David Quint’s very personal documentary opens with the filmmaker acknowledging that “something is missing.” He experiences a distance from others and a feeling of emptiness, even extending to his own family.
Quint suspects this might have some connection to his father, Urban, and the fact that his dad never knew who his father was after living in a Swiss orphanage until he was twelve-years-old before joining his mother in the United States.
What follows is a journey to understand himself, to get to know his father, and to learn the truth about where his father came from. Quint and his father travel to a castle and former orphanage in Switzerland where the elder Quint lived as a child. They meet a childhood friend of Urban’s and later David’s father awakes distraught and confused following a nightmare about his friend. This proves to be a turning point in the film as Urban is overwhelmed with the grief and sadness of his early life.
Father Unknown is a deeply moving film and the viewer is provided an intimate vantage point right alongside David and his father as the camera captures the moments when long hidden secrets about the family are revealed, including news of Urban’s father and an unexpected meeting of brothers.