Over the years, I’ve noticed a trend at the Pickford; they really love documentaries about sassy, combative elderly New York men. Extra points in desirability if they are somehow beatniks, hippies, or involved in the creative industry at an urban center anytime in the latter half of the 20th century.
Don’t Blink - Robert Frank follows the typical model of all documentaries about the aging icons of modern art; yes, they’re old now, adorable in their reclusiveness.. But did you know they used to have such an attitude? Did you know they faced a lot of controversies all along the way? Thankfully this documentary omitted bringing up any image shattering revelations of psychosis, infidelity or abuse that seems to plague so many 20th century creatives, or at least I’m inclined to believe from seeing so many documentaries to that effect.
No, Don’t Blink was just an upbeat, aggressive biography on one of 20th century America’s most important creatives. I walked away from the film with a deeper understanding of Frank’s career and life, one I would have never grasped simply by looking at The Americans.
Frank’s musings on his career throughout the film, advice to photographers, thoughts on life constantly contradict themselves. Often switching effortlessly between teasing the film crew, raging about inadequacies of life, and waxing philosophical on the joys of happenstance; Frank’s portrayal of himself throughout the film paints a picture of an eccentric that can’t be pinned down.
Yet, in the closing scenes of the film Frank offers the titular advice: Don’t Blink and his theory on life is clear. Frank’s opinion that one shouldn’t blink, is evident in his career. A creative should always pursue their visions with an unsettling attentiveness. To be successful, you need to have a type of energy that is completely unfaltering. You can’t blink, you can’t stop you have to carry a passion and confidence with you to see your designs and mission through.
This struck me as especially significant, yesterday at the tail end of a day(s) of near manic attentiveness, energy and stress, a day where I felt like I as I start out on my BFA year and look forward to what kind of work I’ll ever do this year and beyond.