Thursday, July 12, 2007

C'est Vrai! (One Hour).

C'est Vrai! (One Hour). Photographs by Robert Frank. Steidl The Masters, Gottingen, 2007. 96 pp., 14 tritone illustrations, 4x6". Available with dvd at photoeye.

I've been feeling a little bit uncomfortable since the last post. I really do love old photographs - the inspiration found in the texture and composition of the photographs, individuals' aesthetics and interaction, romanticising about the persons and situations depicted - what happened just before the frame was frozen, what will happen after, who the people are, what they are doing there, where they're going. The fact that the pictures comes without context makes them extra intriguing, but at the same time I also feel like I'm violating someone's privacy - especially when the photographs are found and was not necessarily meant to be on public display.

C'est Vrai! (One Hour) is a book that in a sense captures the kind of every day life I find really fascinating, but instead constructs the scenes without using real peoples' private lives in doing so.

Publisher's Description:

Robert Frank’s film One Hour is a single-take of Frank and actor Kevin O’Connor either walking or riding in the back of a mini-van through a few blocks of Manhattan’s Lower East side. Shot between 3:45 and 4:45 pm on 26 July, 1990 the film presents the curious experience of eavesdropping involuntarily on strangers. It appears to be a document of a journey but is also a kind of stream of consciousness retracing the same patterns and spaces. This book is a reprint of a little-known Frank publication first issued by Hanuman Books in 1992, a tiny book, comprising mainly a transcription of the dialogue heard but also two pages of credits: half a dozen production or crew workers and 27 actors. Unravelling the apparent documentary nature of the film, there is also an acknowledgement that the film has a script (by Frank and his assistant, Michal Rovner), that a conversation heard in a diner is written by Mika Moses, and that Peter Orlovsky’s lines (intercepted by Frank roughly halfway through the hour, in front of the Angelika Cinema on Houston Street) are “total improvisation”. The film C’est Vrai (One Hour) will be published as a DVD as part of Steidl’s Robert Frank The Complete Film Works, the first volume of which is published this season.

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