09 September 2011


Directed by: Alex Kalman, Josh Safdie and Ben Safdie

In the Safdies' previous features, The Pleasure of Being Robbed and Daddy Longlegs, the brothers depicted Manhattan with detail as rich as an early Law & Order episode—not just its gritty streetscapes and local "characters" but also its marginal ephemera, on which they let their cameras linger: classic New York moments with hobos, hoods and hot dog vendors. The Safdies' mastery of these authentic-seeming asides comes from years of real-life wanderings through the city's fringes, with eyes and ears open—and camera at the ready.

Buttons is a two-part compilation of seconds-long "found films"by the brothers and their longtime friend Alex Kalman, shot on pocket cameras over nine years of Bloomberg mayoralty. They're the kind of arbitrarily captured moments of people-just-being-people you might stumble across on YouTube, here stitched together with brightly colored title cards (Private Idaho style).

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