The internationally renowned photographer’s film foray includes “iJay,” a video/photographic account of Hurricane Irene’s impact on his neighbors and the landscape; “Eisen,” an intimate glimpse of Farb’s exploration for his birth father and his father’s suicide; and “Karaoke at Sea with Roger Ebert,” which features the late Ebert rapping “Union Maid” on a luxury cruise. Farb created the short in collaboration with cinematographer/director Haskell Wexler.
Hurricane Irene didn’t touch Farb’s Jay residence, but for his neighbors, it was a different story. He celebrates their grit and resilience that led to next-day recovery efforts.
“The other thing I was interested in is what happened high in the mountains. The Jay Range got hit the worst. You have a few square miles of area and 12 to 15 inches of rain with absolutely no place to go. You have it taking the soil and everything straight down to glacial time. Time was exposed that hadn’t seen the light of day in 10,000 to 12,000 years,” Farb said.
He was a photographer of the historical record and lucky to witness such a cataclysmic event.
In “Eisen,” Farb sought to break Jewish stereotypes by airing his familial history, which includes infanticide and police cover-ups. His friend, the artist/Keene Valley resident Frank Owen remarked: “I never knew there was Jewish trailer trash.”
“That’s my people,” Farb said. “I love the language they speak. It’s so beautiful. It’s so truthful. The language we speak is meant to cover up what we’re really feeling. It’s not a terribly coherent film. You just have to relax and not make too much sense of it. It’s like a foreign film. Just relax. You’ll get it.”
“Karaoke at Sea with Roger Ebert” offers an unimaginable glimpse of the great film critic.