. Conversations at the Edge (CATE)


Posted by | Amy Beste | Posted on | September 7, 2023

Thursday, September 7, 6:00 p.m.

Join legendary filmmaker Su Friedrich for a screening of her contemporary classics SINK OR SWIM  and RULES OF THE ROAD.

Su Friedrich, SINK OR SWIM, 1990. Courtesy of the artist.

“[A] personal chronicle about language, memory, and Dad that strikes hard, and deep.” – Manohla Dargis, The Village Voice

“[Friedrich] creates a film like a perfect short story.” – Stuart Klawans, The Nation

For nearly a half-century, Su Friedrich has played a pivotal role in American queer cinema and autobiographical film with her rich and often unflinching explorations of family, kinship, and society. Join us for two screenings featuring three landmark films, including SINK OR SWIM (1990), RULES OF THE ROAD (1993), and her latest feature, TODAY (2022) (screening Thursday, September 7, 8:30 p.m.).


1990, USA, 48 minutes
In English, Format: 16mm

A landmark in autobiographical filmmaking, SINK OR SWIM is a wrenching portrait of a girl’s fraught relationship with her father. Unspooling in a series of 26 interlocking vignettes, the film chronicles punishments, neglect, and the tumultuous dissolution of her parents’ marriage, touching upon the father’s own childhood traumas and the girl’s emergence into adulthood. Friedrich brings together her own footage, archival film, and text into an evocative collage that underscores the shape-shifting relationship between past and present, family and self.

1993, USA, 31 minutes
In English, Format: 16mm

At once wry and piercing, RULES OF THE ROAD traces the arc of a love affair through the couples’ prized possession: a Cutlass Cruiser station wagon with fake wood paneling.

About the artist

Su Friedrich has produced 23 films and videos since 1978. She is the recipient of many awards, including fellowships from the Rockefeller and Guggenheim foundations, a Herb Alpert Award, as well as numerous grants from the Jerome Foundation, New York Foundation for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts, and Independent Television Service. Her work is widely screened in the United States, Canada, and Europe and has been the subject of retrospectives at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Rotterdam International Film Festival; the London LGBTIQ+ Film Festival; the Stadtkino,Vienna; The Cinematheque, Vancouver; the National Film Theater, London; the Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema; the New York LGBTQ+ Film Festival; the first Tokyo International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival; the Cork International Film Festival; the Wellington Film Festival; the Bios art center, Athens; and the Anthology Film Archives, New York. Friedrich taught film and video production at Princeton University from 1998–2023.

Related Event

Su Friedrich: TODAY (screening Thursday, September 7, 8:30 p.m.)


This event will have real-time captions (CART). For other accessibility requests, please visit saic.edu/access or contact cate@saic.edu.