I have a personal tendency to look at every little misfortune in my life as some sort of Shakespearean tragedy. If a girl rejects me or I have troubles with money or some other aspect of my otherwise bourgeois life seems unsatisfactory, I get in a terrible funk. Yet, for the most part, my life has been rather happy and devoid of any real tragedies, and I wouldn’t know (first-hand anyways), true personal heart-break if it came up to me and slapped me across the face. I would like to thank the absolutely fantastic (I’m determining that might be my favorite phrase on here) documentary Black Sun for helping me realize that. In the wake of the incredible true story of hope and determination in the wake of an untold horror, I feel a little bit better about my own life.
Black Sun is the story of French artist, Hugues de Montelembert, living in NYC who is the victim of a brutal mugging that leaves him totally blind. The film then charts the course he sets on in order to reclaim his life and independence. It is an incredibly interesting and inspiring at the look of one man with an indomitable will who is not willing to let tragedy define his existence. However, this might be a story you’ve heard before, and this documentary is taken a cut above the mold through the visually striking way in which it’s composed. There are no other words to describe the visuals of the film than to call it a visual poem. Director Gary Tarn does his best to create a sense of visual symmetry between the words, experiences, and emotions of Hugues and that of the visuals presented on screen that you, the audience, get to see. There aren’t any real scenes in this film and it is rather just the spoken words of Tarn with the visual poetry of Tarn. Through Hugues’s consistently thought-provoking insights and stories and the visuals of directory Gary Tarn, this film keeps its hooks in you the entire time despite defying most conventions of the documentary genre.
Really, everyone should watch this documentary. Although a word of warning is that it can be difficult on occasion to understand exactly what Hugues is saying. His French accent is quite thick and for lord knows what reason, the DVD didn’t come with any options to watch it with subtitles which would have been very much appreciated. The film is less than 80 minutes which is fantastic because not a single moment in this film is wasted. For anyone with the slightest interest in independent film making and artistic documentaries, this is a must watch.
Final Score: A-