An intimate portrait that takes you inside the book that changed photography forever.
“I hate these fucking interviews” says Robert Frank in the trailer for his own biopic, Don’t Blink, “I’d like to walk out of the fucking frame.” In 1958 Frank, a Swiss photographer, published The Americans, a uniquely individual and influential portrait of poverty and racism across the United States. Frank went on to make several movies of his own, such as the Kerouac-narrated, Beat-inspired short, Pull My Daisy.
58 years after The Americans was published, Frank’s work and life are intimately profiled by director Laura Israel and producer Melinda Shopsin. Don’t Blink, which makes its theatrical debut tonight at Film Forum (where it plays for the next week), gives a “vivid sense of the man’s living presence” according to the New York Times, and contains rare footage of Frank’s own films, as well as a soundtrack comprised of greats like the Rolling Stones, the Velvet Underground, Patti Smith, and Bob Dylan.
Israel, who has also worked with the likes of Sonic Youth and Lou Reed, has worked with Frank since the early 90s on his own films. After her directorial debut in 2010 with Windfall, someone suggested that she direct a documentary about Frank. Israel immediately said no, and, after little contemplation, consulted Frank, who also rejected the idea. An eventual change of heart, their longstanding relationship eventually led to the film which, like Frank’s own pictures, blends a rough-around-the-edges style with poignant storytelling. Israel’s portrait of Frank, now 91, neatly combines footage and work from Frank’s entire life, depicting his life and art simultaneously.