Sink or Swim (1990)
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Critic Reviews for Sink or Swim
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Audience Reviews for Sink or Swim
"Sink or Swim" is a pointed and intriguing attempt from experimental filmmaker Su Friedrich to explore the complex and evolving feelings she has towards her intellectual father. Along those lines, a young girl(Jessica Meyerson) narrates in the third person while a panoply of black and white video clips are shown, mostly archival footage but some could be home movies. They are meant to reflect at first the early worshipful stance she had towards him, starting even before the beginning with zygotes. That all changes when Friedrich goes nuclear in showing complacent title sequences of 50's sitcoms in direct contrast to the now chaotic nature of her parents' relationship.(There is a handy flow chart in case you lose track, by the way.) As proof that anger is amplified by a typewriter's keys, there is the movie's sole first person narrative in a letter written by Friedrich to her dad, before she begins to literally inhibit the movie she began in another person's voice.
Picked it on Netflix in a whim. I liked the cover and the quick recap combo. I'm glad I did. Felt very personal. I love the images along side the child's voice and words. Very well done piece of film.
An avant-garde "experiment" that effectively characterizes Friedrich's strained relationship with her father. Taken separately, each of the 26 vignettes play out like open-ended beatnik verse, yet they fit together perfectly. Through an odd assortment of video clips and narratives, the director lays bare her dysfunctional upbringing with style and clarity. A truly remarkable little film.
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