PHYLLIS AND HAROLD
2008, 85 MINS
Phyllis and Harold is an astoundingly frank journey through a disastrous 59-year marriage. Drawing on a lifetime of her family's home movies and interviews made over 12 years, filmmaker Cindy Kleine mixes reportage, cinema verité and animation to uncover family secrets and tell a story that could not be shown publicly as long as her father was still alive. Phyllis and Harold delves into the mystery of time passing, the nature of living a life, and the challenges of losing those we love. But it is also a loving, funny exposé on the sins of suburbia. Imagine Bergman’s “Scenes From a Marriage” seen through the prism of “I Love Lucy.”
Phyllis and Harold had its World premiere at It’s All True International Documentary Festival in Brazil and its New York premiere at the Walter Reade Theatre at Lincoln Center. It opened theatrically at The Cinema Village Theatre in New York City and The Laemmle Theatres in Los Angeles, followed by a nationwide run. The film screened at many festivals worldwide, including DOK Leipzig International Festival for Documentary and Animated Film, The Santa Fe Film Festival, The Boston, Toronto and Berlin Jewish Film Festivals, The Provincetown Film Festival, and the Rocky Mountain International Women’s Film Festival, and won awards at The Iowa Independent Film Festival and the World Jewish Film Festival, Ashkelon Israel.
Press and interviews include Variety, The Boston Globe, Boston Phoenix, Los Angeles Times, Hollywood Interview, The Huffington Post, Agence France-Presse, Provincetown Magazine, The Toronto Jewish Film Festival, and Tomatoes in the Trenches.
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“...A masterpiece. It is devastating, true, sad, funny, and so moving that it attracted several of my colleagues who wandered in the screening room and couldn't leave. It's a new kind of cinematic DNA, ruthlessly honest, carrying complicated and unsettling messages that won't long leave my brain and gut.” — Ken Burns, Filmmaker
“What a movie. It is shocking and riveting in about a hundred ways. This movie is completely original and new in its conception, graphics, and affect. I loved it.” — Mike Nichols, Film and Theatre Director
“By turns alarming and riveting, Cindy Kleine's documentary is a memorable study of her parents' mutilated love: extraordinary news from the war zone of a toxic marriage.” — John Lahr, New Yorker Magazine
“Phyllis and Harold is the most outrageously sensual of documentaries. Its central character, the filmmaker's mother, managed to preserve an opulent, operatic, carnal vision throughout a life of suburban obedience, and the filmmaker reflects this vision with a gorgeously colored, fabulously appealing film. It's terribly sad, and amazingly agreeable. The graceful, painful music of two people who dance together for a lifetime, but barely touch.” — Wally Shawn, Playwright/Actor