Rachel Leah, named for the lovely sister and the other who was weary and weak-eyed, sped on a plane to Spain to meet her feckless father.
So Rachel Leah, American-Israeli film-maker, flew to Madrid where Alabama-rooted, Deep South-suited David had been reborn; become an Andalusian-booted flamenco gypsy artiste, wreathed in fumes of stale beer and clouds of Dutch black baccy.
“You may be my Dad,” said Rachel Leah, “but years apart have pulled us asunder; the blood ties quite worn away. Neither Jew, nor Christian, not quite father or even dear friend, your role in the family is henceforth as ‘Gypsy Davy Serva’, a Cyclops eye on the score of a siren’s song.
“No, Dad! Please don’t try to deceive me. With a stash of evidence against you, I should have little more to say and even less to do. What more may a warring father and daughter expect from a broken-pelvis-shattered wrist Sunday afternoon?
“However,” said Rachel Leah, now in directorial command, “for the next ten years I shall focus my forensic eye upon you through the viewfinder of my camera. We start today. It is our new zero”.
“What do you mean?”, mourned Davy, his spirit fairly snapped in two.
“Your broken bones will knit themselves,” said Rachel Leah. “But only time – the greatest healer – will mend the family you half-created, then fractured with your fooling. My proposed cure is to reunite us all on film.
“You’ve fathered five children by five different women, fine mothers in their middle and latter years. They’ve had big lives, Dad. My film will show a bare sliver of their existence; their ‘Boy David’ lives.
“They were – and remain – boldly bewitching characters. All would be yet greater if they had not been frustrated by you.
“I tell everyone – my half-siblings, close confidantes, colleagues, journalists too - that our relationship has been distressingly dissatisfying. You haven’t been absent enough to be just an abstract idea, and not present enough to be really satisfying in any way.
“But, hey Dad, tell you what: Despite all, I’ve come to like you and cherish your artistry, your wit, even your skewed brand of candour.
“I appreciate, for example, how you’ve taken so little from my own artistic pride, requesting simply that I remove only three words about you from my film script. I suppose I set out to humanise you, but part of me also needed to punish you a little bit."
“O.K., honey. I’ve felt all that; the joy and the pain,” said Davy. “There’s no need to lay it on slab. I don't mind being a sacrificial lamb for you. I owe it to you. You want me to say I'm sorry? I'll say it five million times. Of course I'm sorry. But come on. Finish your film. I want to die sad. It's a sad story. No?"
“Yeah,” sobbed Rachel Leah. “So is the Bible story of Jacob and his wives. But he got the right girl in the end. What about you?”
Gypsy Davy, directed and written by Rachel Leah Jones, won the Documentary Edge Festival 2013. After being premiered on Israeli television, the film also gained much attention at prestigious events like the Sundance Film Festival and the International Women Film Festival, Israel.
(Copyright, Natalie Irene Wood – 22 July 2013)