What happens to a 4-year-old kid who grew up smoking pot and running barefoot on the wild streets of 1960s San Francisco? In FOLLOWING SEAN, a magical blend of deeply intriguing personal narrative and street-level investigation, filmmaker Ralph Arlyck tracks down Sean--the boy who had been the subject of his controversy-sparking 1969 documentary--to find out what hes like 30 years later.
In 1969, young San Francisco filmmaker Ralph Arlyck won awards and sparked controversy when he interviewed his 4 year old upstairs neighbor, a boy named Sean, who--among other things--discussed smoking pot. Many years later, Arlyck returned to California to find Sean again, and over the following decade crafted Following Sean. This rich, complex documentary delves into Sean's life, his family, and Arlyck's own family to create a meditation on work, parents and children, and personal freedom. What's most striking about Following Sean is that these fundamental questions never feel forced or ponderous, but rise up organically from the simple facts of his subjects' lives. Furthermore, Arlyck's editing is sharp, fluidly moving forward and giving this potentially aimless material a compelling momentum. Fans of Ross McElwee (Sherman's March, Bright Leaves), The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill, or Crumb will savor Following Sean's similar mix of the ordinary and the profound, as will anyone interested in an unfiltered, ambivalent, and authentic view of 1960s America, one that weighs the cost as well as the thrills of that almost mythical era. --Bret Fetzer