- Alexander Kennedy
- 18 September 2006
French artist, documentary filmmaker and author Hugues de Montalembert describes his life after he was attacked in his apartment in New York and blinded with paint stripper. This is less the story of an artist coming to terms with his blindness (and all the therapeutic value that would have for Montalembert), and more about how a person can come terms with life, with being the weight of Being. ‘A sense of life is life,’ he tells us. ‘Eternity is now.’
As editor, director, producer, cinematographer and music producer of the film, Gary Tarn comes across as a self-styled auteur. Self-indulgence isn’t a crime, but sentimentality should be. The visuals that accompany the film give a shaky, washed out version of what blindness is like (an acid trip on a motorway in the dark, it seems), but the occasional shot transcends the obvious reliance on cheap effects. Indonesian memories become high contrast fauvist visions; the thought of committing suicide in New York becomes a Warholian screen print, with figures and colour being dragged across the screen. These glimpses of transcendence aside, Tarn can only attempt to describe what Montalembert truly sees.