Release date:January 13, 2006
Starring:Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Delpire, Elliot Erwitt, Isabelle Huppert, Arthur Miller, Josef Koudelka, Ferdinando Scianna
Capturing both the materiality and the ephemeral nature of photography, this unexpectedly revealing documentary weaves together an interview with Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004) with discussions of his photographs. No matter how well you think you know these famous images you will discover them anew on the big screen. While friends and colleagues, including playwright Arthur Miller, actress Isabelle Huppert and photographer Ferdinando Scianna, flip through the many books reproducing his work, the elderly Cartier-Bresson leafs through the prints themselves and also takes us into his collection of sketches and collages. When Cartier-Bresson died earlier this year he was mourned as the "father of photojournalism" and one of the greatest photographers ever. He believed in seizing the decisive moment and editing in camera, and this documentary forcefully reminds us that his snapshots were consistently stunning compositions. Director Heinz Bütler focuses primarily on his work from the 40s to the 60s, a period when he was witness to key international events like the liberation of Paris and the death of Gandhi. The discussion also includes considerations of his revealing portraits of a wide range of icons and celebrities, from Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller to Henri Matisse. Cartier-Bresson was known to be shy and avoid the camera himself, but Bütler succeeds with his documentary in constructing a vivid and intimate portrait, while illustrating why the peripatetic photographer was such a supremely accomplished artist.