Sunday, June 19, 2011

Cult of the Kuchars: Mike Kuchar Selects: Empty Canvas Damiano Damiani (Italy, 1963)

Co-presented with Pacific Film Archive

Pacific Film Archive

(La Noia). Damiano Damiani’s psychological exploration, based on a novel by Alberto Moravia and presented here in its U.S. release version, centers on a tortured young painter whose empty heart is echoed by his blank canvas. Declaring there is nothing worth painting, he also finds he is incapable of feeling as he falls into an affair with a young radiant beauty. His mother, a bitchy Bette Davis, only complicates matters with her obsession with money. While Time magazine noted on its release, “Stretched too far to be believable, Canvas is the kind of overdrawn foolishness that frequently proves diverting,” Mike Kuchar’s reassessment found, “These kinds of pictures I don’t forget because they take you with twists-and-turns to places in human nature that are dangerous and full of traps. And The Empty Canvas does this with technical grace and with a probing sophistication.”

Written by Damiani, Tonino Guerra, Ugo Liberatore from the novel by Alberto Moravia. With Horst Buchholz, Catherine Spaak, Bette Davis, Isa Miranda. (118 mins, B&W, 16mm, PFA Collection)

Preceded by shorts: Tryst (Mike Kuchar, U.S., 1998) A brief and breezy picture poem inspired by painted lips. -Mike Kuchar. (7 mins, Color, Beta SP, From Video Data Bank)

Dumped (Mike Kuchar, U.S., 2009). Stage actress Dierdre McGill collaborates with Kuchar to tell her story of rejection. (10 mins, Color, Beta SP, From Video Data Bank)