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55th San Francisco International Film Festival @ BAM/PFA

Saturday, April 28, 2012
4:00 p.m. Ethel
Rory Kennedy (U.S., 2011)

By virtue of its origins, this documentary is the definitive Ethel Skakel Kennedy biography. Made by Rory Kennedy, youngest daughter of Ethel and Robert F. Kennedy, it's filled with private home movies (the Kennedys apparently had a camera running at just about every family gathering). The film also features candid, emotional interviews with seven of the surviving children—as well as the lady herself, still a sparkplug in her eighties, who gets the ball rolling by asking, “Why should I have to answer all of these questions?” before laughing uproariously. Ethel offers a unique perspective on one of America’s most prominent political dynasties, viewing the glory years of Camelot—also a time of great social upheaval, from the Cuban Missile Crisis to the Civil Rights Movement to the Vietnam War—through the eyes of Robert F. Kennedy’s children and, most importantly, his beloved wife, who supported his political ambitions but never faded into the background. You may think you know the full story of the Kennedy family, but the small moments Ethel remembers—including RFK’s decision to scale Canada’s Mt. Kennedy after his brother’s death—reveal the deeply affectionate family bonds behind the gilded myth.

—Cheryl Eddy

• Written by Mark Bailey. Photographed by Buddy Squires. (97 mins)



Tickets on sale March 30. Online tickets are available through the SFFS ticketing system. Follow the link below and select "buy tickets." BAM/PFA members receive a discount online by using a special promo code. If you are a member and did not receive the code by email, please call (510) 642-1412.

Buy Tickets



Advance tickets March 27–30. BAM/PFA members may purchase advance tickets online between March 27 and 30 by clicking the link below and entering a special promo code. If you are a member and did not receive the code by email, please call (510) 642-1412.

Purchase Advance Member Tickets