Stedelijk Museum x IDFA: Don’t Blink: Robert Frank
19 Nov 2015

Special screening of the new documentary on photographer Robert Frank

Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Teijin Auditorium
7:15 - 9:30 pm
English with Dutch subtitles
Special price IDFA


Photo: Lisa Rinzler
Photo: Lisa Rinzler
Photo: Lisa Rinzler
Photo: Lisa Rinzler

The Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and IDFA proudly present Laura Israel’s documentary Don’t Blink: Robert Frank about the life and work of photographer and filmmaker Robert Frank. In honor of the special screening, the Stedelijk Museum presents a small collection presentation of Frank’s photography of 1950s America next to the iconic and socially critical work The Beanery by Frank’s contemporary Edward Kienholz. Laura Israel will be present and interviewed after the premiere.

In conjunction with the special screening on Thursday evening, a selection of short films made by Frank will be screened on Friday and Saturday at the Stedelijk Museum during the program Stedelijk Museum x IDFA: Robert Frank Retrospective.


Don’t Blink: Robert Frank by Laura Israel is an unconventional portrait of American photographer and filmmaker Robert Frank. In the documentary, Frank opens up with unprecedented candor about his past and present life. Israel, whose directorial debut Windfall screened at IDFA in 2010, has been Frank’s regular editor and close friend since the early 1990s. Following its subject’s style, the film is a lively montage of images, sounds, and memories from Frank’s eventful life.


Robert Frank (Zurich, 1924) emigrated to America after WWII and broke through as an artist in 1958 with his photo book The Americans. The book, featuring a foreword by Jack Kerouac, gave a somber impression of America, while breaking with photographic conventions. After The Americans, which almost immediately achieved cult status among young artists, Frank started to make films. His first film, Pull My Daisy, appeared in 1959 and he went on to make a range of films including Me and My Brother (1965-1968), Cocksucker Blues (1972), The Present (1996), and Paper Route (2001). It was not until the 1970s when he returned to still photography. In 1995 the Stedelijk Museum organized a major retrospective of his photography.


Laura Israel is a documentary filmmaker, photographer and collaborator of Robert Frank. She has worked with remarkable cultural figures: Lou Reed, Patti Smith, Keith Richards, Sonic Youth, and especially over the last two decades, her good friend Robert Frank with whom she has been archiving and preserving his film and video work over the past two years.  With Don’t Blink: Robert Frank, she had the unique opportunity to document the life and work of the artist. About his work, she says: “His work incorporates poetry, music, theater, politics and New York City history. I want to try to reveal his creative process and his relationship with images,”


Don’t Blink: Robert Frank is produced by Assemblage Films in association with ARTE France; in 2012 the film was a project for IDFA Forum.

This program is a collaboration between Joost Daamen, Laura van Halsema (IDFA), and Anne Ruygt, junior curator Photography and Britte Sloothaak, assistant curator Performance, Film and Discursive Programs (Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam).