Friday, May 1, 1998

Insides Out: Robert Frank's Moving Images

A Six-Part Retrospective of the Work of Robert Frank: Self-Reflections

San Francisco Art Institute

41st San Francisco International Film Festival

This year the Cinematheque’s co-presentations with the 41st San Francisco International Film Festival include a six-part retrospective of the work of Robert Frank as well as a program of experimental work, following last year’s successful ‘Phantom Cinema’. Complete information about the programs, including dates and showtimes, will be available after April 2 in the SFIFF Program Guide, MiniGuide and the SFIFF website www.sfiff.org. Cinematheque members will receive a special mailing with program details in early April.

In 1959, the same year that his seminal book of documentary photographs The Americans was published in the U.S., Robert Frank began his “move away from the single image” into the realm of film and video. This year he will be honored with the Golden Gate Persistence of Vision Award at the 41st San Francisco International Film Festival, which will screen the revised and restored Me and My Brother, Cocksucker Blues, and a program of shorts including the 1997 Flamingo. In conjunction with SFIFF’s tribute to Frank, the Cinematheque will present 3 more programs from his body of work, which now includes 21 eclectic films and videos, spans 4 decades and crisscrosses the genres of fiction, documentary and autobiography.

Beginning with his early Beat narrative Pull My Daisy (featuring Ginsburg and voiceover by Kerouac), Frank’s work playfully or mournfully challenges cinema’s conventions of narrative, of fixed meaning, of the notion of the image as a repository of truth and a means of capturing time. His personal films are remarkable for their dogged, uncompromising confrontation with the fragility and perplexity of life, coupled with a lucid and pessimistic concern for the world around us. Most of Frank’s work–whether in the realm of the fictional, the personal, the document or his own idiosyncratic mix–provoke and unsettle with a baring of the soul possible only in images meant to move.

Self-Reflections: Conversations in Vermont (1969); About Me: A Musical (1971); Life Dances On… (1980)