"What makes American
Pictures so disturbingly powerful is the cumulative effects of Holdt's
photographs combined with his outsider's analysis of the dynamics of poverty
and oppression in the U.S."
American Pictures is worse than any horror film - an unsettling mixture
of "The Lower Depths," "On the Road" and the "Book
"The show is guaranteed
to assault the sensibilities of most Americans. However aware they may
be about poverty in the U.S., few will be prepared to see the level of
squalor, fear, and violence that Holdt's pictures reveal as an everyday
reality for a sizable minority of Americans."
stunning...... haunting......awe-inspiring. Holdt's analysis of the structures
of racism in America is so powerful as to "strain credibility,"
but his photographs validate his words, "sweeping us up in the process."
There is a vividness, a compassion and caring for the individual rarely
found among social scientists and journalists. A Hollywood producer could
popularize Holdt's story, and, with a big-name star, make it into an instant
will haunt you for days after seeing it. It will possess you emotionally
and intellectually. Everyone should see it, everyone who cares about the
condition of America and Americans.
stunning - a comprehensive story of America's racial scene, at once powerful
and disturbing. The length of this film only serves to strengthen the
far-reaching portrayal of its subject -- poverty in America, its pathos
and humor, its irony, its immense impact on the national psyche.... an
unusual, powerful document."
"To put on the
shelf next to Let Us Now Praise Famous Men by Agee and Evans."
clout of this documentary rests on the adaptability of still photography
to the illustration of contrast. It clues the viewer to a more subtle
level of contrast: as well: as the psychological and cultural differences
that separate the oppressed from the oppressors."
- a series of postcards from hell......embodying the qualities of Rimbaud,
Kerouac, and Kierkegaard - is a bizarre, disturbing work whose graphic
intensity makes Robert Frank's once-suppressed photos of the thirties
(The Americans) seem like images of an upper-class tea party."
is one of the most incredible chronicles of the modern age you are ever
likely to see... beyond a doubt the most devastating and uncompromising
indictment of discrimination I have ever encountered."
"It is a horrifying,
at times touching, portrait of the underclass as well as a journal of
his own emotional odyssey."
"What I saw with
Jacob astounded me. I saw communities that had been excluded from society
for generations. They were sinking deeper and deeper into poverty and
hopelessness under the weight of structural racism."
"Not since Jacob
Riis' book of social criticism "How the Other Half lives" has
the been as powerful a record of American living as American Pictures.
Its presentation at the Cannes Film Festival created a sensation."
Selected as Outstanding Film
of the Year by the London Film Festival and for special presentation in
the Smithsonian Institution in Wash. D.C.
Copyright © 1997 AMERICAN PICTURES; All rights reserved.