Film Series

May 02 - June 27, 2009
Robert Frank Retrospective Robert Frank Retrospective

Phyllis Wattis Theater

Presented in conjunction with Looking In: Robert Frank's "The Americans," this retrospective series showcases the short and feature films made by the Swiss-born artist. Frank first turned to filmmaking in 1959 as a mode of production that enabled him to capture narratives that could not find expression in still images. He recalled of this transition, "I think I became more occupied with my own life, with my own situation, instead of traveling and looking at the cities and landscape. And I think that brought me to move away from the single image, and begin to film, where I had to tell a story." His first film, Pull My Daisy (codirected with Alfred Leslie), is cited as one of the most influential works of avant-garde independent film and the beginning of the New American Cinema.

$5 general; free for SFMOMA members or with museum admission (requires a free ticket, which can be picked up in the Haas Atrium). Double features: films offered on the same date are included in one ticket.

Past

Robert Frank Retrospective: Program 1
Buy tickets Robert Frank Retrospective: Program 1

Pull My Daisy, Codirected with Alfred Leslie, 1959, 28 min., 16mm
The Sin of Jesus, 1961, 40 min., 35mm
O.K. End Here, 1963, 30 min., 35mm
Total running time: 98 min.

Made with writers Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, and with painters Alfred Leslie, Larry Rivers, and Alice Neel, Pull My Daisy is a classic look at the soul of the beat generation.…

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Robert Frank Retrospective: Program 2
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Conversations in Vermont, 1969, 26 min., 16mm
Life-Raft Earth, 1969, 37 min., 16mm
About Me: A Musical, 1971, 35 min., 16mm
Total running time: 98 min.

Conversations in Vermont, Robert Frank's first overtly autobiographic film, is about his relationship with his children, Pablo and Andrea. Frank follows them to school (in Vermont)…

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Robert Frank Retrospective: Program 3
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Keep Busy, 1975, 30 min., 16mm
Energy and How to Get It, 1981, 28 min., 16mm
Home Improvements, 1985, 29 min., video
Total running time: 87 min.

Keep Busy is a spontaneous, improvised story of a group of people living on an island off Nova Scotia. Obsessed with daily aspects of their lives and the cycles of nature, the…

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Buy tickets Robert Frank Retrospective: Program 4

Hunter, 1989, 36 min., 16mm
Last Supper, 1992, 52 min., 16mm
Total running time: 88 min.

In the words of Robert Frank, Hunter is about ". . . a man whose destiny is not to find a destination. . . . A man who fears that he will never find what his imagination…

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Robert Frank Retrospective: Me and My Brother
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1965–68 (re-edited 1997), 91 min., 35mm

Frank's first feature-length film places documentary footage of poets Allen Ginsberg, Peter Orlovsky, and Peter's brother Julius within a fictional framework. Constantly…

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Buy tickets Robert Frank Retrospective: Program 5

C'est Vrai, 1990, 60 min., video
The Present, 1996, 24 min., video

Total running time: 84 min.

C'est Vrai is a one-hour trip through New York City's Lower East Side, produced on video for French television without editing the narrative. It presents a startling juxtaposition…

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Robert Frank Retrospective: Candy Mountain
Buy tickets Robert Frank Retrospective: Candy Mountain

1988, 91 min., 35mm

Cocreated with writer Rudy Wurlitzer, Candy Mountain was Frank's most widely distributed and expensive productions, and the cast includes several renowned musicians. The tale…

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Buy tickets Robert Frank Retrospective: Program 6

Flamingo, 1990, 7 min., video
Moving Pictures, 1994, 16 min., color video
I Remember, 1996, 5 min., video
Sanyu, 1999, 27 min., 35mm
Paper Route, 2002, 23 min., video
Total running time: 73 min.

Flamingo is Frank's poetic diary (with voiceover narration) recording the construction of a new foundation for his house in a remote area of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia; it silently…

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Robert Frank Retrospective: Program 7
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Run—New Order, 1989, 4 min., video
Summer Cannibals—Patti Smith, 1996, 4 min., video
Fernando, 2008, 12 min., video
Tunnel, 2005, 5 min., video
True Story, 2004, 26 min., color and black-and-white, video
Total running time: 51 min.

Frank made Fernando in honor of a Swiss artist friend of his who passed away.

Tunnel was created to premiere under the Swiss Alps at an event held during final blasting through the…

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Image: Robert Frank, Pull My Daisy (still), 1958; photo courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and Robert Frank

SFMOMA would like to thank the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, home of the Robert Frank Film and Video Archive, for its support in providing prints and other assistance for this program.