Recording your life when diagnosed with a terminal illness isn’t new. John Diamond, Nigella Lawson’s late husband, wrote a column (and subject of a tv documentary) going right up until the end. As a journalist it may have been his natural instinct to document his situation.

Albeit with a lower profile Kit Vincent is in a similar position. A filmmaker, he’s diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour at 24 and decids to record his life from then on.

The film may have started with Kit at the centre; the camera seemingly stuck to his hand, with a quip for every take. But he then begins to approach his family, in particular father Lawrence and mother Julie. Divorced they now have separate lives and have different ways of handling the situation.

As a district nurse Julie has a much more practical approach being used to handling the terminally ill, it’s pragmatic bordering on academic. Lawrence however has a much baser emotional response, one that the viewer may find more engaging than Julie’s.

Kit’s questioning and discussion with them is candid. With his mother its almost confrontational when he challenges her about the number of times she’s called him. With his father he appears to have a more empathetic relationship, frosty a times when the discussion gets too close to bone.

The other participant is Kit’s partner Isobel, albeit far more reluctantly. She is not backwards in coming forward pointing that they have a lot to discuss just doesn’t want it to be recorded. Asking Isobel if she’ll get a new boyfriend once he’s gone is an example of Kit’s black humour though Isobel just isn’t up for it.

The film tends to lean towards Lawrence and his many hobbies that may or may not be because of his son’s diagnosis and his need to keep busy. He’s also the main source of the film’s humour, black or otherwise, for example complaining about eating fish and chips with his hands.

The other projects could be fillers but what isn’t is Lawrence’s commitment to his study and conversion to Judaism. Taking some comfort from the philosophical discussions with the rabbi and his study group, the bookshop and his contemplation of the Torah. This could all be very dry. It isn’t, it’s incredibly moving and sympathetically recorded by Kit.

As to Kit, behind the camera he’s happy enough to push hard on his subjects. When he’s the focus its another matter, becoming far more defensive. The news that the cancer has grown leads the doctors to advise radio and chemotherapy, and here is when the viewer sees his fear begin to seep through.

Technically it’s a fairly ramshackle production of the amateur home movie type. That however is a minor, probably irrelevant matter. What is important is that Kit has produced a sincere and heartfelt glimpse into his life and those around him. It’s a very public way of dealing with a very personal issue, which won’t suit others in a similar position. One hopes that Kit achieves what he set out to do with the documentary, and if others get something positive from it, so much the better.

Red Herring will be in select UK cinemas and on demand from 3 May 2024