Thursday, August 17, 2006
haskell wexler

The Sundance Channel showed this really wonderful documentary called "Tell Them Who You Are" filmed and directed by Mark S. Wexler. It is a very touching and thought provoking documentary about his father, Haskell Wexler, who is one of the great cinematographers of the past 40 some odd years, having filmed "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest", "American Graffiti", "Coming Home", "Who's Afraid Of Virginia Wolff?" and"Bound For Glory". He won an Academy Award for each of these last two films and was the cinematographer on dozens of others films, as well.

What makes this particular documentary truly universal is that it is more about the father-son relationship than Haskell Wexler's career...something all of us can relate to in many ways. In this case, a son trying to come into his own and establish his own identity behind a powerful controlling famous father. And by doing this documentary, one feels Mark S. Wexler has accomplished this difficult passage. He has made many documentaries before this one and will after this one, too...but this, it seems to me, is a true 'right of passage'. There is also the 'sins of the father' theme...Haskell Wexler's father was not exactly "Father Knows Best"...having said to his son Haskell, 'You can take a lot of money and turn it into shit!'.

There are many famous people who were interviewed for this film and even their participation is different because you feel that each of these people---like Martin Sheen and Jane Fonda and George Lucas and Conrad Hall and Sidney Poitier for instance, are terribly sympathetic to Mark Wexler and this difficult relationship. What I personally found so moving were the things that each of them said to Mark Wexler, on camera, about how important it was to make peace with one's parent before it is too late.

Jane Fonda's words were particularly sensitive and touching, having emerged herself from a difficult father-daughter relationship with a father who was larger than life and was also afraid of intimacy, as we see that Haskell Wexler is, too. She was so articulate and spoke in such a caring manner....I found that quite moving and actually her words were very very profound, too. What she said probably resonated to me more than the other people who were filmed, having had a larger than life father myself. I plan to get the DVD for myself because one of the 'extras' on it is more of these interviews in a fuller and more extensive way.

There is a scene where Haskell Wexler goes to visit Marian Wexler---his ex wife and Marks mother--at the place she lives now because she suffers from Alzheimers....This too was deeply touching. Haskell W. was so moved by his ex-wife's (they were married for thirty years) plight and the memory's of the good times, that we see him cry. Somehow this very angry prickly passionate man being moved to tears melts one's heart in a way that brings me to tears as a write this.

Of course there is quite a bit about the film business and Wexler's struggle with his need to control the films he shot and the film director's he worked with....This is very interesting, too, because this is not an easy man in any way...But, he was and is a genius, behind the camera. He is forgiven much because of this. But to be his child growing up in his shadow----Oh My Lord! This had to be incredibly difficult and in some ways, impossible. But Mark S. Wexler not only has survived his childhood but he rose above it to where he is a very productive member of society, having become this wonderful Documentary film maker himself. Here he is with his father, still the hard task master, waving his finger at his son

In many ways this is a painful film to watch because Haskell Wexler is continually critical of his son. But, it is very much worth seeing on so very many the final frame, believe me. As a piece of film history, of course. But more important I think, there is much to be learned from the journey that Mark S. Wexler took by making this film about his father in the first place.

An interesting side note: The Wexler's lived up the hill from me for many many years. I never met Haskell Wexler or his son, Mark. But I did know Marks mother, Marian. She was a very fine artist and during those years --the 60's and early 70's--the Los Angeles Art Scene was much smaller than it is now. I never knew her terribly well, but she was a very strong presence if you were in her presence. A woman with strong beliefs and convictions...which I always find attractive! A very definite personality and someone I never forgot. It is terribly sad to me to think of her in the state she is in now. Their home on Oporto was one of the older wonderful Spanish Style houses built in the late twenties and early thirties...A great looking house, now with so much foliage covering much of it, it was difficult to photograph. But, here it is, anyway....

I cannot say enough about this film and the meaningful experience I had being able to see it. If you are interested in family relationships do yourself a big favor and put this film on the top of your "must see" list! You won't be sorry.


Can anyone tell me who the people in the picture below are? Awwwww give it a try....Come on and guess....This is just for the fun of it you know?....What the heck, why not try? Leave the answer in your comments....!

More To Come.....

Links to this post:


had this to say:

I saw that documentary! I love the Sundance Channel. Also IFC,the Independent Film Channel. THey both have great stuff. It was a great documentary, very well done.

Hmmm...I'm trying to tell who that is but I can't really. Any clues or hints?

Thursday, August 17, 2006 at 1:57:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Oh! Tom and Katie?

Thursday, August 17, 2006 at 1:58:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Hi. Thanks for the tip. It sounds like a wonderful documentary and I shall certainly put it on my list of 'things to see'. Parts of what you described rang true as my parents were very critical too.

Your quiz is intriging - do let us know the answer later! I am going to guess Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones.

Thursday, August 17, 2006 at 2:38:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Good morning, Naomi, I have not heard of Wexler before, but I would like to see that movie.

My daughter says the people in the pic are Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas. I have NO clue who they are...LOL

Re your comment: No, we don't have time to see any shows in NY. We are packing up her apt. to move. It's too bad we cannot see anything this time around.

Thursday, August 17, 2006 at 4:51:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Is it the Tom-Kats? Would they dare be out as strange as he is?

It is nice to find a good documentary on....I like to feel like I have learned something while being entertained. My favorite documentary however has to be "March of the Penguins." I just loved that.

Thursday, August 17, 2006 at 7:43:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I will have to see that.
I have no clue who is running..
Have a wonderful day!
(=':'=) hugs
(")_ (")Š from da Raggedy one

Thursday, August 17, 2006 at 8:47:00 AM PDT 

Blogger mar
had this to say:

It sounds like a wonderful documentary to watch. Thanks for the tip.
Now about the know I have no clue, so I will say they are Sandra Bullock and Mark Wexler :)

Thursday, August 17, 2006 at 10:30:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Sounds like a fascinating film! I have to agree with those who said Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones. There's no mistaking that jawline - even if you only see a glimpse of it. ;)

Thursday, August 17, 2006 at 10:59:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

the one on the left looks like jennifer garner

Thursday, August 17, 2006 at 12:49:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Sounds like a very good documentary :-).
As far as the Power walkers. The woman kinda looks like Brooke Sheilds. The guy, I just can't place?. I don't think that's her husband.

Thursday, August 17, 2006 at 1:20:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

It sounds like a very complicated relationship exists between Haskell and Mark.
I am always very saddened by parents who are ultra critical of their kids. It makes me angry. I feel like they really harm their kids deeply inside for a lifetime.

I have no idea who that couple is.

Thursday, August 17, 2006 at 1:22:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Really enjoyed this post and the documentary sounds fascinating. I can relate to the mother/daughter conflict so I'll have to look for this film. guess is Bill Gates and his wife?

Thursday, August 17, 2006 at 1:40:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Have to check out that documentary!

SO is it Jennifer and Ben? Whoever it is she has great legs! ;)

Thursday, August 17, 2006 at 2:35:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Oh... I was going to guess Tom & Katie, but then thought... would they dare jog in public? And she doesn't quite have the right build for Katherine Zeta (don't they live up in Pacific Palisades?)....
From the back, she reminds me of actress Terry Ferrell.

:) ~S

Thursday, August 17, 2006 at 5:18:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise. She runs alot I think I read somewhere.

Thursday, August 17, 2006 at 6:31:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

LOL @ the Tom & Katie answers. AGAIN, Baby Suri is missing!

Whoever that woman is, I'd kill to have her legs! Look at the muscles in her calves!

Thursday, August 17, 2006 at 6:52:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I am very curious about this documentary! Sounds it's a great movie! Thank you for the tip.

I haven't any clue about the couple! Anyway I think that the guy is more younger than Michael Douglas.

Thursday, August 17, 2006 at 7:28:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Another Guess.... knowing you're in the HH near the bird streets maybe, I'm going to guess Courtney Cox Arquette and David Arquette.
And if it's not them, damn they sure look like them! lol


Thursday, August 17, 2006 at 7:36:00 PM PDT 

Blogger mar
had this to say:

They were running all night? lol!
dropping by to let you know YOUR post is up :)

Thursday, August 17, 2006 at 11:50:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

My first instinct was Jennifer Garner for the female but that doesn't look like Ben
As Shephard said it could well be Courtney Cox and David Arquette.

Friday, August 18, 2006 at 3:31:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Darling Naomi,
Your writing is always so full of passion, joy and love that I find all your posts fascinating. However this post was esp moving when you described his wife and her current condition. How frightening! I;ll certainly catch this film when I have a chance---the man was exceptional.
I'm off for one more short trip to ND. Why? The kids say so. Please have a great weekend for me.

Friday, August 18, 2006 at 5:30:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

SHE looks like Sandra Bullock to me. Him? The chunky guy from Friends?

Friday, August 18, 2006 at 5:32:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Wow, I always love coming to your site I learn so much. Loved the guesses of your mystery runners and will be looking forward to the answer. Great question to mar about her command of languages...loved her answer.

Keep lighting up Hollywood with your presence! Can hardly wait to hear about your hook up with Wendy!

Friday, August 18, 2006 at 6:01:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

We have a fairly rigid "no TV or videos" policy when we go on vacation at "our lake." But for the last two years, my kids have borrowed "On Golden Pond" from their grandmother. It is roughly thematic, so we let it slide.

That film is almost a documentary every time the Fondas are on screen. You just ache watching the two of them confront each other.

I don't know if that is Katie and Tom, but whoever they are, I wouldn't want to get in a kick fight with either of them. Or anyone else, now that I think about it.

Have a great weekend,

Friday, August 18, 2006 at 9:55:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Hmmm ok back again, I am now more confused about that pic, that really DOES look like Bill Macey from the back but that really does NOT look like Flicka aka Felicity, not unless she is wearing a dark wig as a disguise so oldoldladys don't stalk them paparazzi style ROTFL
Ok I say it is Bill and Flicka ;)
Those do look like her arms though she has amazing toned arms ( that I want but am too lazy to acheive)

Friday, August 18, 2006 at 1:35:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Jen and Ben perhaps, or maybe it is Courtney and David great leg muscles though. Amazing. Your hills must be made for building the leg muscles of the Gods.

I will have to find that documentary. We live in Modesto where American Graffiti was born. Anyone involved in that production is practically worshipped in this town.

Friday, August 18, 2006 at 1:59:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I love the Sundance Channel! I'm now on the lookout for that documentary. guess is Tom & Katie.

Friday, August 18, 2006 at 3:01:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

um... how about...

Teri Hatcher and Roger Bart?
lol I give up!


Friday, August 18, 2006 at 3:10:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I tried to email you back from the response you left on my blog but I don't have an email address for you. No need to approve this one for your site cause it would give away your gracious hint to me. Anyway, here is the reply I tried to send to you.....

That makes it either Eve Longoria or Teri Hatcher. My guess would be =
Teri Hatcher from the skin tone.

You live such a very interesting life in such an amazing amazing spot. =
When we were in Anaheim for our vacation I kept thinking, I need to drop =
you a line. Of course our every moment seemed crammed with something to =
do, so next year when we come down that way we will have to make sure =
and contact you before we come. So far the kids have made requests for =
Graumman's Chinese and to walk on the stars. Then San Diego Zoo and Sea =
World. If I know them they are also going to want to go back to Disney. =
Man they wear my old butt out.

I am waiting ever so patiently for the Emmy's this year, I hope you will =
update us with what your picks were in the categories you voted in so we =
can see if the winners went that way.

Thanks for giving us all a little glimpse into a world most of us only =
see through the paparazzi.


Friday, August 18, 2006 at 3:35:00 PM PDT 

Anonymous M
had this to say:

New visitor to this site and WOW what an amazing person you are. Are you thinking of publishing an autobiography anytime soon?
As for the idea but who cares...i'll be reading regularly anyway!

Friday, August 18, 2006 at 3:50:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

That sounds like a wonderful documentary. Sad though that his Dad treated him that way though.

You are so filled with information Naomi!!

I have no idea who the runners are. Even if they were running towards me I probably still wouldn't know!! The only "star" I keep up with is YOU. Have a wonderful weekend! Give Sweetie a kiss for me.

Friday, August 18, 2006 at 6:14:00 PM PDT 

Blogger srp
had this to say:

It sounds like a beautiful documentary. As to the runners, I have no clue but didn't you say that Pierce Brosnen lived near you? Could it be he and his wife?

Friday, August 18, 2006 at 8:20:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Brooke Shields and hubby?

Friday, August 18, 2006 at 9:56:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

4 more sleeps Aunty Em.
Jumps around the room happy to be leaving winter behind for a few days.

Friday, August 18, 2006 at 10:45:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I'm going to look for this film. I wouldn't have even known about it except for reading it here. I've always been very interested in family dynamics. Thanks, Naomi...sorry I'm so late!

Thursday, August 24, 2006 at 4:01:00 PM PDT 

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