When you hear a title like “My Dead Dad’s Porno Tapes”, you’re probably not immediately thinking of a story of generations of dysfunction, tempers, and even abuse — but this short film tackles those big issues with grace and humor. Director Charlie Tyrell’s relationship with his father, Greg, is put under the microscope as he sorts through his father’s things after he passes away.

“I had this lingering impulse to make a film about him that looked at our relationship. Then, I found [his] porno tapes,” Tyrell told The Atlantic. “I thought it would be an absurd and funny way to approach the subject. It’s hard to talk about a deceased loved one without sucking all of the air out of the room. So, by approaching it with a sense of humor, I found a way to invite people into the story in a less weighty way.”

So what could he find about this man? The man who didn’t talk about his job, the man who was perpetually in the middle of DIY and home upgrades, the man who was fiercely protective of his belongings. But what else? A look at Greg’s mother, Dale, gives new insight into his life — and a recorded conversation between the two of them is so revealing. It’s a story about what defines us — is it what we take with us or what we leave behind? You can see the whole thing here:

My Dead Dad’s Porno Tapes from Charlie Tyrell on Vimeo.

What is it like to make a video based off of your father’s belongings? It’s clearly no easy feat. “It was emotionally draining at times,” Tyrell said. “This was me exposing mine and my family’s relationship with our dad. But the process of looking at our relationship and shaping it into a story for a film allowed me to articulate my thoughts and feelings in a way that I wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise.” And it’s a total triumph.