Bill Frisell: A Portrait

Directed by Emma Franz

Starring Bill Frisell

An intimate, behind-the-music portrait of one of the most unassuming yet influential creative artists of our time, guitarist Bill Frisell. Frisell said of the film, “It’s like the inside of my brain!”


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  • ★★★★ review by Marc on Letterboxd

    Bill is my hero. It’s delightful to see heaps of praise about an actual creative genius for a change. The doc itself is maybe a little shallow, but a ton of performance footage and face-time with Bill makes up for that.

  • ★★★½ review by spitballarmy on Letterboxd


    [streaming, Amazon Prime]

    Bill Frisell is a marvel. This documentary shows this by creating, however awkward, a balance between performance footage, talking head testimonials, and ample interview segments with the man himself. A couple of decades ago, I was given a bootleg CD recording of Bill talking about his work and life and was fascinated by it: he has a unique, quiet way of speaking - with unusual pauses in the middle of sentences or words, sometimes seeming surprised at hearing his spoken words, as if the guitar was his preferred method of communication, or a complete shift of direction before e v e n t u a l l y returning to the original topic at hand - much like his music, with its unpredictable harmonics that end up always making sense and bringing you back around to the starting point (like most of the best jazz). While watching this, I really enjoyed comparing the rhythms of his speech to his musical stylings, as they are both glimpses into his thought process. Recommended to Frisell fans and novices alike, and anyone who enjoys witnessing the creation of art on the fringes of the mainstream.

  • ★★★½ review by Timo on Letterboxd

    A very sweet portrait of an amazing guitarist with a lot of heart. I enjoyed spending time with Bill and his collection of guitars, which are not simply tools, but friends and extensions of his voice.

  • ★★★★ review by bradb on Letterboxd

    Bill Frisell reminds me of David Lynch. A lot of his work is too "out there" for my brain to comprehend, but I still admire him as an artist. And those recordings of Frisell's that I do get (most notably, Good Dog, Happy Man) are recordings I appreciate more with repeated listenings. This documentary is a great profile of Frisell, who seems genuinely humble despite his fame.

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