SXSW Film Reviews

THE SELF-MADE MAN

D: Susan Stern

Documentary Feature Spotlight

Bob Stern has an aortal aneurysm, metastatic prostate cancer, and a camcorder. He's also got a decision to make: whether to proceed with surgery to remove the aneurysm. For his doctors, it's a low-risk procedure. For 77-year-old Bob, the surgery is the first link in the chain of medical invasions leading inexorably to an ignoble and painful end. Director Susan Stern – Bob's middle child – depicts her father's choice with intelligence and sensitivity. The film is as much about Bob Stern's life as his death; a stubborn and determined businessman who made two separate fortunes before retiring at 37, Bob is one tough nugget, but his gruff warmth, big dreams, and sense of humor are evident in this loving yet polished portrait. Stern bravely puts a face on the right-to-die debate by inviting viewers into the family circle.

Austin Convention Center, 11:30am

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