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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Biography > Deafness > Art > James Castle – Portrait Of An Artist (2008/First Run DVD)

James Castle – Portrait Of An Artist (2008/First Run DVD)


Picture: C     Sound: C+     Extras: C     Documentary: C+



As the Far Right hates Artists unless they can label propagandists that way, Jeffrey Wolf’s James Castle – Portrait Of An Artist (2008) is a brief (at 53 minutes) to-the-point examination of a life and what the life achieved in solitude belatedly being recognized as is too often the case.  Castle was born deaf in 1899 and taught himself to draw and create in ways that are more remarkable than ever in an all-digital wallpaper world.  The program explores the man, his life and work as his surviving family explains what they saw and know about him and his work.


Unfortunately, some of this is more obvious than expected and the best is not made of the time allotted as Wolf does not mix things up to try and find out even more and go deeper in what could have been fine character study.  The story here is still good and worth seeing, but the more I watched, the more I hoped this would pick up.  That leaves the viewer going more by the art seen than should be the case.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image can be softer than one would ant throughout, including some aliasing errors and color variance.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 sound is barely stereo, but is just fine for a documentary recording having location recording limits.  Extras include stills, resources for educators and more interviews.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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