Two Portraits

is a meditation on the marriage of the filmmaker’s mother and father. Director: Peter Thompson. Cinematographer: Peter Thompson. Editor: Greg Snider. Color, video, 27 minutes, 1981.

Selected Reviews

"A moving and disturbing film. It presents a complex and irresolvable human situation with admirable clarity and simplicity. Not only a personal coming to terms with his past, Thompson's film is a frightening meditation on the institutions of marriage and family. It has an incredible intensity. It will nail you to your seat."

Harvey Nosowitz
Chicago Tribune

"A powerful and moving portrait."

Jonathan Rosenbaum
Chicago Reader

"Chicago filmmaker Peter Thompson has made an original, unsettling movie, a witness to his parents that is almost cruelly honest and unresolved. Not once does it cozy up to us or provide easy answers. Clearly it was dictated by Thompson’s emotions.... Mostly he is troubled by the mystery of their unknown and unknowable lives."

David Elliott
Chicago Sun-Times, April 2, 1982

"This film introduces themes that Thompson explores throughout his work--remembrance, the desire for knowledge, the impossibility of reconstructing history, photographic believability, and the workings of the family... Thompson structures his film around contradictions between his parents as individuals, within themselves, and between different elements of the film itself."

Steve Harp
Afterimage, Summer 1988

"'Two Portraits' is really two films. The first, 'Anything Else,' is about Thompson’s father, whose suicide in 1979 began the project.. The second part of the film is called 'Shooting Scripts,' and is a portrait of the artist’s mother, who remarried two weeks after the father’s death. The obviously intense emotional implications are handled with an extreme economy of means that allows us to think about the meaning of this troubled marriage."

Christopher Lyon
Screen, April 12, 1982