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The Woodmans2010

  • 4.1
The tragic story of Francesca Woodman, a young photographer renowned for her extraordinary self-portraits, is also the story of her brilliantly artistic family. With THE WOODMANS, director C. Scott Willis shows how the struggle for fame in the high-stakes world of art resulted in tragedy and then in healing and redemption. As a family, the Woodmans are noted for their talent. Betty Woodman, in particular, is an internationally renowned ceramicist whose work has been shown at The Metropolitan Musem of Art. But it is the fate of Francesca, the youngest Woodman, that will haunt them over the years. By piecing together Francesca's photos, never-before-seen experimental videos and personal journals, and through candid conversations with George and Betty Woodman, Charlie Woodman and a host of friends, Willis depicts four lives committed to art and whose art lives through them. It is an extraordinary debut film that explores what it truly means to create.

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"There’s a famous Diane Arbus photograph in which a pair of elderly, incredulous parents stare up at a son so huge that their apartment can barely contain him. THE WOODMANS is that picture." - J. Hoberman, Village Voice


3 members like this review

Artistc complexity seems to pale here in contrast with the complexity of BEING in a family, in a "relationsip", in onesself, within skin. For all of the beauty of color and form and fabric must somehow contort into the desire for recognition by some other BEING.

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top reviewer

Member Reviews (11)

61a133f1ee9d3117ca9618d8500b20fc?default=https%3a%2f%2fd3uc4wuqnt61m1.cloudfront.net%2fassets%2favatars%2fmale%2favatar m 0057
top reviewer

Artistc complexity seems to pale here in contrast with the complexity of BEING in a family, in a "relationsip", in onesself, within skin. For all of the beauty of color and form and fabric must somehow contort into the desire for recognition by some other BEING.

3 members like this review

Way too selfish for me to watch. A bore.

2 members like this review
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top reviewer

Quite a provocative film of muted tones and smooth textures that make it worth taking the time to watch. The most fascinating aspect of the film comes around 70:00 when Francesca's artist family and friends admit to feeling competitive with and perhaps jealous of the dead woman's art. The way her death has interwoven into the tapestry of these living artists creates a stunning series of cinematic truths. Francesca's death feels as if it is suspended, she is neither dead nor alive. Perhaps this is what it truly means to be immortal.

1 member likes this review

A wonderful documentary. I wish she would have lived. Thank you to the Woodmans for sharing their story and hers.

1 member likes this review

Lovely film, beautiful and quiet pace to it. I am envious of the genius in the Woodman family and how the parents encouraged it. Francesca was so very brave and made incredible, indelible images. Great introduction to her work.

1 member likes this review

So sad, so beautiful. why do we make art? What does it mean when art is successful? What does it mean when it is not?

This is a compelling film, but not a picnic.

1 member likes this review
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top reviewer

There is (obviously) much more to child abuse than just the merely physical.....case in point, the Woodmans. The fact that the completely unnecessary death of what was and would have been one the greatest, if not THE greatest, artists of the 20th century only makes that dark truth all the more vile.

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top reviewer

Francesca Woodman was an exceptional artist / photographer and it's great to see a movie about her and her work.

I thought it was very informative to learn more about her family and their artistic background but I was really hoping for a greater understanding about Francesca and her creative inspirations. Of course she is dead now and maybe that isn't possible.

Overall, this is a very good expose of an important artist and where she came from.

This is a very touching documentary about an event in the life of a family of great artists. It's an unusual dynamic, as artists tend to live outside the norm. I've always wondered what it would be like as an artist to have had parents who were serious working artists. The Woodman family is very honest and courageous to show the camera themselves as much as they could to honor the work and life of their brilliant daughter. It inspired and enlightened me in art, life, and the different ways people cope with profound loss (although this was made twenty year later). At times there were uncomfortable pauses, which I believe were intentional and necessary to telling the story. The production value of this film was seamless, so I didn't notice any apparent flaws, and it was consistent with the art that it was witness to. It's a very good film about the life of a family of artists. We should all open our minds to understanding.

Very informative and from a psychological family dynamic perspective this film is interesting.

good!