Pulsating colours, flash frames, scratches, burning film, rephotography and audio permutations. Paul Sharits is to film what the likes of Pollock and Rothko are to painting. Their work may leave you indifferent but there is no denying the uniqueness. After studying visual design at Denver University in the early 1960s, Sharits became fascinated by 16mm film and the 24 frames passing in front of a projector’s bulb. He wanted to explore the space that exists between the viewer and the screen. However, although he received acclaim for films like Ray Gun Virus and T,O,U,C,H,I,N,G, he never received financial success nor the recognition he deserved and died broke under mysterious circumstances in 1993. He was a troubled character, plagued by the suicides of those close to him and a bipolar disorder. His films resonate with the violence of his illness. Experimental filmmaker Francois Miron (The Evil Surprise, The 4th Life, Resolving Power) has crafted a fascinating documentary on the man, interviewing family members, colleagues and Avant-Garde Art specialists, delving into never-before-seen material from art museum archives and from personal collections. In his own unique style, Miron has made a film that effortlessly segues from Sharits’ films to interviews in a riot of flickering, psychedelic colour, using jumps cuts multiple screens and loops to tell the story of the man and his work. More than a documentary, it is an experimental film in the image of Sharits’ work, and takes the viewer on an impressionistic journey into his mind to explain where the ideas came from and how they influenced a generation of filmmakers and forever changed Art History.
Awards and mentions
Festival International du Livre d'Art et du Film - FILAF
Robert A. Haller
Black and white