Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Directors: Ralph Arlyck, Steve Wax
What happens to a 4-year-old kid who grew up smoking pot and running barefoot on the wild streets of 1960s San Francisco? In FOLLOWING SEAN, a magical blend of deeply intriguing personal narrative and street-level investi... more »
A quiet, contemplative and moving documentry
P. Vidali | Upstate NY | 01/29/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Following Sean is a great documentary-- it's not one that hits you over the head with its message, but instead ruminates on life during the 60s and the passage of time. Part of it is about what has become of the 4-year-old child running around Haight St that the filmmaker interviewed in 1969, but it's also about what has become of all of us. The film weaves together the director's own life with Sean's, as we discover strange parallels and sudden twists. When you're done watching, you'll be left thinking about your own friends and family, and how each generation changes while still influenced by the past."
Susan K. Schoonover | Boulder, CO | 04/30/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The premise for FOLLOWING SEAN is fascinating. In 1969 while living in San Francisco Ralph Arlyck made a short documentary film about his four year old neighbor Sean which won many awards. Sean lived in a "crash pad" above Arlyck's Haight-Ashbury apartment with his free thinking "hippie" parents, a couple of siblings plus assorted visitors and the precocious child spoke articulately (and to many shockingly) on camera about pot smoking, speed freaks and his contempt for the police. The background of Sean's parents is also interesting as his father is the son of a banking family while his mother's parents were prominent Communists active in the organization of longshoremen.
Arlyck moved back to the east coast following the success of the first "Sean" film but years later decides there might be another documentary to be made if he updated Sean and his family's lives. Similarly to the subject of another well received documentary, STONE READER, Sean and his family are not that hard to find and their lives are not particularly extraordinary. So to pad the movie to more of a feature length Arlyck includes lots of footage about his own family - his elderly left leaning Brooklyn parents, his French wife and his two college age sons, one of whom in my favorite quote from the movie tells his dad he is just "fishing for sound bites" when he grills him on his reaction to the current Berkeley counterculture.
The fact that Sean and his family are currently leading pretty normal lives is interesting in itself and I wish Arlyck had been content in just updating their story and getting some of their recollections and reactions to their lives in "The Haight" circa the late 60's. Yet like so many documentary filmmakers Arlyck just doesn't seem to be able to keep the focus off himself or realize that a longer length doesn't necessarily equate with a better film."
Great Film Here
nat david | evanston, il | 12/31/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is not only a movie about "Following Sean" but also a film about following the threads of several generations in multiple families including the filmmaker's own family. If there was anything wrong with this film it is that it had to end. There is still so much we want to know about the direction the lives of the various characters take. Bottom line is that this is one great film. Highly recommended here. Nuff said."
Not enough of Sean
Sarah Rice | Scotland UK | 12/05/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I started watching this documentary thinking it would follow the life of a boy called Sean. The scenes of Sean's earlier life were too short. I did not learn very much about his young life except for the facts that he went barefoot and smoked dope. The director put too much about himself and his family into the film. I would have liked to see interviews with Sean's parents when they were living in Haight Ashbury and shots of Sean with his friends and at school. There was too much of Sean's life missing for the film to be called Following Sean. This said, however, I did enjoy this film and thought it was an excellent insight into the 60's 'hippy era' in America."