Directed by Gary Tarn
UK 2005


So through the eyes love attains the heart, for the eyes are scouts of the heart and the eyes go reconnoitring for what it would please the heart to possess…

It might have been written 800 years ago but this sensual declaration by troubadour Guiraut de Bornelh catches precisely the primary intentions of this remarkable new British film, an extraordinary essay on the epiphanies of looking. In 1978, French artist Hugues de Montalembert, enjoying great success in New York, was mugged in an acid attack and lost his sight. Astonishingly, within a matter of months, he was travelling alone to Indonesia, reversing all expected responses to an assault that, in a single corrosive moment, destroyed his profession and vocation, while threatening the foundations of his identity and humanity.

In a feature-length voiceover, the artist reveals the inevitable despair that initially ensued, but then moves into an emotionally and philosophically charged celebration of being alive in the phenomenal world. A remarkable statement of personal resistance, it is accompanied by a river of images, of cities and landscapes – the locations visited by de Montalembert – that deploy a lyrical but grounded visual language similar to that of work by Jonas Mekas, Peter Mettler and, most relevantly, Chris Marker, with ‘Sans Soleil’. But this project is no pastiche of influences. Entirely Gary Tarn’s film, ‘Black Sun’ never seeks easy illustration of its subject’s journey, physical or otherwise; rather, it catches the luminous materiality of the seen as a means to the most searching spiritual enquiry. A work for all places and times, for anyone who seeks fully to live, to engage, it is indeed essential viewing.

Excerpt from TimeOut Film London located HERE

Theatrical Release: September 12h, 2005 - Toronto Film Festival

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DVD Review: Second Run - Region 0 - PAL

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Distribution Second Run DVD - Region 0 - PAL
Runtime 1:09:45 
Video 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.4 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles None

Release Information:
Studio: Second Run

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1

Edition Details:

• none

DVD Release Date: November 12th, 2007

Transparent Keep Case
Chapters: 12



Wow!... this is an arthouse documentary about Hugues de Montalembert, a French artist who, in 1978, was mugged in New York City, which resulted in him being blinded for life. When I see stuff this extraordinary it humbles me in realizing how limited I am in all that there is to enjoy in the film medium. Just one of thousands of amazing film experiences that escaped my radar. Thankfully Second Run have brought this fascinating work to DVD. the image quality is impossible to critique and I don't even think it is necessary.

The DVD is anamorphic and progressive in the 1.78 ratio. It is single-layered without any supplements. The 70 minute film is enough though. Tarn's use of light and color appear wonderfully captured by the PAL DVD. The narration is subtle and straightforward - clear and consistent on the DVD. A limited package with no supplements but we give a strong recommendation. Uniquely the themes of personal identity and truth are expressed with delicate honestly and forthright passion. I'll repeat my first word of the review - Wow! 

Gary W. Tooze


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Distribution Second Run DVD - Region 0 - PAL


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