‘frances ha’ frame by frame
A new book breaks down Noah Baumbach’s classic movie into beautiful still images.
Noah Baumbach's Frances Ha (co-written by its star, Greta Gerwig) hit a little too close to home. And in the most striking way: eccentric and funny, yet understated. Shot entirely in black-and-white — in Tribeca, Chinatown and Washington Heights — it's the all-too-relatable story of a 27-year-old trying to hold on to her best friend, and her dream of becoming a professional dancer, as life and growing up happen. And somehow it feels like it captures our generation in one artful swoop. To preserve its lasting impression, a new book, designed and edited by Pascal Dangin (also known as the greatest fashion retoucher in the world), breaks down the movie frame-by-frame over 784 pages.
The film's contrasts — its French feel versus its New York character, its depiction of sadness but also of hope — are immortalized in 688 stills, one from each scene. Dangin's editing process freezes time for a story about just how unfrozen time is, breaking down every moment and examining each emotion. The result is a deep, thoughtful look at a deep, thoughtful film — and a celebration of Baumbach's filmmaking. Baumbach's movies (like The Squid and the Whale, Greenberg, and most recently, While We're Young) often seem to race by effortlessly because they feel so real. This book, though, makes you stop and really, well, feel things at every frame.
'Frances Ha, a Noah Baumbach Picture' launches in the US on May 26 through SteidlDangin.
Text Courtney Iseman
Photography courtesy Steidl