Robert Frank Film Series
Every Wednesday at 7 pm.
Auditori del MACBA
A decision: I put my Leica in a cupboard. Enough of lying in wait, pursuing, sometimes catching the essence of the black and white, the knowledge of where God is. I make films. Now I speak to the people in my viewfinder.
The retrospective exhibition Robert Frank: Storylines, co-produced with the Tate Modern, is complemented by this unusual cycle of Robert Frank’s films, practically unknown here in Spain, which makes clear the importance of these works in his artistic career. Robert Frank is known for his significant and unquestionable contribution to photography in the mid-twentieth century. However, towards the end of the ‘50s, just when he had achieved the status of ‘star’, he temporarily gave up photography and became a filmmaker. This selection of films, in which many different formats are used ranging from direct or pseudo-documentary cinema to road-movies or a personal diary, allows closer examination of film’s critical influence on the narrative and sequential aspects of his photography. For his films were not an isolated chapter in his career, just the opposite. In the films he develops and radicalises the interests he had begun to explore with his photographic work. These include his reflections on the act of creating itself, the contamination between time and space that photography and cinema allow, the dichotomy between reality and fiction, or the analysis of the relationship between memory, language and images.
Screenings: Wednesdays at 7 pm. (except 9 March) The films will be shown in Original Version.
FEBRUARY 16 Pull My Daisy
Robert Frank and Alfred Leslie, United States, 1959, 16mm, 28'.
Written and narrated by Jack Kerouac, Pull My Daisy marks Robert Frank’s legendary entry into filmmaking. Documenting everyday life in a loft on New York’s Bowery, this icon of American independent filmmaking is a classic look at the soul of the Beat generation.
This Song for Jack
Robert Frank, United States 1983, 16 mm, 30'.
This Song for Jack, a swansong to commemorate Jack Kerouac, was shot at a gathering of beatniks on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of On the Road’s publication.
Energy And How To Get It
Robert Frank, United States 1981, 16 mm, 28'.
A spoof on documentary filmmaking, Frank’s entertaining reflection on truth and fiction stars William Burroughs as the Energy Tsar and Robert Downey as a Hollywood agent.
FEBRUARY 23 Moving Pictures
Robert Frank, United States 1994, vídeo, 16’5’’.
Weaving between photography, found footage, projected footage and filmed reality, this silent film reflects Frank’s interest in the temporal and spatial transitions between photography and film. Silence and emptiness prevail as the fragmentary nature of memory is reordered in an associative sequence parallel to the fragmentary nature of the photographic image.
Me and My Brother
Robert Frank, United States 1965-1968 (reeditada en 1997), 35 mm, 91’.
Pitting the counterfeit against the authentic and acting against being, Frank’s first feature length film is a docu-fiction that describes the inner and outer worlds of Julius, the catatonic brother of the poet Peter Orlovsky. The film was reedited in 1997 to mark the passing of Allen Ginsberg.
MARCH 2 Run
Robert Frank, United States 1989, vídeo, 3' 35’’.
Frank’s video for legendary British band New Order features a fragmentary plot characterised by resignation and solitude. Run is a cry for deceleration, for the awkward and everyday.
Summer Cannibals / Patti Smith
Robert Frank, United States 1996, 35mm, 5'.
Shot in stark, rich black and white, this energetic short film documents Smith’s sensual, growling performance of her cryptic song Summer Cannibals.
Robert Frank, Suiza/Francia/Canadá 1987, 35 mm, 91'.
Candy Mountain, featuring cameos by Arto Lindsay, Joe Strummer and Tom Waits, is a bitingly funny and unpretentious road movie documenting Julius Brooke’s quest for renowned guitar maker Elmore Silk.
MARCH 16 Flamingo
Robert Frank, Canadá 1996, vídeo en blanco y negro, 5’.
“This is the time to say a few words: about building a house, about projecting slides.” Miranda Dali’s lyrical, dislocated voice comments on the construction of a new foundations for Frank’s house in Nova Scotia, while the black and white remains of a memory flow in a rapid montage.
The Sin of Jesus
Robert Frank, United States 1961, 35 mm, 37'.
Based on a story by Isaac Babel, Frank’s second film is one of his most stylised, indicating his increasingly sophisticated cinematographic eye. In this bleak, Bermanesque parable, Jesus refuses mercy to a young woman, instead giving her a guardian angel whom she seduces.
OK End Here
Robert Frank, United States 1963, 35mm, 32'.
This stunning short film about inertia in modern relationships indicates Frank’s interest in the French Nouvelle Vague and in Michelangelo Antonioni, but his cinematographic snapshots of urban life are very much in the style of his own photographic series ‘The Americans’.
MARCH 23 What I Remember from My Visit with Stieglitz
Robert Frank, Canadá 1998, vídeo, 7'.
A re-enactment of Frank’s visit to the home of the photographer Alfred Stieglitz, blending fact and fiction in a wistful analysis of the complex interplay between memory, language and images.
About Me: A Musical
Robert Frank, United States 1971, 16 mm, 30'.
Originally intended as a film about music, ‘About Me’ eventually became an ironic self-portrait featuring a young female actress playing Frank himself, and a moving gospel performed by African American inmates in a prison corridor.
Life Dances On
Robert Frank, United States 1980, 16mm, 30'.
“Photographs in film should function as pauses and windows which show other times and other places” Robert Frank. A fragmentary, metaphorical and personal film about mourning that proposes a final analysis of photography’s limits.
Robert Frank, United States 1985, vídeo, 29'.
Frank’s first video project is a visual diary of consequential events that bridge his life as an artist and his personal life.
MARCH 30 C'est vrai! (One Hour)
Robert Frank, Francia 1990, vídeo, 60’.
A one-hour journey through Manhattan’s Lower East Side that captures the uncanny intimacy of street life in New York and presents a volatile mix of chance and control.
Robert Frank, Suiza / Reino Unido, 1992, 16 mm, 50’.
In an empty lot in Harlem, an elite group of New Yorkers prepare for a book-signing party in honour of a writer who never arrives. Neighbourhood residents must navigate the reception as guests obsess about identity, status and success. Finally, the writer’s fears and doubts are understood, with ironic implications.
APRIL 6 Sanyu
Robert Frank, Suiza/Francia 2000, vídeo, 27'.
A search that documents itself. Shot in Paris and Taiwan, the film is a requiem for San Yu, an important Chinese artist who died in anonymity in Paris. A film about art, history, dreaming and love, it also questions the authenticity of documentary depictions.
Robert Frank, Canadá/Suiza 2002, vídeo, 26'.
Life on the move. On a wintry morning, Frank accompanies high-spirited Robert MacMillan on his daily newspaper delivery round in the towns of rural Nova Scotia. A humorous, laconic film, inspired by Frank’s desire to better understand how people live their lives.
Program produced by the Tate Modern in London as part of the exhibition "Robert Frank. Storylines"