Sunday, June 15, 2008

Following Sean

Genre: Documentary (2006)

In 1969, director Ralph Arlyck, then a graduate student living in Haight- Ashbury, a district of San Francisco known as the center of the 60’s hippie movement, made a 14-minute documentary film about his neighbor, Sean Farrell, a talkative and precocious 4-year old boy who regularly ran barefoot around the neighborhood. The little boy’s candid thoughts on pot-smoking, police presence, and the freewheeling life in Haight-Ashbury, shocked viewers across the nation and earned the film, “Sean”, both US and international attention (including a screening at the White House) not usually accorded to a student film.

30 years later, Ralph Arlyck decided to revisit his 4-year old subject to find out what happened to the little boy who both shocked and charmed audiences in 1969. “Following Sean” essays the life Sean and his family (his free-spirited parents, his maternal grandparents who were union leaders and Communist Party members in the ‘50s, his sister and half-brother, and wife) as well as that of the film’s director, Ralph Arlyck.

It is a moving story about how society and the choices and decisions that a person makes can affect one’s future.