Back in 1978, Manhattan artist Hugues de Montalembert was the
victim of a break-in that went horribly awry. Two thugs entered his
apartment near Washington Square. Although he had little money,
de Montalembert decided to fight back. As he was hitting one of the
thieves, the other pulled a container of liquid out of his pocket and
tossed it at de Montalembert's face. It turned out to be paint thinner
and the result was that the artist lost his sight.
Now if one were to make a documentary about what happened
and its aftermath, there are any number of ways the director could
approach the material. Gary Tarn, whose background is in music,
has selected an intriguing manner in BLACK SUN, which already
has enjoyed success on the festival circuit. With narration written and
spoken by de Montalembert, Tarn has shot the film as if from the painter's
point of view. It begins in sharp, clear focus and gradually the images
become distorted and blurred.
Tarn's imagery mixed with de Montalembert's matter-of-fact
descriptions of the attack and his recovery work quite well. What
is perhaps even more amazing, though, is that the artist refused
to allow his lack of sight to curtail his life. He has traveled and lived
abroad, including a period in Indonesia during which he wrote a
book about his experiences -- in longhand!
De Montalembert's achievements are inspiring and Tarn,
who also composed the score, has found a terrific filmic correlation.
I'm not certain this documentary will be for everyone, but it does
present a compelling tale in an unusual manner.
MPAA Rating: None
Running time: 75 mins.
|© 2006 by C. E. Murphy. All Rights Reserved.