Watch The Portrait
- 20 min
Art student Eva Burrell chooses her grandfather, German emigre Henry Winter, as the subject of a portraiture assignment in the final year of her degree. Her mother, Laura, finds it hard to disguise her reticence about the decision because Eva and her teenage brother Tom, who has Downs Syndrome, are unaware of the exact details of their grandfather's wartime past. Ninety-two year old Henry, who lives alone in a suburban bungalow, is thrilled at the interest his grand daughter shows in him. As the portrait progresses over the weeks and Eva's relationship with her grandfather develops, her attempts at re-accommodating him into family life push Laura further into a dilemma that's plagued her ever since adolescence when her mother confided in her the nature of her father's association with the T4 Euthanasia Programme at the Psychiatric Hospital at Hadamar in Germany between 1941 and 1945. At a meal to celebrate her birthday, to which Eva has invited Henry, Laura watches with a profound envy at the good-natured informality of her children and her close friend Roger in the company of her father. Should she tell her children or allow them to live their lives without the burden of knowledge that she feels has colored so many aspects of her adult life. Forced into a corner by her daughter's persistent questioning Laura decides it's time to finally confront her father with what she knows; a decision that will lead to Henry's death - neither murder nor suicide but a tragic ritual of retribution by consent.