One of the best things about being a semi-insomniac is you find little jewels on the tv late at night.  I found one the other night on PBS.  I missed the first part and dozed in between, but, luckily, PBS ran it again and I was able to record it.

The little gem I discovered is a documentary called Following Sean.  The documentary is about a 15 minute sean.jpgfilm made in 1969 by film student Ralph Arlyck.  Sean was then a 4 year old living in Haight-Ashbury with his hippie parents in what was basically a crash pad.  Sean was a cute, articulate kid who had free run of the neighborhood and smoked pot. 

Years later, filmmaker Arlyck found Sean and his family and did this wonderful piece, not only on what became of his family, but, the filmmaker’s own family.  It’s just fascinating and interesting. 

Interesting in that Sean ended up being scarily normal in spite of an abnormal (or what would seem abnormal to lots of us) childhood.  I love how Arlyck parallels his own family with Sean’s family.  I don’t think he meant to do that when he originally filmed all this.  It’s really a beautiful piece of reality television.  To me, it’s what reality tv should be.

You can rent Following Sean on Netflix and it’s available at Amazon and other places.

You can see the original short film, “Sean” from 1969 here. I have watched it about 3 times today alone.  Sean Farrell is extremely engaging, both as a 4 year old and as a grown up.