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More Reviews The Odds of Recovery

More Reviews – The Odds of Recovery

“Over the years, Friedrich has blazed a path for a different kind of filmmaking—and a different kind of filmgoing experience. Lyrical, poetic, passionate and innovative, Friedrich’s films are among the most rewarding cinematic delicacies you’ll ever find.”Jenni Olson, Bay Area Reporter

“…the deft interplay of voices, words and images creates a steady accretion of metaphors and insights that are sharp and multilayered. While Friedrich effectively critiques Western medicine and demonstrates exhilarating filmmaking skills, its true achievement is as self-portraiture, boldly revealing a woman in all her difficult, naked complexity.” Holly Willis, LA Weekly

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The Ties That Bind

The Ties That Bind

a film by Su Friedrich
55 minutes, B&W, USA, 1984, 16mm
DVD includes: English and German subtitles, Chapter Markers and Bonus Film “The Lesbian Avengers Eat Fire, Too”

File under: All Films, Film Studies, Home Video, Su Friedrich

Synopsis

The Ties That Bind” is a powerful meditation on political responsibility and personal loss as seen through the story of the filmmaker’s mother, who grew up in Nazi Germany. Using rare archival footage, extensive interviews and critical commentary, Friedrich constructs a fearless dialogue between past and present, between mother and daughter. “The Ties That Bind” engages in a profound search for an understanding of history, and challenges us in our responsibility for the present.

Plus Bonus Feature Film

THE LESBIAN AVENGERS EAT FIRE, TOO
a film by Su Friedrich, co-directed by Janet Baus
55 minutes, color, USA, 1993, Video

This film documents the first year of actions by The Lesbian Avengers, a group of bold and brazen New York City activists fighting for recognition and equal rights for lesbians everywhere. We recruit!


Reviews

“‘The Ties That Bind’ is one of the most moving and profound films about the mother-daughter relationship. Blending documentary and experimental modes, Friedrich investigates her mother’s background as a German citizen during WWII–an issue that has vexed her daughter during her youth. While her mother is shown on-screen and is heard acoustically, the filmmaker remains “silent” but voices her thoughts through titles scratched into the film emulsion. In so doing, Friedrich creates a beautiful and powerful film in the tradition of Michelle Citron’s earlier ‘Daughter Rite.’  Lucy Fischer, Professor, University of Pittsburgh

“The best of New Directors/New Films…The film is an original, a moving and courageous tribute from a child to a mother’s beleaguered memory.” David Edelstein, Village Voice

“On every level, Friedrich’s films are resonant with thought and craft.” Scott MacDonald, Film Quarterly

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Seeing Red

Seeing Red

a film by Su Friedrich
27 minutes, Color, USA, 2005, Video

File under: All Films, Film Studies, Home Video, Su Friedrich

Synopsis

“Seeing Red” is one of Su Freidrich’s most deeply personal films to date.  Friedrich takes a look back at her evolution both as a woman and as an artist, tackling her own insecurities via several on-camera diary entries. While “Seeing Red” is a film about the existential crises of the individual, it is also a film about what unites all humanity and what unites humanity with all the matter surrounding us. Friedrich accomplishes these two objectives using three elements: monologue, montage, and music.

The monologue element consists of Friedrich’s own video diary footage, a technique most famously utilized in her 2002 film “The Odds of Recovery,” in which Friedrich documented the development of health problems she was having at the time. In “Seeing Red” as in “The Odds of Recovery,” these monologues reveal the filmmaker’s refreshingly blunt voice while allowing her to vent some of her most inner frustrations about both her personal and professional life. Friedrich’s rants run the gamut from lamenting her lack of control over her own emotions, to comparing her “performance” for the camera and for the people in her life, to voicing her fears about what her video production students really think of her.

The film oscillates between these reflections on Friedrich’s personal uncertainty and footage of the color red in its many shades and forms. The filmmaker masterfully weaves images of pink flowers, red birds, orange construction machinery, red neon lights, and countless other places where she sees red, focusing mainly on the red clothing of many faceless New Yorkers. These montage sequences are united with Friedrich’s diary footage through Bach’s “The Goldberg Variations,” a calming piano piece that punctuates the movement of life.

Though at times dark and cynical, Friedrich often brings us to laughter in discussing her existential dilemmas, making us realize that they are also our own. In the film’s climactic ending, Friedrich is able to triumph over own limitations, deciding that she can let go, take chances, reinvent herself, and surprise herself, urging us to do the same.

Reviews

“‘Seeing Red’ is as personal as many of Friedrich’s best autobiographical films and videos, but here the diary takes on a more worldly view, informed by the wisdom of age. Su Friedrich is an angry young woman, only she’s not so young. That is part of the reason she is seeing red. Friedrich asks what it means to be an artist in a debased world, a world in which things are perpetually unfinished and incomplete, and the house is always messy. She hides herself in and behind the details of everyday life, most of which are surprisingly red. Bach, Whitman and Dickenson provide a backdrop for her desire to transcend the mundane, which she does, simply by finding the beauty of small things in the world around her. Friedrich’s sense of humour meets her existential dilemma with passion and intimacy. Don’t let her flippant tone deceive you; this is a major work.” Catherine Russell, Professor, Concordia University

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The Odds of Recovery

The Odds of Recovery

a film by Su Friedrich
65 minutes, Color, USA, 2002, 16mm
DVD includes: English and Spanish Subtitles,  Scene Selections, Bonus Films “Head of a Pin”

File under: All Films, Health, Home Video, Su Friedrich

Synopsis

After a twenty year period of multiple illnesses and injuries, Friedrich turns the camera on herself as a way to analyze her chances for a happier, healthier life. In the process, she captures the frustration, tedium and petty annoyances of a revolving-door relationship with the medical establishment, while portraying the complicated web of emotions that accompany any medical problem. With humor and honesty, ‘The Odds of Recovery’ uses the filmmaker’s medical history as a means to address a perennial human problem: the desire to avoid conflict and deny the need for radical change.

Plus Bonus Film

THE HEAD OF A PIN
a film by Su Friedrich
21 minutes, Color, USA, 2004, Video

“The Head of a Pin” reveals the awkward ruminations of the filmmaker and her friends as they attempt to learn about nature. Starting out as an examination of the differences between urban and rural life, the film turns unexpectedly into a wry portrait of what happens when city dwellers encounter a country spider.

Reviews

“…plays with the genre of the self-portrait…all in interwoven layers of narrative…allows us to see a life and a relationship through these transparent and yet illuminating layers.” Brian Kiteley English & Creative Writing, Duke University

“Friedrich makes flinty and form-minded, extremely pragmatic, highly personal, affecting movies.” J. Hoberman, The Village Voice

“Friedrich’s latest feature takes a sometimes discomfiting but engrossing, good-humored look at her own long history of medical problems…Deftly assembled pic captures the frustration, tedium and petty annoyances of a revolving-door relationship with medical practitioner..”Recovery” [also] nicely limns the satisfaction brought by creativity in the kitchen and garden, with latter’s seasonal changes providing an overall conceptual frame…Nearly one-woman package is confidently assembled, with plenty of hands-on authorial flavor.” Dennis Harvey, Variety

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