My Father and the Man In Black

Director: Jonathan Holiff
2012 • 90 Minutes

Jonathan Holiff’s documentary is an investigation of his father’s life and that of Johnny Cash who dominated it for years. This films is “an intense personal adventure with universal themes that just happens to feature one of 20th-century music’s great icons” – Ambrose Roche, NXNE.

Saul Holiff was Cash's manager in the 1960s and 70s, he’s mentioned in all the books –but sparingly. Having retired to Canada in the mid-seventies, Holiff all but disappeared from the pages of music history. But since the release of Walk The Line in 2005, interest in the late Saul Holiff has grown; and with it comes an inside look at a period that saw Johnny go from down (and nearly out) to superstardom.

There is much great music, oodles of exclusive visuals (stills and film clips) and – think paneled dens, tiki bars, vintage 60s & 70s décor – seamless re-creations of the past. With more plot twists than a British heist film, the narrative is strong, exposing more faces of the multifaceted Man In Black himself than ever before. It seems that drugs and drink weren’t the real cause of Cash’s professional self-destruction.

Refreshingly though, My Father and the Man In Black does not slip into the realm of tabloid. Selected telephone conversations, audio diaries and letters have been combined to tell a story that is at once exciting, tragic, dramatic and touching – but always uncompromising.



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