WI / IL Short Slot 2
Sun Feb 25, 2018 – 12:00 pm | La Casa Grande
Directed by Kevin Pontuti
USA | 10 min | 2017
A young woman finds a strange mirror.
VANITÀ is the third installment in Kevin Pontuti’s Poetry of Penance project, which uses magical realism to explore themes related to resilience and self-acceptance. VANITÀ was partly inspired by the historical tradition of Vanitas painting. The film explores topics related to obsessive compulsive behavior, notions of self-image, and destructive behaviors relating to vanity.
“The dark and dreamlike episode that confronts the viewer in Kevin Pontuti’s VANITÀ is rich in the suggestion of imagery recounting the long human struggle with balancing the lures of the world with the needs of the soul. His solemn woman before a mirror, whose red hair glints in the darkness around her, is redolent of portrayals of the penitent Mary Magdalene, a woman whose physical past is shed to find her spiritual core. Pontuti’s wordless image especially reminds of quiet scenes of contemplation, like Georges de la Tour’s painting of the Penitent Magdalene, where the sinner looks toward a mirror, a traditional symbol of vanity, and is reminded by the insubstantial flame of the transience of earthly life. In Pontuti’s film, the woman’s disturbing moments of disgorging a part of herself- a physical part of herself- is the equivalent in the painting of the quiet skull, hollow with gaping dark orbits, that implies mortality and the willing abandonment of the physical, sensual past. But while the Magdalene lets her earthly beauty go, the woman in Pontuti’s film resorbs that aspect of physical sensuality that links her to world. Her quest for redemption and transformation has not yet found resolution.” Sarah Diebel, PhD
Kevin Pontuti is an artist and educator based in the USA. He received his MFA from Syracuse University in 1993 then moved to California where he founded the Los Angeles-based production company Studio P Inc. His image-making expertise and collaborative spirit attracted many top artists and designers to his studio. In 2009, Pontuti accepted a professorship at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. In 2017, he returned to California to lead University of the Pacific’s MEDIA X program. His teaching and creative practice include photography, cinematic arts and transmedia studies.