Originally submitted as a thesis project under the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts program, Director and student Roy Arwas created the beautifully shot film Clarity. Inspired by the complexities of father-son relationships and influenced by the pain of losing a parent to illness; Clarity is a short drama following Tom, a marine veteran struggling to forgive his alcoholic, abusive father who’s diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
Arwas recreated the complex bonds between a parent and child. While familial mistakes are the most detrimental its loyalty transcends standard modes of forgiveness. Tom’s time with his ill father encouraged remnants of hope, but during a brief mental lapse, the imperfections of parents are understood. Arwas enables viewers to remember moments their parents disappointed them and their perfect facade had faded; viewing them as flawed human beings rasing more flawed beings.
Tragedies compel people to heal former wounds and change their lives. Arwas depicts Alzheimer’s as an opportunity for second chances; where the father could repent for his sins, and Tom could forgive the past. Arwas’ depiction is similar to glamorizing, but he counteracts the speculation by portraying pain as confinement to its victims. While Tom’s father enjoys a momentary reprieval from his transgressions, the consequences are reflected through his children and forever etched in their lives.
Clarity emphasizes familial bonds as a challenging being to completely disrupt. Loyalty requires much sacrifice to retain its bond and can become toxic, further consuming existing parties and damaging their lives. Arwas captures the difficulties of healing as a family and how a guilt-ridden apology doesn’t guarantee an instantaneous recovery. But with time and action, it’s possible to recover and build a stronger bond without resentment.