An art film for those uninterested in the big-screen romance and action of early-summer blockbusters, Don’t Blink chronicles the life of the photographer Robert Frank, the still-living photographer and noted creator of the photo series the Americans, a collection of unflinching portraits of quotidian life in 1955 for which Frank traveled all across the country.
The Jewish son of a German refugee whose family had to flee to Switzerland during World War II, Frank experienced the United States not as a native but as a visitor and an inquisitive eye. While he documented rural poverty in America’s heartland, he was also involved in New York art movements and both documented and was inspired by upper-class artistic intellectuals like Allen Ginsberg and Diane Arbus.
Don’t Blink offers a portrait of Frank not as a celebrity but simply a frank and honest documentarian. The trailer features archival footage from Frank’s life and more recent interviews from Frank, during one of which he says to the camera, smiling, “I hate these f***ing interviews!” This is all set to a poppy soundtrack, providing a ironically glossy exterior to the raw portrait of Frank’s life, updating mid century American artistic life for the millennial generation.
The documentary film Don’t Blink: Robert Frank is screening at Film Forum in Tribeca from July 13th through the 28th.