François Miron’s appreciation of the avant-garde filmmaker made its bow at Rotterdam last year. Since then, it has screened at Jeonju, Japan’s Image Forum, San Francisco Doc Fest, Jerusalem, Montreal’s Festival du Nouveau Cinéma, Viennale, Manchester, and Rendezvous With Madness, among other events.
A widely-respected pioneer of structuralist film, Paul Sharits made experimental work from the mid-1960s until his strange death in 1993. A visual artist who became fascinated by 16mm film and the flicker effect of projection, he produced touchstone films like T,O,U,C,H,I,NG, (1969) and later further deconstructed conventional film to create innovative new forms of expression that presaged gallery and museum installation work. Miron, a filmmaker and scholar, incorporates interviews, archival footage, and samples of Sharits’ work to give the artist his due here. While likely best appreciated by those already familiar with the innovator’s body of work, Miron’s film provides ample background and context, including a consideration of the impact of Sharits’ bipolar disorder, to provide a primer for the uninitiated that may very well spur them on to seek out more of his influential films.