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Five Year Diary Reels 22,23 & 80

Anne Charlotte Robertson
USA 1981-1997 / 85’

Anne discusses her life on campus, her toxic relationships, weight loss, nervous breakdowns, and her cats. A prototype for today's blogs, her film diary also performs a therapeutic function, given that Anne struggled with bipolar disorder from the time of her nervous breakdown right through to the end of her studies. Acute phases of psychosis are followed by humorous, girlish confessions. Anne wants what most of us want: to be loved, to be happy, thin, and disciplined, and to quit smoking. She wants to have control over her life-both real and imagined. The formal diversity of her diary entries is fascinating, ranging from essays through to to-camera performance art and stop-motion animation. It bears witness to the creativity of an artist who is able to maintain a healthy distance from herself, a young woman who jokingly refers to her diary as her "dowry": When I meet my future husband, and he asks me what I've been doing my whole life, I'll take out my diaries and say, Here you go, written in stone.This is a sad and funny, ironic and compulsive recording of everyday struggles.

Ewa Szabłowska

Anne Charlotte Robertson

A former American visual artist from near Boston and a pioneer of the phenomenon known as first-person cinema. She began recording her very first film diaries when she was still a student, inspired by the creative work of a variety of filmmakers, such as Ed Pincus and Carolee Schneemann. She died in 2012 following a decades-long struggle with mental illness, leaving behind a rich film archive.


1979 Suicide (short)

1980 Homebirth (short)

1981-1997 Five Year Diary (series)

1984 Depression Focus Please (short)

1985 Talking to Myself #1 (short)

1988 Diet (short)

2001 My Cat, My Garden and 9/11 (short)

Cast & Crew

director Anne Charlotte Robertson
screenplay Anne Charlotte Robertson
cinematography Anne Charlotte Robertson
editing Anne Charlotte Robertson
sound Anne Charlotte Robertson
producer Anne Charlotte Robertson
sales Harvard Film Archive
language English
colouration colour