Younger Dylan Farrow.
Photograph: Courtesy of HBO
The second episode of the HBO docuseries Allen v. Farrow included long-discussed however never-before-seen video of Dylan Farrow, at age 7 in 1992, describing how her father, Woody Allen, sexually abused her. Within the third episode, which aired Sunday evening, much more footage of Dylan, shot by her mom, Mia Farrow, was broadcast that confirmed the kid additional explaining how her father “touched her privates” and answering follow-up questions from her mom.
It’s heartbreaking to observe these movies due to the violation that Dylan, in such plain language, describes. However it’s additionally troublesome to soak up as a result of she has to say all of this in entrance of a digital camera. Regardless of not having been seen publicly till now, the movies of Dylan have usually been cited by Allen supporters as proof that Mia Farrow satisfied her daughter to concoct a narrative about being assaulted by her dad, an thought launched into the general public sphere by a report from the Baby Sexual Abuse Clinic of Yale-New Haven Hospital, the place Dylan repeatedly met with social staff. (As Allen v. Farrow does on the finish of each installment, I’m obliged to notice that Allen continues to disclaim he abused Dylan Farrow and has not been criminally charged. I’m additionally obliged to notice, because the docuseries does, that the Yale-New Haven proof was deemed not credible by the decide within the Allen v. Farrow trial that centered on who would get custody of Dylan and her brothers, Ronan and Moses.)
Some folks consider the “Mia coached Dylan” narrative purely as a result of they continue to be constantly and supremely loyal to Allen. However there’s one more reason that, even with out seeing the movies, others might have discovered it straightforward to imagine these clips had been proof of a lie slightly than the reality: as a result of the concept of filming a toddler speaking about her personal abuse is upsetting and uncomfortable. It’s upsetting and uncomfortable to think about filming a toddler, notably your personal, discussing such issues. And, as anticipated, it’s upsetting and uncomfortable to observe younger Dylan talk about all of this in Allen v. Farrow.
In 2021, when iPhone cameras doc each conceivable type of human habits, from TikTok dances to police brutality, the concept that Mia Farrow filmed Dylan might not appear unusual in any respect, particularly to youthful generations whose entire lives are lived on-camera. In 1992, although, when cell telephones had been neither good nor extensively owned and The Actual World had solely simply made fashionable actuality tv a factor, capturing this sort of footage appeared a tad exterior of the norm. Nonetheless justifiable, however extra uncommon than it appears now.
Clearly the alleged abuse itself is the actual sin, not the speaking about it or the documentation of it. However the thought of going through incest or youngster molestation is so basically disturbing that, as a protection mechanism, some could also be inclined to direct their horror on the individual holding the digital camera as an alternative of on the occasions being described. It’s simpler to face the (arguably) questionable determination to place a toddler’s confession on tape than it’s to confront the actually despicable act that the kid says her father dedicated. However shifting the main target on this approach can be a type of denial, one which for many years allowed the general public to disregard and decrease the ache expressed by the individual within the middle of the body in these movies: Dylan Farrow.
Mia Farrow says in Allen v. Farrow that she recorded Dylan as a result of she needed to doc what she had advised her as quickly as potential, and the household therapist was away for the summer time and unreachable. Farrow, who incessantly carried a digital camera round her Connecticut residence and filmed her youngsters, did what got here naturally to her. Looking back, that was clever. Younger Dylan Farrow, sadly, was a really credible witness to the theft of her personal innocence. These movies are troublesome to disclaim.
To that time, in Sunday’s episode, a number of youngster psychologists watch these residence films and characterize Dylan’s rhetoric and physique language as according to that of an abuse sufferer who’s telling a narrative primarily based on her personal expertise, versus repeating one thing she was coached to say. Nonetheless, it’s unlucky that Dylan needed to repeat what occurred to her so many occasions. We don’t see the entire footage, nevertheless it’s clear that Mia Farrow shot video of her daughter a number of occasions. In essentially the most wrenching clip, after saying, “I didn’t want him to do it, mama,” Dylan whispers, “I don’t like it, and I also don’t want to talk about it.” Mia Farrow turns off the digital camera at that time, however Dylan’s fatigue at revisiting her trauma is clear. Actually that fatigue will need to have solely deepened after telling the household pediatrician about it, then assembly with the Yale-New Haven social staff 9 occasions, then having to speak about all of it once more with investigators in New York, Allen’s place of residence.
However that is what abuse victims should undergo in the event that they resolve to press prices. They should repeat themselves again and again, poking at a wound that retains demanding air when all they wish to do is place a everlasting Band-Help over it. It’s terrible that such a younger youngster must be put via that wringer. Whereas Allen v. Farrow has kicked up all types of outdated discussions about whether or not Woody or Mia was within the unsuitable, that core reality shouldn’t be forgotten. It’s what must be mentioned greater than the rest after watching this collection: that Dylan, and others like her, are sometimes put via additional hell for being sincere concerning the hell they’ve already endured.
In a assertion shared on Twitter previous to the published of episode two of Allen v. Farrow, Dylan Farrow defined that she was very reluctant to have the footage of her younger self proven within the documentary. Her mom had given her the movies when she turned an grownup and advised her to do what she needed with them, however she hid them away for years. She finally determined to allow them to be proven, she mentioned, “to find some healing for me and my childhood self.” In a wierd approach, it’s pure that she’s discovering that therapeutic in an on-camera context. Dylan Farrow grew up with an Academy Award–successful director as a father and a mom who was always filming her youngsters. Dylan Farrow used the time period “magical hour” at a younger age, one thing her observers on the Yale-New Haven clinic perceived as proof of fabulism slightly than what it was: the vocabulary of a kid raised to talk the cinematic language.
When Dylan spoke about private issues, together with a teenage breakup with a boyfriend, a second that seems in subsequent week’s last episode, she typically did it via a digital camera lens. And when she described essentially the most horrible factor that ever occurred to her, an abuse of belief that passed off as her dad promised she could possibly be in one in all his films sometime, she did that on-camera, too. Possibly it is sensible that the one approach for Dylan Farrow to return full circle and discover one thing akin to closure is to permit herself, and the lady she refers to as Little Dylan, to look into the lens another time and inform her fact.