The set jumps decades later to 1969, when Cartier-Bresson made the first of two 25-minute films for CBS's The American Experience. These color films show a fascinating cross-section of America, though again they are more episodic than narrative in nature.
A second disc highlights some of the many films made about Cartier-Bresson and his work. The Impassioned Eye (2003) is one of the last films made with the photographer's cooperation. The auteur leafs through his portfolio in his Paris apartment and tells stories about them to the cameraman; this is interspersed with various talking heads. You get Isabelle Huppert, the subject of one shooting; playwright Arthur Miller, who tells the story of Cartier-Bresson's portrait of Miller's then-wife Marilyn Monroe on the set of The Misfits; and fellow Magnum photographers Elliott Erwitt and Josef Koudelka. It's the kind of informative featurette you'd find as a DVD extra.
Of more interest, and possibly the best film in the entire set, is The Modern Adventure (1962). Unlike the 2003 documentary, where Cartier-Bresson is engaging with the video camera, here he is only seen in shadowy profile as he chats with the filmmakers. What makes this stand out is the rare opportunity to see Cartier-Bresson working the street, palming his Leica at his side like he was playing at card tricks and keeping it in waiting until the moment revealed itself. This disc may also contain the worst of the films in this set, Robert Delpire's overbearing "Flagrant Delits," a 12-minute collage that sets Cartier-Bresson's most famous photos to an avant-garde soundtrack that, while more lively than the polite classical music that makes the soundtrack to the 2003 film, does not suit the work at all.
Cartier-Bresson approached Jean Renoir in the 1930s after deciding to give up photography . Fans of the photographer, myself among them, may be glad he made these films, but will be even more grateful that he never gave up his Leica.