Scenes from America

Monday, August 18, 2014 - 7:30 pm



Programmed by Michèle Smith

For his 1982 travelogue 66 Scenes from America, Jørgen Leth recorded a more-or-less random cross-section of the country’s people and places in postcard-like tableaux — most famously a four-minute homage to Andy Warhol’s screen tests, in which the pop artist wordlessly eats a Whopper. The Stars-and-Stripes fluttering across these archetypal images evoke The Americans, Robert Frank’s iconic mid-century photo essay. Frank’s own C’est Vrai/One Hour, his nearly unknown late masterpiece, is a perverse buddy movie shot in a single take and a single hour on July 26, 1990, during which the camera moves from Frank’s Manhattan studio onto the street and into the back of a minivan that careens around the neighbourhood, now and then stopping to jump out and capture a bit of action: candid, staged, improvised — it can be hard to tell. “C’est Vrai is a one-of-a-kind stunt, both street theatre and an urban road movie” (J. Hoberman). “How much this is a tossed-off home movie about Frank’s neighbourhood and how much it’s a contrived board game spread out over several city blocks ultimately becomes a metaphysical question” (Jonathan Rosenbaum).
66 Scenes from America (66 scener fra Amerika) | Jørgen Leth/Denmark 1982. 42 min.
C’est Vrai/One Hour | Robert Frank/France 1990. 60 min.
Image: Andy Warhol in Jørgen Leth's 66 Scenes from America. 1982