Saturday. November 24, 2001 (page D15)

Director's triumph

Film-maker struggled to get documentary on Joseph Giunta made

by John Griffin

Joseph Giunta: a Silent Triumph is an exquisitely bittersweet profile of the Montreal painter, who died in January, by Pepita Ferrari. It opened in its French-language version, Joseph Giunta: un Triomphe Silencieux, at Ex-Centris yesterday in a double bill with Charles Binamé's Gauvreau ou l'Obligation de la Liberté.

The 50-minute documentary was shot in one and two-day increments per month last year so as not to overtax its 89-year-old subject and his beloved wife, Helen. As much a study of devotion under unbelievable pressures-Helen suffers from Alzheimer's-as it is a picture of artistic creation, A Silent Triumph traces 70 years of pure artistic expression in Giunta's chosen medium.

«It wasn't easy to get financing,» veteran documentary film-maker Ferrari said with a laugh this week.«Who wanted to back a film about an old guy, Alzheimer's and abstract painting?»
Money did finally come through and the result «is the first of my movies I can watch over and over whitout cringing.» Ideally, Ferrari says, the picture will become a rallying point for improvements in seniors care and Alzheimer's treatment. She also hopes «people won't feel just sadness, but also feel the power and the passion of the human spirit.»

Expect to see this moving film find a place of pride in the next winter's Festival of Films on Art.

Joseph Giunta: un Triomphe Silencieux
is playing at Ex-Centris,
3536 St. Laurent Blvd. Call (514)847-3536

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