The Films of Su Friedrich Collection
Su Friedrich is an American avant-garde filmmaker. Her films have won many awards, including the Grand Prix at the Melbourne Film Festival and Outstanding Documentary at Outfest. Friedrich is the recipient of the Cal Arts Alpert Award in the Arts and has received fellowships from the Rockefeller and Guggenheim Foundations, as well as numerous grants from the New York State Council on the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, Independent Television Service, and the Jerome Foundation.

Her films and videos are widely screened in the United States, Canada and Europe and have been the subject of retrospectives at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Rotterdam International Film Festival, The Stadtkino in Vienna, the Pacific Cinematheque in Vancouver, the National Film Theater in London, and many others.

Friedrich's work is part of the collection at the Museum of Modern Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Royal Film Archive of Belgium, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, and the National Library of Australia. Friedrich is the writer, cinematographer, director and editor of all her films, with the exception of Hide and seek, which was co-written by Cathy Quinlan and shot by Jim Denault.

Digitally re-mastered from the original 16mm negatives, this collection of 14 films is essential for every library, media center, as well as women and cinema studies programs.

Since the 1970’s, Friedrich’s skillful mix of experimental narrative and documentary forms, filled with provocative feminist and lesbian themes, has made her a groundbreaking member of the avant-garde film community and a pivotal force in the establishment of Queer Cinema. This collection of DVDs includes the filmmaker’s classic works such as SINK OR SWIM, HIDE AND SEEK, THE TIES THAT BIND, DAMNED IF YOU DON’T, and THE ODDS OF RECOVERY, as well as EIGHT BONUS FILMS.

Special features: Digitally Remastered from the original 16mm negatives, 8 Bonus Films, Multiple Languages (on selected titles), Scene Selections, Filmography, and Production Credits.


The Films of Su Friedrich: Volume 1
The Films of Su Friedrich: Volume 1

The Ties That Bind (55 mins, 1984) Subtitles: English, German

A powerful meditation on political responsibility and personal loss as seen through the story of the filmmaker’s mother, who grew up in Nazi Germany. Using rare archival footage, extensive interviews and critical commentary, Friedrich constructs a fearless dialogue between past and present, between mother and daughter. “The Ties That Bind” engages in a profound search for an understanding of history, and challenges us in our responsibility for the present.

Bonus Film:

The Lesbian Avengers Eat Fire, Too
co directed with Janet Baus (55 mins, 1993)

This film documents the first year of actions by The Lesbian Avengers, a group of bold and brazen New York City activists fighting for recognition and equal rights for lesbians.

The Films of Su Friedrich: Volume 2
The Films of Su Friedrich: Volume 2

Damned If You Don’t (42 mins, 1987) Subtitles: English, German

Friedrich’s subversive and ecstatic response to her Catholic upbringing. Blending conventional narrative technique with impressionistic camerawork, symbols and voice-overs, this film creates an intimate study of sexual expression and repression. Featuring Peggy Healey as a young nun tormented by her desire for the sultry irresistible Ela Troyano.

Bonus Films:

Rules of the Road (31 mins, 1993)

The story of a lesbian love affair and its demise through one of the objects shared by the couple: an old beige station wagon with fake wood paneling. Through spoken text, popular music and images from the streets of New York, ‘Rules of the Road’ takes a somewhat whimsical, somewhat caustic look at how our dreams of freedom, pleasure, security, and family are so often symbolized by the automobile.

First Comes Love (22 mins, 1991)

Friedrich’s film is a sumptuous and deeply felt examination of the timeless ritual of marriage. Gorgeous footage of four traditional weddings captures the emotional ambiguities of a cultural event with which everyone is familiar.


The Films of Su Friedrich: Volume 3
The Films of Su Friedrich: Volume 3

Sink or Swim (48 mins, 1990) Subtitles: English, German, Spanish, French

A contemporary classic and a landmark in autobiographical filmmaking, “Sink or Swim” is an unflinching account of the highly charged relationship between a daughter and her father. Through a series of twenty-six short stories, a young girl chronicles the childhood events that shaped her ideas about fatherhood, family relations, work and play. As the stories unfold, a dual portrait emerges: that of a father who cared more for his career than for his family, and of a daughter who was deeply affected by his behavior. Working in counterpoint to the forceful text are sensual black and white images that depict both the extraordinary and ordinary events of daily life. This formally complex and emotionally intense film is fraught with tension, ambivalence and love.

Bonus Films:

Cool Hands, Warm Heart (16 mins, 1979)

A study in performance, voyeurism and the spectator. Private acts become public spectacles on a stage in a crowded street as women perform the familiar rituals of daily life.

Scar Tissue (6 mins, 1979)

Scar Tissue uses two sets of images – of men and women in midtown Manhattan and is structured so as to reproduce what is essential in the original event but also to undermine the original event.


The Films of Su Friedrich: Volume 4
The Films of Su Friedrich: Volume 4

Hide and Seek (65 mins, 1996) Subtitles: English, Spanish

The story of Lou, a twelve year old girl coming to terms with her budding sexuality in the mid 1960’s. Her bittersweet tale is skillfully interwoven with clips from a wide array of scientific and educational films, as well as interviews with adult lesbians who recount their adolescent attractions to girls, how they felt when they first heard the word lesbian, where they fit in the butch/femme continuum, and their thoughts about how they became baby dykes. ‘Hide and Seek’ is for every woman who’s been to a slumber party and every man who wonders what went on at one.

Bonus Films:

Gently Down the Stream (14 mins, 1981)

‘Gently Down the Stream’ can be described about as easily as you can hold on to a handful of water. When the last image leaves the screen, you may not be able to say what you’ve seen, but you know what you’ve felt.

But No One (9 mins, 1982)

The visual material of ‘But No One’ corresponds to the waking world of the filmmaker, but it is cast in the form of a dream. Its compact constellation of repeated images is satisfying, an important part of Friedrich’s ongoing exploration of film’s ability to work like dreams and convey a unique, personal vision.


The Films of Su Friedrich: Volume 5
The Films of Su Friedrich: Volume 5

The Odds of Recovery (65 mins, 2002) Subtitles: English, Spanish

After a twenty year period of multiple illnesses and injuries, Friedrich turns the camera on herself as a way to analyze her chances for a happier, healthier life. In the process, she captures the frustration, tedium and petty annoyances of a revolving-door relationship with the medical establishment, while portraying the complicated web of emotions that accompany any medical problem. With humor and honesty, ‘The Odds of Recovery’ uses the filmmaker’s medical history as a means to address a perennial human problem: the desire to avoid conflict and deny the need for radical change.

Bonus Film:

The Head of a Pin (21 mins, 2004)

“The Head of a Pin” reveals the awkward ruminations of the filmmaker and her friends as they attempt to learn about nature. Starting out as an examination of the differences between urban and rural life, the film turns unexpectedly into a wry portrait of what happens when city dwellers encounter a country spider.


The Films of Su Friedrich: Volume 6
The Films of Su Friedrich: Volume 6

Seeing Red (27 minutes, 2005)

In this, one of Su Freidrich’s most deeply personal films to date. Friedrich takes a look back at her evolution both as a woman and as an artist, tackling her own insecurities via several on-camera diary entries. While “Seeing Red” is a film about the existential crises of the individual, it is also a film about what unites all humanity and what unites humanity with all the matter surrounding us. Friedrich accomplishes these two objectives using three elements: monologue, montage, and music.

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