Candy Mountain, a low-budget independent feature from the mid-1980s that Robert Frank co-directed, easily ranks among his most significant filmmaking achievements. It’s a deeply personal work etched with social commentary that drives home just how much, in the wake of The Americans, Frank strove to distance himself from that career-defining body of work. It’s also his most mainstream project, and one that he ultimately deemed a failure.
A semi-forgotten gem that MoMA cites as the first American avant-garde film, Manhatta was co-directed by Paul Strand, one of the most influential photographers of the early 20th Century. His co-director was the highly accomplished Charles Sheeler, a classically trained painter and self-taught photographer who came up with the initial concept for the film.