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By: tomhenrry
C. Scott Willis’ movie clip, “The Woodmans,” is one of the most affecting new moviesabout art in years. It’s about a family of artists who have to live after the suicide of their extremely talented child.

New movie review, “The Woodsmans,” won the best New York documentary prize at Tribeca and was screened at the Palm Springs Festival. "The Woodmans" is a film about a family's wages of art--and the power of art to heal. It features the paintings and ceramics of George and Betty Woodman. Willis is more concerned in the movie about daughter, Francesca’s, devotion to art, after seeing her pictures, videos and journals, than in her inevitable death.

As is common in creative people, Francesca’s diaries show extreme awareness of self, a longing and a sort of disconnection. In her diary Francesa writes: “My parents are so very married”. She’s referring to the strong bond between her parents, artists Betty and George – both artists. They have been together for almost 60 years. They say that art is their most important purpose in life. George calls children “gift-calamities.”
In this Movie Clip, Francesca’s parents, brother Charles, her teachers, and her classmates are in awe of her talent. The Woodsmans are honest about their professional rivalry with their daughter, whose work is generally better regarded than their own, but don’t speak as much about their grief.

Because the Woodsmans are artists, their main outlet for their grief is their art. There’s a huge change in their art since Francesca’s death, particularly George’s.

Several people in the film mention that Francesca was ahead of her time but there’s no talk of those past artists that inspired her, particularly Clarence John Laughlin. The movie is made all the better by David Lang’s score, which is performed by So Percussion.

Francesca’s black and white images are powerful. They have the crumbly texture of a ruin but a dreamlike quality as well. Francesca herself was very focused. The dark force in the movie is, as George says, the “psychic risk in being an artist.” Willis honors Francesca while taking a look at the pain she’s caused her family.

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