Sundance film focuses on RFK's widow

PARK CITY, UT - JANUARY 22: Ethel Kennedy (L) and filmmaker Rory Kennedy attend the HBO Sundance Documentary Party at Wahso Asian Grill on January 22, 2012 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Michael Locc... Read moreBy: Michael Loccisano Getty Images

Ethel Kennedy, left, and her daughter, filmmaker Rory Kennedy, attend the HBO Sundance Documentary Party on Jan. 22, 2012, in Park City, Utah.
Getty Images

(CBS/AP) PARK CITY, Utah - The Kennedy clan arrived at Sundance this week to support Robert F. Kennedy's youngest child Rory at the premiere of a new documentary about her mother, RFK's widow Ethel Kennedy.

More than 20 Kennedys and in-laws were in the audience when "Ethel," an affectionate portrait of Ethel Skakel Kennedy, made its premiere. The documentary is expected to be shown on HBO this summer.

Pictures: Sundance 2012
Pictures: The Brothers Kennedy
Pictures: Robert F. Kennedy
Pictures: Children of Camelot

In the film, Ethel Kennedy, who will be 84 in April, discusses campaigning for her husband and his brother, President John F. Kennedy, the similarities and differences between her family and the Kennedy clan, and raising 11 children after her husband's assassination in 1968. She was pregnant with Rory when her husband died.

The movie includes interviews with Ethel and her children, archival footage and home movies.

Though initially reluctant when her daughter proposed the documentary, Ethel Kennedy opens up on screen with candid recollections about the family, including falling in love at first sight with her future husband on a ski trip to Canada.

"He was standing in front of an open fireplace," she said in an interview alongside her daughter. "I walked in the door and turned and saw him, and I thought, 'Whoa.'"

The 43-year-old filmmaker, whose whose past Sundance documentaries include the Emmy-winning "Ghosts of Abu Ghraib," said "Ethel" probably was her most challenging film because it was so personal.

Some of that is captured on camera when Ethel Kennedy is shown unable to discuss the grief over her husband's death.

"When we lost Daddy ..." she begins, then tears up and tells her daughter, "Talk about something else."

  • CBS News Staff

Comments