In sixth grade, my friend Amy Osborn’s parents took us to a screening of Annie Hall. The bedroom scenes with Carol Kane, Janet Margolin and Diane Keaton were chaste by today’s standards. The repartee was so beyond my frame of reference, it caused but little discomfort. What did me in was the two-line exchange between a cartoon Woody Allen and Snow White’s Wicked Queen concerning her period (or lack thereof). Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret was our sacred text, but its most sensational subject matter—menstruation—was deeply taboo outside of my 1970’s Indiana tribe. I could have died, knowing Mr. Osborn was sitting right there. The one consolation was that my own parents weren’t.
These awkward encounters can be defining, which explains why the Tribeca Film Festival sought to ferret them out as part of its One Question series. It’s impressive that the four directors and one producer featured above decided to pursue careers in film after inadvertently sharing with their parents such tender moments as a masturbating Philip Seymour Hoffman in Todd Solondz’s seminal (pardon the pun) Happiness or the relentless defloration scene at the top of Larry Clark’s Kids.
Perhaps you can relate. If so, please spill the gory details below. Provided you’re strong enough to revisit the trauma, what was your most cringe-inducing moment at the movies with your mom or dad, or—let’s not be ageist here—your kids?