Part of SFFILM Festival
Dick Johnson Is Dead
Made with great love and imagination, Kirsten Johnson’s (Cameraperson, GGA Winner, Festival 2016) tribute to her father gives a capacious sense of his life while focusing on his present struggles with memory loss. As he shuts down his psychiatric practice and prepares to move in with his daughter across country, Johnson stages wonderfully imaginative but fatal scenarios for her beloved dad, including a Last Supper where he sits alongside Farrah Fawcett and Frederick Douglass, and a series of hilariously imagined catastrophes that could befall him on NYC streets.
“For anyone who’s lost a parent — and, I suspect, a lot of people who haven’t — Dick Johnson Is Dead feels more like a gift than a harrowing viewing experience. We are invited into the intimate experience of helplessly watching someone, or even ourselves, lose the capacities they once had and face what that means. But the presentation of this uncomfortable truth is accomplished with generosity and love.” –Alissa Wilkinson, Vox
Kirsten Johnson is a prolific cinematographer as well as a film director. Her films include Deadline (Festival 2004) and Cameraperson (Festival 2016), winner of SFFILM’s Golden Gate Award for Best Documentary Feature.
“…One of the things I wanted to look at in [Dick Johnson Is Dead] was how cinema constructs realities. So, I really wanted to show the mechanisms of cinema — including me behind the scenes. I like this idea of speaking about what’s not normally spoken about and showing what’s not normally shown — to go beyond the edge of the screen and show the filmmaker… I wanted to turn things inside out, including my role.” –Kirsten Johnson, Vulture