In the 1960’s, Ralph Arlyck moved to the Haight Ashbury district in San Francisco, far from his intellectual, yuppy parents on the East Coast. His small apartment sat beneath the apartment of the Farrell family, a family fully immersed in the ‘Free Love’ movement and hippie counter culture of the 1960’s. Their four year old son Sean Farrell, a precocious wild child akin to Max from Where The Wild Things Are, would wander with bare feet down to Arlyck’s apartment to chat. One day, as Sean sat on his worn couch in 1969, Arlyck turned his camera on and filmed their conversation. Among other things, four year old Sean admitted to ‘eating grass’ and talked about how he thought shoes were ‘creepy’.
This footage shocked the American people. A child aware of drugs? Living with his parents in a communal apartment with various vagabonds and drug addicts? It’s unnatural! It’s against nature!
Twenty odd years later, Ralph Arlyck decides to fly back to San Francisco and find the little boy who intrigued so many years ago.
Following Sean is not only a film about Sean, but about the people who survived the 1960’s. Arlyck revisits not only the Farrell family, but also his own. We are allowed a glimpse into his own childhood, so vastly different from Sean’s—growing up in suburbia with his vaguely leftist parents, wearing shoes, and having family dinners without a group of drug addicts present.
At times nostalgic, and at times tragic, Arlyck’s film is a discussion of change, in people and in the world; a demonstration of how the earth eternally spins on its axis and we are all challenged to cope with the ever changing seasons as well as our ever changing circumstances. Some of choose to move forward and adjust, some choose to remain steadfast in the past, hoping to freeze everything, and everyone, in time. But as Arlyck deftly illustrates, the latter is impossible. Change is inescapable.
this kid had probably seen more crazy shit than I will ever see in my entire life.
This documentary is BRILL.