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Following Sean (Unrated)

Release Date: May 5th, 2006 (Cinema Village) by Shadow Distribution.
Directed by Ralph Arlyk.

BASIC PREMISE: A documentary about filmmaker Ralph Arlykís quest to find Sean Farrell, a man in his thirties who, at the age of 4, boasted about taking drugs.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: The beginning of this documentary includes a crucial clip from director Ralph Arlykís 1969 short film entitled Sean. In this clip, Sean, a 4-year-old who lives in Arlykís apartment building, talk sits on a couch in front of the camera and nonchalantly admits shocking statements such as that he eats marijuana and how he observes druggies. Arlyk makes it clear that these statements were said during a more free-spirited, rebellious time period with hippies living all around the Haight-Ashbury section of San Francisco. Sean and his parents moved away without stay in touch. Now, over thirty years later, Arlyk tracks down Sean and wants to find out what Sean went through since he last saw him. This sounds like a provocative mission and it starts out interesting as you first meet Sean who now works as an electrician. Seanís Polish wife gets briefly interviewed and asks a very important question: what does filming her have to do with Sean? Yes, she is a part of his life, but Arlyk still hasnít really filled in the 30-year gap since Seanís eyebrow-raising confession at the age of 4. Interviews with Seanís hippie father show how ordinary and mundane their lives are. Then, suddenly, Arlyk goes off on a tangent to introduce his own life, including his dysfunctional relationship with his wife who spends time teaching abroad in Europe. How is this tangent connected to Sean life? The connection isnít made very clearly and that makes the second half of the film distracting, unfocused, and slightly boring.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: The times have changed, thatís for sure. Itís obvious that Sean has changed into a more laid-back individual rather than stay on the track of hippie who wants to change the world. Seanís father admits his belief that owning too many belongings only puts a burden on your life, so thatís why he only owns what he truly needs. But what does Sean believe? Unfortunately, Arlyk doesnít really get enough out of him thatís thought-provokingóthe 4-year-old Sean had much more to say.

INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Occasionally unfocused second half.


IN A NUTSHELL: Fascinating and provocative! However, it occasionally loses focus in the second half and lacks insight into how and whySean has changed.


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