A Test for Parents and Children

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Any parent who – in a moment of pique or a morass of doubt – ever looked at his or her child and asked, “Do I know you?” will find a way to connect with the new documentary Far From the Tree.

Based on the best-selling book by Andrew Solomon, the screen version otherwise presents newly-documented stories of parents and their children whom society brands as “abnormal.” These older and younger folks are profoundly different from each other in terms of physical and psychological identity and behavior. Far From the Tree will be seen March 22-24 in the Friends of Modern Art film series at the Flint Institute of Arts.

The movie, directed by Rachel Dretzin, focuses on four stories: that of Solomon, whose challenge of revealing his sexuality to his family prompted him to write his 2012 book; attendees of the Little People of America convention; a mother and child impacted by Down syndrome; and the movie’s most unusual vignette, one about the bond between parents and a son who has committed an unspeakable act.

As happens often in today’s society, the film tests the bounds of what it’s like to be normal. But its outlook is a hopeful one, and Dretzin has adapted a tome of more than 1,000 pages into a 93-minute feature.

Another documentary on the FIA schedule that same weekend – but playing March 21, 23 and 24 – is France’s Maria by Callas. The legendary Greek-American opera singer Maria Callas is revealed in an intimate look at her life and work – described fully in her own words via performances, TV interviews, home movies and more.

Also coming this month to the museum are two biopics about famous writers. Keira Knightley takes the title role in Colette, playing March 1-3. As depicted, Colette is the young woman who challenges gender norms to write under her own name in early 20th century Paris.

And Becoming Astrid, to be screened March 8-10, profiles Astrid Lindgren, the Swedish author of numerous children’s books and creator of the beloved character, Pippi Longstocking.

Coming March 15-17 is an intense American indie drama, Madeline’s Madeline, in which the young star in an experimental theater troupe goes … a bit awry. Finally, on March 29-31, there’s The Wild Pear Tree, in which a young Turkish man back in his hometown seeks a sponsor for the book he’s writing and an answer to his father’s growing gambling habit.

As always, information on all screenings at the FIA is available by visiting FlintArts.org or calling 810.234.1695.

 

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