In 1984, upon learning that his friend Harry Smith was being evicted from the Breslin Hotel in New York City, Allen Ginsberg encouraged Robert Frank to document the move on video. The result is a time capsule that captures a touching and unique encounter between two iconoclastic artists. Over a one-week period, Smith shows examples of his abundant collection of art, books, indigenous recordings, and films, many of which were later donated to the Getty Research Institute, the Smithsonian, and Anthology Film Archives. Frank’s video footage remained unedited until 2017, when his longtime editor, Laura Israel, discovered the tapes, had them digitally restored, and worked with Frank to create his first new film in years.
Robert Frank (b. 1924, Zurich) is one of the most well-known and acclaimed photographers in the world. Yet he was also a filmmaker, a fact that comparatively few remember or are even aware of. From 1959 onwards, he put his work as a photographer on hold to focus on cinema, going on to complete more than 25 films over a 50-year career until his death in September 2019. Many of these are regarded as seminal works within the international independent and documentary scene.
Photo credit: Dodo Jin Ming