Tarn utilises a variety of camera tricks and shooting styles, much of it tinted with the same yellow-green filter, and to a great degree of success. Even with the occasional disparity of image and sound, the focus is predominantly on de Montalembert’s life story and positive outlook, creating an enchanting, uplifting experience. One could however argue that it is a bit rich for a seeing filmmaker to present his own vision to corroborate with the voice of a blind filmmaker, and though it’s a respectful tribute, it works better as a showcase for Tarn’s talent. Occasionally it brings to mind Moacir Arte Bruta, a documentary following a poverty-stricken artist with physical disabilities, and the two together would make a touching double screening.
Tuesday, 17 November 2009
Directed by British newcomer Gary Tarn, Black Sun profiles New York resident Hugues de Montalembert, a painter and filmmaker who was blinded when two random attackers threw paint remover in his face. With great tenacity, de Montalembert refused to be restrained by his new disability, instead embracing this new challenge by travelling to Indonesia alone and writing a bestseller, an experience he is charmingly modest about. Throughout the film, the artist is heard not seen, his commentary forming a structure for Tarn’s own visual journey around the world. Every image colours and reconstructs de Montalembert’s descriptions in a fluid structure. We see traffic, buildings, the smiling faces of passersby. At one point, a simple framework of the New York streets appears in mimesis of de Montalembert’s spatial perceptivity.