New to VOD this week: DON’T BLINK – ROBERT FRANK
New York Film Festival 2015
IDFA, Palm Springs, Berlin, Portland, Hong Kong, Full Frame, IndieLisboa, Munich Dokfest, Provincetown, Jerusalem, Melbourne, London
An impressionistic portrait of the pioneering documentary photographer and filmmaker.
Frank is best-known for his provocative, candid 1958 book of black-and-white photography, THE AMERICANS, produced over the course of a nine-month trip through 30 states, and as the director of the notorious unreleased 1972 Rolling Stones documentary, COCKSUCKER BLUES. Like that chronicle of the band’s 1972 tour, Israel takes a somewhat freeform approach here, rather than a traditional, strictly biographical one. As signaled by its title, the film barrages the viewer with examples of the artist’s striking work – sometimes too quickly, frankly – and otherwise peppers the proceedings with background and present-day scenes showing the still very active nonagenarian at work. While sometimes not wholly satisfying as a result, the effort is distinctive and matches its subject quite appropriately.