THE B-SIDE: ELSA DORFMAN'S PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY
Showings
The Screening RoomFri, Jul 21 6:00 PM Event Date Passed
 
The Screening RoomFri, Jul 21 8:30 PM Event Date Passed
 
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The Screening RoomSat, Jul 22 6:00 PM Event Date Passed
 
The Screening RoomSat, Jul 22 8:30 PM Event Date Passed
 
The Screening RoomSun, Jul 23 1:00 PM Event Date Passed
 
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The Screening RoomSun, Jul 23 6:00 PM Event Date Passed
 
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Series Info
Series:New Release Films
Film Info
Rating:R
Runtime:76 mins.
Director:Errol Morris
Year Released:2017
Production Country:USA
Language:English
Description

"A warm and hugely entertaining documentary." -Benjamin Lee, The Guardian

"A gentle-hearted gem, as profoundly subtle as it is subtly profound." -Andrew Barker, Variety

"The depth of her art reflects a life richly lived, as does the wisdom of her epigrammatic musings." -Richard Brody, The New Yorker

In THE B-SIDE, acclaimed filmmaker Errol Morris offers an intimate, insightful look at the life and work of portrait photographer Elsa Dorfman.

Dorfman found her medium in 1980: the larger-than-life Polaroid Land 20x24 camera. For the next 35 years she captured the "surfaces" of those who visited her Cambridge, Massachusetts studio: families, Beat poets, rock stars, and Harvard notables. As pictures begin to fade and her retirement looms, Dorfman gives Morris an inside tour of her archive.

Dorfman pulls out portraits one by one and holds them up for Morris—for the first time in recent years without his trademark Interrotron. The result is a surreal show-and-tell, as Dorfman shares the stories behind her photographs and her spontaneous musings on life. "I think one thing about having all the pictures," she says, "is you sort of search for the narrative. But there probably is no narrative. It’s just what happened. It doesn’t go by a script."

Dorfman’s approach to portraits—large or small—is simple. She doesn’t want to plumb the depths of her subject's souls or "to take more than they're willing to give." Instead, she and her camera celebrate the people who step into her studio—their surface appearances, personalities, idiosyncrasies, and everyday triumphs. "Life," Dorfman says, "is hard enough. You don’t need to walk around with a picture of it."

THE B-SIDE is a loving portrait of a unique artist too often overlooked in considerations of 20th century photography. It revels in the intimate beauty of Dorfman's portraits and in her singular appreciation for the ordinary aspects of human life. The film reminds us of a bygone era of analog photography and the extraordinary life of one of its champions.

BONUS SHORT: Errol Morris's short film "The Umbrella Man" will precede screenings of "The B-Side."

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