Robert Frank’s significant contribution to photography in the mid-twentieth century is unquestionable. His book, The Americans, is arguably the most important American photography publication of the post-World War II period, and his photography has spawned numerous disciples, as well as a rich critical literature. However, at the very moment Frank achieved the status of a ‘star’ at the end of the 1950s, he abandoned traditional still photography to become a filmmaker. He eventually returned to photography in the 1970s, but Frank, as a filmmaker, has remained a well kept secret for almost four decades.

In conjunction with Tate Modern’s exhibition Robert Frank: Storylines, this rare programme of Frank’s films will highlight their singular role in his practice. The screenings will allow closer examination of film’s critical influence on the narrative and sequential aspects of Frank’s photography and on his devotion to the transience of the moment.

Robert Frank Films
Programme 7

Saturday 22 January 2005, 19.00
Programme duration 53’

Sanyu
Switzerland/France 2000, video, 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. 

Paper Route
Canada/Switzerland 2002, video, 26’
Life on the move. On a wintry morning, Frank accompanies high-spirited Robert MacMillan during his daily route delivering newspapers to towns in rural Novia Scotia. A humorous, laconic film inspired by Frank’s desire to better understand how people live their lives. The Robert Frank film series is screened in connection with Tate Modern’s exhibition.

Supported by Pro Helvetia Arts Council of Switzerland, SWISS FILMS and Presence Switzerland