The Film and Video Work of Robert Frank.
Edited by Brigitta Burger-Utzer, Stefan Grisseman.
Steidl/The Robert Frank Project,
304 pp., Illustrated throughout, 6¾x9½".
On the heels of Steidl’s DVD releases of Robert Frank’s films, and as a part of
their impressive ongoing project to make all of Frank’s output available, Frank
Films redresses the imbalance of critical attention paid to his work in cinema—
an oeuvre as esteemed among cinephiles as his photography is elsewhere. Frank
turned to filmmaking towards the end of the 1950s, interrupting his swift rise
to fame after The Americans. Frank describes “a decision: I put my Leica in a cupboard.
Enough of lying in wait, pursuing, sometimes catching the essence of the
black and the white, the knowledge where God is. I make films. Now I speak to
the people in my viewfinder.” Never content to walk the same path twice, he has
approached each of his 27 films as a new experience, so that his films have
proved difficult to categorize, especially in their amalgamation of documentary,
fiction and autobiography. Frank Films presents essays by Amy Taubin, Philip
Brookman, Stefan Grisseman, Thomas Miessgang, Kent Jones, Michael Barchet,
Pia Neuman and Bert Rebhandl, an interview with Allen Ginsberg and essays by
various authors examining each film and video in detail. Visually, Frank Films
provides a unique approach to the work, since—at his request—only new stills
made from videotapes have been used for reproduction.
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