Frank and Tillie Pour
Directed by: Matthew Ginsburg
Congratulations to Frank and the gang for being the first
acquired film at the Tribeca International Film Festival this
year! -Blunt Review
gritty, and not to be missed!
Uncle Frank's film brochure is so deceivingly sublime
that perhaps a less knowledgeable viewer would think it primitive;
it's simply an embroidered nametag with the film's namesake
stitched to a blue work shirt. While, in fact, it is brilliantly
apropos. See the man uncle Frank too at first appears to be
primitive and plain. Just a blue-collar "nobody."
Until his film maker nephew Matthew Ginsburg captures a bit
of uncle Frank's soul along with his exuberant charisma on his
handy cam and manages to expose about an hour and a half of
some of the most touching, intriguing frames seen in a documentary
followed his octogenarian uncle around filming Frank just being
Frank. Ah but thanks to Frank's vivacious passion for life,
and the little joys he points out that are all around us if
we just stop and pay attention, you'll be riveted to the screen.
Uncle Frank, aka Frank Pour, lives in Rome, New York with his
wife of 39 years, Tillie. He is turning 84 when we meet him.
His health is pretty good, his spirit full of piss n' vinegar.
Frank and Tillie worked at the same local company until it closed
down. Now their golden years are not filled with expensive Caribbean
cruises or include a swanky condo to warm the bones during winter.
As Frank's factory produced nametag hinted, these are regular
Americans, barely scraping by for all their years of loyalty
and there are more of them then we care to admit. Don't get
depressed though, that's not the point of this visceral peek
into truth...this wonderfully warm American snapshot.
Since retiring Frank's picked up playing a portable organ and
is using his self-taught piano stylings to entertain the "old
folks" at the local retirement homes. He brings a smile
and a tune to their lives. He plays the retirement circuit to
elderly fans that get giddy as schoolgirls as he tickles the
keys. These sad solemn places where we store the elders light
up when Frank and his organ stroll into the gathering area.
Dancing and general hootenanny fills the place. For a little
while troubles are forgotten, pains and aches subside as youthful
smiles return to the residents' faces of course some
of the folks just sleep through Frank's catchy tunes, but they
too, through the snoring and drooling, look a tad more content
for his being there. He's a local hero.
Frank reminds us of the simple things that please the soul;
the kind of stuff no amount of money could buy. Like how a sunny
day in the week means Frank and Tillie's tiny living room will
be kaleidoscopic with beautiful rainbows dancing around the
walls and ceilings
(a phenomenon produced from crystal knick-knacks the couple
has collected through their union). Or how a volunteer, like
musician Frank, is rewarded for their time with another person's
priceless smile and inestimable joy.
The documentary is so personal, we are even privy as uncle Frank
hears his continuing pains are indeed cancer. Of course he can
only think of what will become of dear aunt Tillie without him
"who'll look after the place for her? Mow the lawn?"
By this time we, the audience, felt as a part of Frank's family
as his nephew Matthew. We begin to squirm in our seats and feel
that uncomfortable tightening of the throat that anyone feels
when hearing bad news about someone particularly dear. Sniff...Snort!
Relax, Frank's not out of the ball game yet. He'll figure a
way around time and tide
. Though, his national retirement
home tour may have to be postponed.
In the end Uncle Frank is a real slice of life that reminds
the viewer to never neglect those subtle bits of joy all around
us. And, to stop and smell the two for a dollar hot dogs life
has to offer once and a while, 'cause next week they may be
a buck each. Enjoy!
Recommendation: Chipped beef on toast.