The Present

    • Robert Frank
    • United States
    • 1996
    • 27 min
    • Don't Blink: Robert Frank
    Born in Switzerland, photographer Robert Frank immigrated to the United States shortly after World War II. At first he felt happy and free in his new home country, but as a slow and thoughtful observer, he gradually started to feel uneasy with the speed of American life and the ever-present focus on making money – he began to feel lost and alone. This aura of the somber outsider has remained with him ever since and has unmistakably colored his oeuvre. His breakthrough work, the book of photographs The Americans, therefore presents a less than resoundingly optimistic picture of the United States. This sense of melancholy is also strongly felt in The Present, a seemingly formless succession of snapshots of his life in America, set in and around a New York apartment and a cottage in Nova Scotia. In this visual diary, Frank reads aloud letters, reflects on the premature death of his daughter Andrea and the mental health of his son Pablo. In the stilted language of the immigrant who never learned to pronounce the English “th” sound, he comments on his own footage as he is shooting it. Doubts about his artistry and the loneliness that goes with it resonate as he takes stock of his life.
     

    Credits

    • 27 min
    • color
    • 35mm
    Director
    Robert Frank
    Production
    Ruth Waldburger for Vega Film AG
    Cinematography
    Robert Frank, Paolo Nozzolino
    Editing
    Laura Israel
    Sound
    Robert Frank

    IDFA history

    2015
    Screened
    Don't Blink: Robert Frank

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