Art, Events January 19, 2011 By Sarah Coleman

The film is very open-ended; you don’t really draw conclusions about what led Francesca to suicide.
I tried to step away from the mythology that surrounds Francesca and her work. It’s not the way most films are done. There’s a verité style of filmmaking where you put the camera in the middle of the action, see what happens, then guide the viewer to a conclusion. In this film, I made a conscious effort not to reach any conclusions or come to any judgments. The film becomes a bit of a Rorschach test where people bring their own life experience to it and draw their own conclusions.

It’s also an interesting study of a complicated family. On the one hand, the family comes across as very warm and supportive, but Betty talks about neglecting her young children in favor of her art. There’s also a competitive element. Francesca’s father George says, near the end, that he wishes he’d gotten “a bigger slice of the pie,” and mother Betty says of Francesca, “She’s the famous artist, and we’re the famous artist’s relatives.”
I think that’s a bit of an overstatement on Betty’s part. She’s gotten a lot of recognition for her ceramic art. George has been shown less, and Francesca’s brother Charlie, who’s an electronic artist, is known more in an academic context. I do think they’re a warm and loving family. As artists they’re very driven people, so they’re bound to feel a tension between work and family–but I think that’s something most parents can relate to.

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