Review: In ‘Leaving Home, Coming Home,’ Robert Frank Recounts His Career

In 2004, the British television arts program “The South Bank Show” aired a roughly hourlong version of “Leaving Home, Coming Home: A Portrait of Robert Frank.” In the film, directed by Gerald Fox, the then-80-year-old photographer and filmmaker Frank strolls around a New York City he fears he will soon not be able to afford to live in, and also talks about his life in a remote house in Nova Scotia.

Both places also are home to Frank’s wife, the painter June Leaf, and at various points in the picture, which was cut into a full-length feature that is only just now getting a New York theatrical run, Frank emphasizes that while the two create discrete work, they should be considered equals as artists.

When discussing the creation of such still-highly-regarded works like the photo series “The Americans” and the beatnik film “Pull My Daisy,” Frank is both modest and definite about what he was hoping to capture. He talks a lot about loneliness as his subject, and denies the notion that the photos in “The Americans” were intended as caricature.

Sometimes Frank can be tetchy. When the crew filming him has to pause because of a technical glitch, he loses his train of thought and complains. “I can’t go through this.”

This material covers a good deal of the same ground as the 2016 documentary on Frank, “Don’t Blink.” Both films give a strong “lion in winter” sense and are moving in their treatments of the tragedies of Frank’s life.

If you’ve seen “Don’t Blink,” you may ask whether you “need” to see this. I’d say yes. “More light,” as Goethe put it.

Leaving Home, Coming Home: A Portrait of Robert Frank

Not rated. Running time: 1 hour 25 minutes.

An earlier version of this review misstated the location of Robert Frank's remote house. It is in Nova Scotia, not Maine.

Leaving Home, Coming Home: A Portrait of Robert Frank

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