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Part of SFFILM Festival

Dick Johnson Is Dead

Directed by Kirsten Johnson

USA | Documentary | 89

17 Apr
Fri, Apr 17, 2020 at 6:00 pm PT
18 Apr
Sat, Apr 18 at 2:45 pm PT
Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive
19 Apr
Sun, Apr 19 at 4:00 pm PT
Dolby Cinema at 1275 Market


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

Director Kirsten Johnson

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

Film Details

Language English

Year 2020

Runtime 89

Country USA

Director Kirsten Johnson

Producer Katy Chevigny, Marilyn Ness

Editor Nels Bangerter

Cinematographer Kirsten Johnson