Rudy Burckhardt Films: 1936-1999

A three DVD boxed set of Rudy Burckhardt's films has recently been released by Microcinema (the web page has a detailed summary of each film).

Burckhardt is well known for his cityscape photographs and what's best in the films is an extension of what is great in the photos: the street signage, the criss-crossing motion of people walking in the street, the buzz and hum of the sidewalk. The DVD collection also includes a selection of Burckhardt's zany narrative films, starring Edwin Denby, John Ashbery,  Mimi Gross, Alex Katz, Neil Welliver, Larry Rivers, Jane Freilicher, Paul Bowles, Aaron Copland, John Latouche, Fairfield Porter, Anne Waldman, Virgil Thomson, Yoshiko Chuma, Grazia Della-Terza, Douglas Dunn, Harry Sheppard, and Red Grooms, among others, and music or texts by Joe Brainard, Kenneth Koch, Frank O'Hara, and Ashbery.

Jacob Burckhardt did a great job putting this DVD set together. 

John Ashbery in Mounting Tension (1950)

Mimi Gross from Lurk (1964)
Mimi Gross writes me: Rudy was always sorry he cut out the scene with me in the lake wearing a long and wet dress when I became "ophelia-esque" totally "out of my mind" I don't know why he cut it out. a great anecdote is the night when Rudy had cut the film and showed it to Edwin, Red, me (to see it) and Frank O'Hara for music suggestions; after watching it, Frank O'Hara listed the music, scene by scene, from memory...and that is exactly what Rudy used, adding to the "melodrama."

Edwin Denby from Lurk (1964)

And while on this subject, just to mention Burckhardt's wonderful Mobile Homes (Z Press, 1979), photos with extended and hilarious captions, worthy of Joe Brainnard, though far more sardonic.

More on Burckhardt -- read Vincent Katz's bio.

Rudy Burckhardt is represented by the marvellous Tibor de Nagy gallery.