We continue our series about where film and visual art meet with Paul Sharits.
François Miron, Canada – USA 2015
ST: FR / 85′
Paul Sharits, UK 1972-73
ST: — / 12′
François Miron’s documentary on the experimental film artist Paul Sharits is, simply said, engrossing, captivating, stimulating, and innovative. In some respects Miron’s life parallels Sharits’, as he has had to battle his own personal demons for years, while maintaining the dedication and stamina necessary to completing films. Miron’s film Paul Sharits is in some respects a dedication to the ‘old’ way of making experimental cinema, a nostalgic trip for celluloid heads to see so many people interviewed in their work or home spaces littered with old school film paraphernalia: take up reels, projectors, optical printers, bottles of chemicals, film stock, bins, cameras, Steenbecks, a veritable ‘analog’ world.
T.O.U.C.H.I.N.G. is, for better or worse, a film that students find hard to forget (and for some, hard to sit through!). I can remember the many occasions where former students who reminisce about the course ask me to remind them of the title of that film about the “man with the scissors to his tongue”!
Miron’s film begins with T.O.U.C.H.I.N.G. and then cuts to Sharits making a comment that, through the edit, seems to be about T.O.U.C.H.I.N.G., but may very well not be: “Only someone who’s completely mad would go on doing THAT”. The words could very well be in reference to Miron himself, and his dedication to completing this labor of love. But it also expresses exactly what makes T.O.U.C.H.I.N.G., such a brilliant film: like many great artists, there is a ‘touch’ of madness in this film…. and if the goal of great art is to destroy that which came before, then….”destroy, destroy, destroy, stroy, stroy…”