LOS ANGELES — “American Mirror — Intimations of Immortality,” directed by Arthur Balder and produced by David Shara, received the top prize at the Documentary Film Festival of Los Angeles (DOCLA), presented by the Parajanov-Vartanov Film Institute, recently.
The film garnered four awards: Best Innovative Film, Best Cinematography, Best Composer (Mark Petrie) and the top prize, Parajanov-Vartanov Institute Award for Susan Sarandon. Previous recipients of the award are Emma Thompson and Martin Scorsese, and Jean Vigo.
Other cast members are Florence Faivre, Tigran Tsitoghdzyan, Ashley Hinshaw and Hillary Rhoda.
“American Mirror” features Oscar-winner Sarandon and Armenian painter Tigran Tsitoghdzyan as he limns her portrait during a sitting session, while actress Florence Faivre plays the intriguing role of the ever-present though unattainable artist’s muse.
With this film director Balder sets in motion his theory on poetics of cinematic art, by re-creating sense memories of an artist in a non-linear, challenging story-telling scheme. “Intimations of Immortality” is a reference taken from the famous ode by British Romantic poet William Wordsworth, “Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood.” For Wordsworth, poetry was all about the memories we have. The reconstruction of deep thought-processes, which we can call memories but also omens and other sort of ‘visions’, imagery occurring in the mind’s eye of the subject, entirely subjective since their inception, are the intriguing matter of the picture.
The film, straddling the frontier between documentary and fiction, reveals how Tigran, a highly dedicated craftsman, tries to bring the ancient spirit of the old masters into a unique post-modern hyperrealism deeply interwoven with New York’s culture and social landscape. Shot over the period of three years, the film takes us on a rare, thought-provoking, reality-and-fiction setting to reveal how one of the most striking artists in recent art history climbs up the art-world ranks on the winding journey to success and recognition. The presence of legendary art critic Donald Kuspit resonates as the voice of a deus ex machina speaking from a remote, virtual museum in the 19th Century.