I Stare at You and Dream

1997 | 00:56:40 | United States | English | Color | Stereo

Collection: Single Titles

Tags: Autobiography, Family, Labor, Latino/Chicano, Video History, Youth/Childhood

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I Stare at You and Dream is a slice of life melodrama that journeys to the core of interrelationships. This film juxtaposes and links the lives of four people: the filmmaker, Susan Mogul; her friend, Rosie Sanchez; Rosie’s teenage daughter, Alejandra (Alex) Sanchez; and Ray Aguilar; Susan’s-on-and-off boyfriend. Tender and unflinching, each character gradually reveals their desires, wounds, and romantic entanglements in the context of their everyday lives. This intimate, multi-themed film is about familial and romantic relationships, and, explores how our past informs our present. The interwoven stories of Stare unfold in an episodic fashion, like a soap opera, and are carefully structured to build interrelated themes among the characters. Filmed in Susan’s Highland Park neighborhood, a predominantly working class Latino area of Los Angeles, Stare embraces the major themes of her body of work: female identity, family, relationships, and the quest for home.

"Mogul has a talent for swiftly getting you interested in people about whom you know nothing--so interested that the hour you spend with them zooms by." --Howard Rosenberg, Los Angeles Times

"When Susan Mogul chose the title for I Stare at You and Dream she turned to a line from the young poet, Alejandra (Alex) Sanchez, whose story is one of four that make up this film. Alex’s phrase, with its hint of confession, and its open door to a world of emotional images, is perfectly suited to Mogul’s work. I Stare at You and Dream is a film about longing and loss, about the tides of love, sacrifice, anger, and hope that run through the lives of its maker and her friends, and all of us in her audience who stare at the screen and dream. It’s a charming diary, deceptively funny but full of mournful undercurrents, that uses a visual language of contrasting images. …in a way, Mogul is a screenwriter, but her craft lies in covering the trajectory of experience rather than fabricating it whole. As a documentarist, she offers us the pleasures of her medium: spontaneity, intimacy, and the spectacle of life unfolding before us. There’s a sense of community in her work that’s worlds apart from the intense temporary ties that often arise between documentary filmmakers and their sympathetic subjects; that’s because what Mogul captures is rooted in shared in history and enduring relationships. Does she tell us the truth (the whole truth) about Alex, and Rosie and Ray and herself? Who can say? At the close of her film, Mogul admits she’s guilty of wanting people and things to turn out the way she’d like them to turn out, of “trying to make my life like a movie.” She has, in fact, made her life into a movie. Luckily for us, it doesn’t have a Hollywood ending."--Linda Dubler, notes for the Southern Circuit tour, South Carolina Arts Commission

Produced in association with the Independent Television Service for public television with major funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Exhibitions + Festivals

San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, 1999

National Public Television,1998

Visions du Reel International Film Festival, Switzerland, 1998

Eye and Thou: Jewish Autobiography in Film and Video,1998

NY Expo of Short Film and Video,1998: Bronze Medal 

International Women in the Director's Chair Film Festival, 1998: Opening Night Film

PBS; 1997 -2001 

Southern Circuit: a tour thru the South of exceptional filmmakers, 1997

Louisville Film and Video Festival, 1997: Juror's Prize

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