American Journey

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Film Forum is pleased to present AN AMERICAN JOURNEY, a new documentary by French filmmaker Philippe Séclier, exploring both the origins and resonance of Robert Frank's seminal photography book, The Americans, opening Wednesday, September 30. More than 50 years ago, in 1958, The Americans was published to great acclaim - as well as to negative reviews that faulted the Swiss-born Frank's vision of a nation awash in poverty, racism and postwar jingoism. Today it is impossible to overstate the influence of this groundbreaking work. AN AMERICAN JOURNEY travels back to the small towns and rural communities the photographer immortalized - exploring the world as Frank saw it and as it survives today. Artist Edward Ruscha, publisher Barney Rosset, photographers John Cohen and Raymond Depardon, and curators/critics Vicki Goldberg, Sarah Greenough and Peter Galassi explore the feelings of anger and alienation which fueled Frank's remarkable journey. The Metropolitan Museum of Art's exhibit, "Looking In: Robert Frank's The Americans," opens September 22. Playing with the documentary is the classic short IN THE STREET, shot in East Harlem in the late 1940s by Helen Levitt, Janice Loeb and James Agee. Like Robert Frank, Helen Levitt, one of the 20th century's photography greats, immortalizes a period in New York when the streets, sidewalks, stoops and doorways were the playground of the poor. Rambunctious, humorous -- entirely candid in a way that today's media-savvy children would never be -- these street urchins have become the face of urban childhood in mid-century New York. --© Film Forum


Critic Reviews for American Journey

All Critics (6) | Top Critics (2)

  • An American Journey is short and scattered, and doesn't follow through often enough on its "catching up with The Americans 50 years later" premise.

    Oct 1, 2009 | Rating: C | Full Review…

    Noel Murray

    AV Club
    Top Critic
  • An American Journey is a movie about the making of a book, which puts it in a fairly narrow category.

    Sep 30, 2009 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • The film's incredibly understated with its depiction of a tarnished land of the free and promises to captivate Europeans and venturesome Americans willing to subject themselves to a bruised utopia.

    Oct 2, 2009 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…
  • A mildly engaging documentary that's occasionally insightful, but not quite thorough and illuminating enough to make a truly strong impression.

    Oct 2, 2009 | Rating: 6.1/10 | Full Review…
  • An impressionistic look at The Americans, Robert Frank's groundbreaking book of photographs, including interviews with some of the figures involved.

    Sep 29, 2009 | Full Review…
  • American Journey works only sporadically as a supplement to the cultural moment it chronicles, and the passionate, serendipitously intimate breadth of Frank's lens.

    Sep 28, 2009 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

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