The B-Side: Elsa Dorfman’s Portrait Photography premiered in theatres last week, and critics and audiences alike have showered the film with glowing reviews.
In the documentary, Errol Morris follows American portrait photographer Elsa Dorfman, who famously captured the likes of Allen Ginsberg, Robert Creeley, Gary Snyder, Bob Dylan, and much of the Beat generation in in 20×24 polaroid film. Morris sat with Dorfman in her studio and darkroom, interviewing her at length on her lifetime of experiences behind the lens and beyond, and how her work has bled into her life and vice versa.
Richard Brody of The New Yorker hailed the film, citing “In ‘The B-Side,’ Morris creates a magnificent tribute to the art and technology of photography itself, that technique which hands a ready-made art form to people who are artists in every way save a natural aptitude for a hands-on craft.”
Robert Abele of the Los Angeles Times begins his review, “large pictures, small joys and an archive’s radiance are the building blocks for the charm offensive that is ‘The B-Side: Elsa Dorfman’s Portrait Photography,’ Errol Morris’ winning documentary about his unsung artist friend” and goes on to note that “you can almost sense Morris smiling off-camera as she pulls each exposure from her file drawers for reminiscing and newfound scrutiny.”
In Glenn Kenny’s review for The New York Times, he touches on the uniquely personal touch that Errol Morris has taken in crafting this documentary: “Part of Mr. Morris’s reputation as a great documentary filmmaker is derived from his friendly-seeming but pressing interview technique, but here, when he’s heard, he speaks to Ms. Dorfman as a friend, and she responds to him with warm reminiscences of her beginnings as a photographer.”
The B-Side is currently playing in select theatres.