for activities to do with his daughter Vanessa (Nina Zandvliet,) one of which was mentioned by grandad (Tom De Jong) but was quickly shut down by Sjoerd.

Now… the small activity that was refused was a lot less extravagant than the activity they settled upon, however that is exactly why this tag-line of “you are in control” fits almost flawlessly. Stepping outside of your comfort zone whenever you feel that it is appropriate to do so is what you are in control of. In this case, having the most fun with your daughter is something you should embrace. Crazy wigs, makeup, tea, dancing – laughter and enjoyment can easily be the result when you understand that you can take control of your day. Seize the day, no matter how big or small the situation is! And repeating a view on life like this will eventually start to naturally occur.

Dirk Gunther Mohr and Marjolein Van Panhuys (Vanessa’s mother) both give amazing performances, using subtle facial expressions and eye contact to their upmost advantage. I’m impressed and frankly quite surprised by how much depth is created to character in such a short space of time; when I say they use the previously listed elements to their advantage I really do mean that. Whether it be a soft smile that is quickly wiped off their face once they catch themselves letting it slip, or the progression of strength in eye contact showcasing a transition in comfort, everything adds up and should be praised as it stacks high.

With an extra nod to the creative and eye-catching editing throughout Daddy Day (Tim Straver and Alrik Eiggers,) this short film will definitely bring some light to a gloomy day. The five minute short is left in a slightly open-ended way that allows room for audience interpretation as well as giving bursts of emotion, very skilfully through little dialogue overall actually, that will expand over time as you ponder over the film.

You can watch Daddy Day here on YouTube.



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