Woodmans, The

“The Woodmans,” C. Scott Willis’s captivating prize-winning documentary offers an intriguing and poignant look at the New York Art World by centering on the short life but brilliant career of Francesca Woodman.

Francesca Woodman’s haunting images, including nude self-portraits, are now part of the pantheon of great photography from the late 20th century.
 
Film Forum will present the U.S. theatrical premiere of “The Woodmans,” winner of the Best New York Documentary Award at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival, for two weeks, beginning January 19, 2011.
 
The daughter of artists Betty and Charles Woodman (she a ceramicist and he a painter-photographer), Francesca was a precocious RISD graduate, an ambitious girl who came to New York intent to leave her mark on the art world. 
 
In many way, Francesca was a bold, pioneering artist, much ahead her time, creating multilayered, highly personal photography, in which she courageously bared herself naked both physically and psychologically. However, in 1981, as a despondent 22-year-old, she committed suicide.
 
“The Woodmans” interweaves the young artist’s work (including experimental videos and epigrammatic diary entries) with interviews with her parents who have nurtured her professional reputation for the past three decades, while continuing to make art of their own.
 
The film deals with such sensitive and provocative issues as intergenerational strife manifest in parent-child competition, the nature and power of creativity, creativity and suicide, by placing Francesca’s personality and ambition in the broader contexts of the New York art scene.