“I have spent my entire life building this company.” – Frank Lowy
Oscar-nominated documentarian Steven Cantor brings us a personal behind-the-scenes look into Frank Lowy‘s life. Lowy, the Sydneysider who founded the global shopping mall giant Westfield has been on the top of his game ever since he first opened a store in Blacktown, Australia, back in 1959.
As the prospects of a merger and retirement loom, Frank reflects on his past achievements and future. From living as a Jew in 1930s Czechoslovakia, to moving to Australia and building the first small and family-run Westfield stall, starting what would become a global, billion dollar enterprise. The relationship with his wife of 67 years, who lives with severe dementia has left a deep impact on his career and personal life.
Cantor really knows how to tell a linear story. We follow Lowy all the way back to his childhood home, recollecting early memories while walking down the streets of his Eastern European hometown. Traveling to Israel, where he thinks back on his teenage years being a soldier, he rekindles with old friends and talks about past events. The problem with this linear storytelling, is that it never really feels in depth. It’s also filmed as if the documentary was made for a late night tv-special. Combine that with a somewhat melodramatic score and it all becomes quickly all too sappy.
What does tugs at your heartstrings, is Frank’s relationship with his wife. Hearing him talk with so much love and witnessing the sadness in his eyes, makes you feel for him. This clearly took a high toll on his emotional state, which makes a final decision on merging with a European company almost unanimously minor. His family has always come first.
What Will Become of Us is a heartfelt private look into the life of one of the richest Australians ever. If you expect to see an in-depth exploration on his Westfield-empire, you’ll be let down. But the heart that made this enterprise is pure, and could motivate any one of us into achieving more than ever thought possible.
‘What Will Become of Us‘ screens as part of Jewish International Film Festival all over Australia. Check dates in your area and purchase tickets HERE.
JIFF Review – ‘What Will Become of Us’
Reviewed online (also showing as part of JIFF), Sydney, Nov. 12, 2019. Running time: 72 min.
PRODUCTION: A Tribeca Studios presentation of a Stick Figure Productions production. Producers: Steven Cantor, Nina Chaudry, Matthew Ferro, Jamie Schutz. Consulting producer: Jessica Cozzetta. Co-producer: Dani Drusin. Associate producers: Jonathan Field, Jocelyn Steiber. Line producer: Evan Needell.
CREW: Director: Steven Cantor. Story consultant: David Kushner. Camera (color): Johnny Saint-Ours. Editor: Lewis Rapkin. Music: Aaron Dessner, Bryce Dessner.