Throughout his long – and still active – career, the 84-year-old filmmaker, bicycle commentator and author Jørgen Leth has not been stingy with private and intimate details from his life.
Now his one son, the 42-year-old musician, journalist and author Kristian Leth, has published a ‘kind of memoir’, as the publisher describes it, about his childhood and upbringing.
The press material emphasizes that there is no question of a showdown or revenge.
It is clear, however, that Kristian Leth has needed his father’s version of the truth and the family members’ common past not to go unchallenged.
‘What is this then? A showdown? A correction? Revenge? I do not hope so, even though I have learned that I can not easily see through my own motives, ‘says Kristian Leth.
In a central passage in the book, Kristian Leth describes how in an interview in Politiken a few years ago to his great surprise he could read about the time when he himself was eight or nine years old, and his father was depressed and therefore could not be there for his children.
‘The journalist asks in the interview if he has talked to us about it. ‘Yes, we have,’ he says. ‘My children have forgiven me.’ We have never talked about this period. This interview is the first I hear about it. I did not know that my father could remember it. Or that he thought about it that way, writes Kristian Leth.
Not a math
Following on from the story of the interview episode, Kristian Leth points out that he is not vindictive or wants to ‘do a math’.
‘You can not use your story to break others down. Or you may well, but it does not bring order to the cases. It’s not a math. If you yourself are injured, there is no point in giving the pain back to those who injured you, ‘writes Kristian Leth and adds:
‘That I love my father does not dissolve the pain of our lives together.’