Directed by Gary Tarn and produced by Alfonso Cuaron (Y Tu Mama Tambien), Black Sun is a documentary about Hugues de Montalembert. He was an artist who was mugged one night, and as he was fending off his attackers he was sprayed in the face with some paint remover. In an instant, his life was changed and a man who had made his living seeing things was now forced to adjust to a completely different lifestyle. This film chronicles how he altered his perceptions and his ways of both thinking and seeing so that he could still work within the medium he loved. This is a highly inspirational if not somewhat difficult film.
Why is it difficult you ask? Do we as viewers see things that make us uncomfortable? Is it filled with one tragic calamity after the other?
To these questions I would say no. The biggest problem I had with the movie is that it presents it's story in a series of images, with a bunch of narration by Montalembert laid over it. The only problem is that we're not talking about The Kid Stays in the Picture, where producer Robert Evans talked us through his story with still pictures and film clips that were a part of what he's saying. We're talking about images on the level of something Stan Brakhage might put together. Montalembert recounts his life, his experiences, how he dealt with suddenly losing his sight, but I think at almost 70 minutes this film is a tad too long for that.
Montalembert's story is uplifting to say the least. The fact that he was able to deal with what happened to him with such eagerness, that he never let it stop him from being the person he was or wanted to be, does make for a very compelling film. I just found that the narration and the images (a lot of which don't really follow what Montalembert is saying, they are just presented with a lot of post production effects) didn't engage me as much as I thought they would. I understand what Gary Tarn was trying to do, he was placing us in the character's world, showing us the film how Montalembert himself might see it. The only problem is that I don't see the world that way, and after awhile I realized I was having a hard time paying attention to what was being shown to me. As a result, I actually found myself becoming detached during this film.
Black Sun is by no means a bad movie, I just think it should have used it's storytelling style a lot more sparingly.
Black Sun airs Wednesday, February 28 at 7pm ET on Cinemax.