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Sink or Swim 1990
Description: Through a series of twenty six short stories, a woman describes the childhood happenings that shaped her concepts 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 photos that depict both the extraordinary and ordinary happenings of everyday life. Together, they make a formally complex and emotionally intense film.
Released: 30 Sep 1990 Director: Su Friedrich Writers: Su Friedrich Actors: Jessica Meyerson Genres: Documentary
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Sink or Swim Reviews:

This short movie starts in a very strange manner, like most avant-garde movies do. I watched it in a movie class at Columbia University and have to admit that everything about this piece falls into zone brilliantly. I was not familiar with this movie maker and want she was given the possibility to create films like this with a bigger reach. This movie is deeply moving and has a very massive heart. The test of Schubert's melody is nothing short of pretty in the context of the movie. Without giving away the features of the film, I want each dead beat parent should see this before they abandon their children. This piece captures the aftermath of abandonment with all its pain and desperation. Beautiful. I'm glad I saw it.


Being a movie major at UC-Berkeley has allowed me to see many weird and obscure films. Most of them have been boredom zones and haven't much piqued my interests. However, in my Avant-Garde class, we watched Sink or Swim today. I thought it was a fascinating method of using words and the alphabet to support describe a girl's rocky relationship with her father. The test of so many various types of footage (home, TV, stock, etc.) really caught my eye. The ending stage is especially touching. Go search this short but sweet movie wherever you can.



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