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But, and in spite of this triumph, she killed herself in 1981 by throwing herself off a building in New York at the age of 22.
This documentary exploring her brief life and that brilliant work is basically a series of interviews with her parents and brother (all of whom are artists as well), and a few of her friends, juxtaposed with her pictures, some black and white footage she shot of herself making art, and excerpts from her journals. It's fascinating, very well done.
As a survivor of suicide myself, as someone who has had to struggle with someone I love taking himself so violently from us, from those who loved him, I feel great sympathy with her survivors. And while I also sympathize with Francesca, who was an extremely sensitive girl suffering from clinical depression when she died, I have no sympathy with her final act. On that level her story is infuriating. A child of such privilege and talent, but so narcissistic and with such a sense of entitlement. Her journal entries are too much to take, really. Such adolescent self absorption, filtered through her years at Philips Andover and in Italy, and then RISD; where she clearly got immersed in the likes of Sylvia Plath and Virginia Woolf, seeing as how well she took on that same high romantic angst ridden nihilistic "artist's" schtick that they perfected before her.Read more ›
This documentary explores the family of The Woodmans, which is the parents, Betty and George and their children, Charlie and Francesca. This family is all about art and nothing else. The documentary seems at first to focus on Francesca who grew to great celebrity, especially in the past decade, for her unique and passionate photography in the 60's and 70's. It was, unfortunately, not until after her suicide that her art began to take notice.
We listen to her friends and family talk of Francesca and the passion, inspiration and persistence of her work through photography, which at the time was still young in its idea of art. Looking at her works now, they do appear to be quite modern and has since influenced many photographers. But while alive, Francesca was thought of as fragile, alone, sad, desperate, needy or curious. She did not seem to have many friends, but at the same time her world seemed small. She had written in her diaries that she liked her photos to be small to create the intimacy between the viewer and the picture.
In retrospect, however, the parents, from the way they described their upbringing of Francesca, was as if she was in the way of their ideals. They said they were not interested in having kids and it was as if they were an accident. In their travels, such as to Italy, she was sent off with some guide so the parents can experience the artistic world without nagging kids around. Francesca, at least, seemed focused enough at her young age to immerse herself in the world of art (perhaps learning from her parents).Read more ›
Most of the film consists of an interview with George and Betty. There are a few interviews with friends and associates of Francesca and a couple with Charlie. There is footage of her diary, and, best of all are views of Francesca's work, both still photographs and some films. Her work is exquisite and it makes the film worth viewing, in my opinion.
Well I'll stop writing "in my opinion" because obviously this review is an expression of my opinion. I think it's the intent of this site to give viewers the chance to review films, not necessarily to pass judgments on the people in the films. However, many reviewers do express their personal feelings about subjects brought up in films, and it does make for interesting reading. I will take the lead of reviewers Carroll and Velasquez, niether of whom hesitated to give their opinions.
One of the questions that came up for me, after seeing this, is why did the parents consent to do this film? If I had a child who committed suicide, would I sit for hours and talk about it for millions of strangers to see?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Not the feel good story of the year.
Tells the story of an artist couple who has a son and daughter. Read more
Great documentary! It shows a wonderful insight into the family dynamic and the viewer can get a feel for what Francesca must have been like. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Lastchild13
This is an intriguing film --- one can enjoy it on several levels. One can enjoy the art that's shown, and the art-making processes. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Green Stone
Francesca Woodman was an amazing talent. I don't care about her parents. In fact after watching this I completely dislike her parents. Read morePublished 21 months ago by IndieLover
It's the megalomania and competitive greed that emanate from the parents after Francesca's death. Even deceased later, George, the father, says bitterly after seeing the popularity... Read morePublished 21 months ago by Yours Truly
The work ethic. I love the artist's work ethic described by Francesca's Mother. I own this movie on DVD and watch it to remind myself of the preciousness in our creative drive. Read morePublished 21 months ago by blacklily.bobro
I struggle mightily to conjure an image of a family more egotistic and self-centered than The Woodmans. Read morePublished 21 months ago by MoxyMallard