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COMING SOON
FILM OPENS: July 21, 2017

  1. Official Website
  2. Trailer

THE B-SIDE begins with Dorfman’s personal narrative of her struggle to find an identity as a young woman coming of age in the 1960s. When a colleague presented her with a Hasselblad camera on a whim, Dorfman quickly declared, "I’m a photographer!" Armed with her new camera, she began to photograph her friends at the Grolier Book Shop in Harvard Square—including such writers and luminaries as Allen Ginsberg, Robert Creeley, Robert Lowell, and Charles Olson.

But it wasn’t until 1980 that Dorfman found her ultimate medium: a rare large-format camera devised by the Polaroid Corporation. The instant photographs it produced were enormous—20 inches wide and 24 inches tall—with saturated colors and unparalleled detail. Dorfman was bewitched by the scale and clarity of this magical camera. THE B-SIDE traces Dorfman’s love affair with the 20x24, while also presenting the wide range of formats Dorfman’s portraits and self-portraits haven taken over the years—from early 2-¼" negatives to prints produced by Polaroid’s even larger-format 40x80 instant camera.

THE B-SIDE: ELSA DORFMAN'S PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY 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. As photographs begin to fade and Dorfman’s retirement looms, Morris’s film reminds us of a bygone era of analog photography and the extraordinary life of one of its champions.

  • Director: Errol Morris
  • Country: USA
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Year: 2017
  • Run Time: 01:16:00
  • imdb Score: 6.3/10 (49 votes)
  • Language: English
  • Rating: R
  • Cast: Elsa Dorfman
"A fine-grained (no photography pun intended) look at the way that the development of an artist's style is usually intertwined with the technology and materials that she chooses to embrace."
Matt Zoller Seitz - ROGEREBERT.COM

"You can almost sense Morris smiling off-camera as she pulls each exposure from her file drawers for reminiscing and newfound scrutiny - that's how strong and warm his admiration is for Dorfman and the humble richness of her work."
Robert Abele - LOS ANGELES TIMES

"THE B-SIDE tells the story of portrait photographer Elsa Dorfman, who for over three decades has created memorable work with the Polaroid Land 20×24 camera, snapping everybody from families, Beat poets, rock stars, and Harvard notables in her Cambridge, Massachusetts studio."
Eward Davis - THE PLAYLIST

FESTIVALS

Hong Kong Int'l Film Festival 2017

Toronto Int'l Film Festival 2016

Chicago Int'l Film Festival 2016

New York Film Festival 2016

IDFA Festival 2016