Candy Mountain, 1987, Robert Frank, Rudy Wurlitzer

Robert Frank

November 10 to 27, 2017

The films and videos of Robert Frank are among the best-kept secrets in film history. His debut film, the beatnik ode Pull My Daisy (1959), is considered a classic, while his three feature-length films – the fascinating experiment on schizophrenia, Me and My Brother (1968), the infamous Rolling Stones documentary Cocksucker Blues (1972) and the musical road movie Candy Mountain (1987) – have all received due attention. But even if the revival of interest in Frank has largely been due to his work as photographer, the bulk of his audiovisual opus remains mostly unknown and virtually impossible to see in the cinema.

These consist primarily of intensely personal film essays which follow a fleeting, highly contemporary aesthetic and revolve around topics which only appear to be inconsequential and trivial. A unique outsider's view of the possibilities of cinema can be discovered in these works.

Born in Zurich in 1925, Frank studied French and trained as a photographer in Switzerland before emigrating to New York in 1947, where he started working as a fashion and art photographer. His sensational photography book The Americans (1958), featuring a foreword by Jack Kerouac, delivered a dark counterpart to the image America had of itself. The Americans gradually became established as one of the most influential photography books of the 20th century, whereas Frank, on the verge of fame immediately following its publication, shifted his focus to cinema.

Having already shown all of Robert Frank's film and video works in November 2003, now, fourteen years later, parallel to a large-scale exhibition at the Albertina, the Film Museum once more offers a full retrospective, expanded by three video works Frank produced since 2002.

Due to the complicated legal status of Cocksucker Blues, restricted to only four public screenings a year worldwide, the film will be shown in mid-January (Tickets available from December 20). The Film Museum will screen the film as the finale of the parallel photography exhibition of Robert Frank's work at the Albertina (through January 21, 2018). Visitors of the Film Museum will be granted concessionary admission to the Albertina on presentation of their tickets.