‘Ethel’ remembers Bobby

HBO pic screened at the Time Warner Center

It was a full court of Kennedys — 35, to be exact — at HBO’s Monday night screening of “Ethel,” Rory Kennedy’s docu tribute to her mother, Ethel Kennedy.

“I’ve seen it a hundred times and I can’t watch it without tears,” HBO’s Sheila Nevins said at the Time Warner Center. “There are many levels of this: the mother-daughter aspect, which is very poignant, and this incredible history, shared by one more than the other because Ethel was pregnant with Rory when Robert Kennedy was shot.

“I always wanted to do this film,” Nevins added. “I never thought it would happen.”

“Simply stated, she’s a national treasure,” Ted Kennedy Jr. said of his aunt.

“The structure of the film,” Rory explained, “is these very historical events that my family was very much on the front lines … and see what it was like for our family at the time. What was it like for my mother having 11 children and 19 dogs and horses and zebras and a seal? It’s really documenting, pulling out archival footage that has never been seen before. Hopefully there’s a lot there even for people who are familiar with our family and have read a lot of the books. Even some historians have said they’ve gotten new information from this.”

So what does Ethel Kennedy herself think of the docu? She quickly pivoted to talk about her late husband’s fight for equality and tolerance.

“That was very much what Bobby stood for and what the children learned at the dinner table and carried on in their own lives,” Ethel said. “It’s really great to see it continue to happen. Look at Rory’s life and,” she added, eager to change the subject again, “her next documentary is going to be really spectacular.”

Rory smiled, saying, “She’s just happy it’s not going to be ‘Ethel 2.'” Actually, her next docu is “on the end of the Vietnam war.”

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