A film by C. Scott Willis.
Kino International Corp., 2011.
Francesca Woodsman's haunting B&W images, many of them nude self-portraits, now reside in the
pantheon of great photography from the late 20th century. The daughter of artists Betty and
Charles Woodman (she a ceramicist and he a painter/photographer), Francesca was a precocious
RISD graduate, who came to New York with the intention of setting the art world on fire. But in
1981, as a despondent 22-year-old, she committed suicide. The Woodmans beautifully
interweaves the young artist’s work (including experimental videos and diary passages) with
interviews with the parents who have nurtured her professional reputation these past 30 years,
while continuing to make art of their own in the face of tragedy. The film grapples with disturbing
issues, among them: parent-child competition and the toxic level of ambition that fuels the New
York art scene. Says Betty Woodman succinctly: “She’s the famous artist and we’re the famous
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