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Documentary

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31 July 2007 (USA)  »

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Watchin' the Show
Written by Michael Hurley
Performed by Michael Hurley & Jill Gross
Courtesy of Rounder Records
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Interesting and thought provoking, if a little distanced
20 October 2016 | by (US) – See all my reviews

Understated, thoughtful documentary about different recent generations in America, and how their politics and upbringings inter-meshed and evolved.

As a film student in 1969 Ralph Arylck made a 15 minute short about a bright 4 year old boy who lived upstairs with hippie parents in Haight-Asbury. 4 year old Sean had tried pot, refused to wear shoes, etc.

Now Arlyck sets out to find out what happened to Sean 30+ years later – was he a mess as some predicted? Had his upbringing left him free as others hoped?

Of course the answer is far more gray and complex. And in examining Sean and his family, film-maker Arlyck also looks at his own. A quiet film, not deeply emotional, but a very interesting and worthy essay about parental ideals, family, and life.

Follow up: This did lose something on a second viewing. It was still interesting, but the sense of distance in and from the film was stronger. I understood what Arlyck is getting at, but I didn't quite feel it.


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