Description by RE:VOIR :
A crucial figure in 1960s-70s avant-garde film, Paul Sharits was a pioneer of structuralist cinema, an approach to filmmaking that emphasizes and explores the formal dimensions and physical properties specific to the medium. A deeply committed and visionary artist, Sharits began exploring the potential of the single frame and the flicker effect in the mid-1960s, and continued to make many films that took as their subject the filmstrip itself. Long celebrated among avant-garde filmmakers and scholars, he has also recently been embraced by art museums and galleries for his innovation in reworking 16mm films into multiple projection installations, filmstrips mounted between Plexiglas sheets, and ink colored partitions for abstract films.
The first feature-length documentary about Sharits, François Miron’s film is both a perceptive exploration of his oeuvre by a filmmaker who has studied Sharits’ work in depth, and a revealing account of his often troubled life. Featuring interviews and footage of Sharits along with new interviews with other filmmakers, scholars and family members, the documentary sketches a portrait of a tormented, deeply romantic artist, always courting disaster but also cursed by an inherited mental condition. PAUL SHARITS is both a terrific introduction to Sharits’ life and work, and, for those with a longstanding interest in the filmmaker, a treasure trove of rare footage, illuminating commentary and archival materials.
with: Paul Sharits, Christopher Sharits, Henry Jesionka, Bruce Elder, Howard Guttenplan, Robert A. Haller, Tony Conrad, Stuart Liebman, Annette Michelson, Woody Vasulka, Stephen Gallagher, Pip Chodorov, Steina Vasulka, Gerald O’Grady, Chrissie Iles, Andrew Lampert, MM Serra, Richard Kerr, Bill Brand, Cheri Sharits and others.
Description by DOKU ART Berlin :
“Destroy, destroy”, chants the voice-over in Sharits' flicker film T,O,U,C,H,I,N,G that opens François Miron's film essay about avant-garde filmmaker Paul Sharits in a powerful way. But beyond autodestruction, a kind of painful beauty is conveyed, the leitmotif in Miron's intelligent linking of Sharits' life and work.
It is to Miron's credit that he manages to free one of the central protagonists of Expanded Cinema from the stigma of overly cerebral niche art. Miron's film allows us rather to rediscover Sharits as a groundbreaking visual researcher of the fundamental, whose work springs from his own endangered life, out of a deep desire for beauty, meaning and order.
For many of those whom Miron invites to have a say, Sharits' universe was a quasi-religious revelation made of light, colour and texture. Miron enables this experience and opens up fascinating insights into Sharits' “film workshop”. With the possibilities of digital image design, he renders visible the ideas behind the films and the process of their physical implementation. The abundance of drawings, plans, sketches and notes that Miron could draw upon thereby becomes attributed to the same expression of Sharits' artistic strategies that put him into a larger art-historical context beyond the Structural film. Miron shows the connections to Pop Art, Minimalism, Fluxus – but also to Russian and European avant-garde of the early 20th century.