The FAM: The Confessions Of Robert Crumb

Weirdness and misogyny this week on The FAM as we present 1987’s The Confessions of Robert Crumb produced by the BBC (which includes the wonderful Arena opening and song. Seriously, I love that intro.) Unlike 1994’s Crumb by Terry Zwigoff (which is seeing a Criterion release this August) Confessions is less concerned with Crumb’s bizarre family and more concerned with the man himself. In that regard it spends much of its time letting Crumb explore and contemplate his objectification of women and self-loathing, preferring to be a catalog of the man’s various fetishes, to merely witness a day in the life of a dirty old man.

Both documentaries illustrate how difficult it can be to separate the artist from their art. A great fan of his work I can’t help but cringe as Crumb displays his current wife to the camera, showing off her musculature as if he were trying to sell the viewer a horse. It is, perhaps, admirable that one would be able to be so honest with the world, willing to expose one’s Id to whoever passes by, and it has certainly worked out well for Robert Crumb. I just can’t help but think that those images made living, breathing flesh are not nearly as entertaining when not on the printed page.

3 Responses to “The FAM: The Confessions Of Robert Crumb”

  1. Nadya Says:

    I just finally saw Zwigoff’s Crumb last night. This was a great follow-up! Thanks for posting. I’m always happy to learn of the weirdos that come out of Philly… David Lynch, The Brothers Quay, and Crumb! Philly-to-SF, like me. This was a really well-edited documentary. I loved the shot of him looking in on the dance class, the one of him sitting in the empty courthouse, and the one of him trying to insert a dollar over and over again into the BART ticket machine. Just little moments like that make it fun to watch. I am a fan of his work – feeling conflicted about that with a lot of critiques I’ve read, but can’t deny that I like it a lot. Watching these two documentaries, though, I wondered what it was like to grow up with him as a dad. Sophie Crumb hasn’t talked about it very much in interviews. She recently started a blog:

  2. Paul Komoda Says:

    This is the first time I’d seen this, so thank you for posting!.
    Fucking love Crumb!
    When I was attending the School of Visual Arts in NY, he came in to speak in Harvey Kurtzman’s cartooning class. That same week,If I remember correctly, he gave a slideshow presentation on his life and work.
    Back in the mid-80’s, aspiring comic artists, like myself( yes, that era is a world away ) lived under the influence of a handful of individuals including Liberatore, Moebius, and R. Crumb.
    I’d be curious to know which artists are having that level of inspiration “these days”.

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