In The Press


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Film Synopsis (PDF)


"Writer-director Bill Rose is a cinematic poet. With its lyrical rhythms and contemplative visuals, THIS DUST OF WORDS unfolds as an achingly beautiful documentary about Elizabeth Wiltsee, a brilliant Stanford University graduate and promising writer. The haunting fifty-eight minute film is as much an ode to small-town America as an elegy for a sensitive soul who chose to live in the streets and go into the wild rather than find a traditional slot in society. The Palo Alto filmmaker (THE LOSS OF NAMELESS THINGS) again looks into the eyes of a creative artist who seemingly slips into an abyss. Instead of delving into the darkness of shattered dreams, Rose finds the solace and beauty of his subjects' unconventional lives."

Susan Tavernetti / / 3.11.08

"Like his celebrated first film, The Loss of Nameless Things, Bill Rose's newest documentary This Dust of Words is a meditation on genius and disorder. Rose makes us understand both by the time the tale is through. He analyzes the inner turmoil that destroyed a lovely and intelligent writer, and he also credits the kindness of the small community that helped keep her alive, for a time. Rose's compassion for his subject is evident through out: This Dust of Words is rich with strange, solemn beauty..."

Richard von Busack / Metro Silicon Valley / 2.27.08

"...Bill Rose's threnody for this woman of her odd time and odd place (from her childhood in Manila in the early 50's to the hey days of the 1960s to the banal late 1990s) has the delicacy of chamber music. You won't leave the theatre without being moved, even haunted, by this story, begun so promisingly and gently told, that after all must end in tears."

J.H. Stape / ReviewVancouver / 10.3.08

"Beautiful and elegaic... retains a mournful tone of mystery for a woman who maintained her dignity during a tragic downward spiral."

Wallace Baine / Santa Cruz Sentinel / 5.10.08

"Exceptional cinematic poetry and keen sensitivity... Sublimely human... I think the best movies help unleash the viewer's imagination, thoughts and feelings, and this film, like Rose's previous work, achieves that... Impeccably constructed and photographed, it was a true pleasure to watch."

Agnes Varnum / Doc-It-Out / 10.25.08

"World literature is littered with the bones of writers who didn't achieve their full potential as well as paranoid schizophrenics... but rarely have the two come together so tragically as they did in the case of Elizabeth Wiltsee... Even after our minds "die", it would seem, something of our real personality remains (in this world, at least, if not in the next)."

Mark Harris / Georgia Straight / 10.3.08

"A beautiful and haunting documentary... one of the "must-see" movies at the Kansas International Film Festival."

Bob Butler / Kansas City Star / 10.5.08

"Gorgeously shot and chock full of archival footage as to help truly draw the viewer into the life of Elizabeth Wiltsee..." FOUR STARS

Eric Campos / FILM THREAT / 4.23.08

"In this fine documentary, Bill Rose traces the steps of this extraordinary woman and the lives whom she touched and who touched her."

Los Angeles Journal / 5.29.08

"Director Bill Rose opens the door to the divine... we get a glimpse of something that isn't just human—but spiritually compelling."

Katherine Monk / Vancouver Sun / 10.10.08

"This Dust of Words is a profound film about an extraordinary girl, and a tragic life..."

GEIST Magazine / 10.12.08

"A haunted doc...Tender and sympathetic—without ever being sappy... Offers valuable insight into the diverse paths than lead a person to sleeping, inconsolable, on the church house steps."

John DeFore / Austin American Statesmen / 10.24.08

"The journey of Elizabeth Wiltsee, a girl with a genius IQ, Stanford education and tormented mind, who chose a life less ordinary and ultimately met with a tragic end, but, along the way proved the value of traveling the road less taken." FOUR STARS

Corey Ross / Cascadia Weekly / 2.23.09

Liz in the Philipines

In the Philippines, Liz playing Indian

Articles & Reviews

This Dust of Words— FOUR STAR FILM THREAT Review

The Searcher— Richard von Busack's Feature Story

John Felstiner's Stanford Magazine piece on Liz Wiltsee

A Beautiful Mind—Santa Cruz Sentinel Feature Story by Peggy Townsend

Santa Cruz Sentinel—Feature story on the film

Register—Pajaronian—Feature story on the film

Susan Tavernetti on Dear Zachary and This Dust of Words

Review of film from ReviewVancouver

Blog Reviews

This Dust of Words Review / Doc-It-Out / Agnes Varnum / 10.25.08

A Grown Woman—Cinequest Blog / 3.9.08

MichaelVox Movie Review Weblog / 3.1.08

University of Austin / Intro to Documentary / This Dust of Words Review / 10.20.08