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The Woodmans tells the story of photographer Francesca Woodman, who leapt to her death at the age of 22 after what she perceived to be a string of professional disappointments and the dissolution of an important romantic relationship. Almost 30 years later, we find her family still quietly reeling from the loss, wondering how their staunch work ethic and love of art might have played a role in her untimely demise. What emerges is a complex portrait of regret and longing, fearless in its nuanced portrayal of grief but stubborn in its adherence to artistic clichés. Francesca’s parents, both accomplished artists in their own right, express criticism, pride, and a good deal of jealousy regarding their daughter’s work, which posthumously gains more popularity than their own. Still, though The Woodmans rightly defends against a literal reading of Francesca’s art as an expression of her inner pain, director C. Scott Willis seems convinced that her death wasn’t the result of an undiagnosed illness but rather, as her father blithely puts it, the “psychic risk in being an artist.”
At 5:15 p.m. at the Discovery HD Theater; also on Saturday, June 26, at 8:30 p.m. at AFI Silver Theater 3.