And then it no longer mattered, what he knew, tasting the salt of her mouth where tears had dried. There was a strength that ran in her, something he’d known in Night City and held there, been held by it, held for a while away from time and death, from the relentless Street that hunted them all. It was a place he’d known before; not everyone could take him there, and somehow he always managed to forget it. Something he’d found and lost so many times before.
- “Neuromancer”, William Gibson
Oh, baby with your pretty face
Drop a tear in my wineglass
Look at those big eyes
See what you mean to me
Sweet cakes and milkshakes
I am a delusion angel
I am a fantasy parade
I want you to know what I think
Don’t want you to guess anymore
You have no idea where I came from
We have no idea where we’re going
Lodged in life
Like two branches in a river
Caught in the current
I’ll carry you. You’ll carry me
That’s how it could be
Don’t you know me?
Don’t you know me by now?
-Before Sunrise, Dir. Richard Linklater, 1995
A’right, where to begin…
A couple of years ago I read a really brilliant book called Origin of Inspiration written by a painter named Sam Adoquei. It’s a beautiful mix of philosophy and spirituality that discusses what great art is and how artists can go about making it. The book also features a lot of his paintings which are gorgeous and meditative. In the middle of reading it, I was hit with an adrenaline rush of an idea that literally made me jump out my seat- I have to make a film about this guy. I googled around - and somehow no one had done a movie on this guy yet. There wasn’t even much info on him. Total mystery. I had to make this happen.
Sam Adoquei - the man, the myth, the legend. Photo by Tsar Fedorsky.
A year later, I found myself outside on the sidewalk of Union Square on a particularly overcast day with my film crew as we unloaded equipment out of our cargo van and walked it into the studio of Sam Adoquei. Is this seriously happening, I wondered. This was the first time a film crew was allowed inside his studio to interview him and document him working and somehow me and my crew were the ones to do it. He was kind of a legend- being this mysterious painter who also happened to be the step-father of Julian Casablancas, whom he was a major artistic-influence on.
We spent the entire day shooting and Sam and I discussed a lot of different topics- his artistic philosophy, his past experiences that lead him to where he is, and his painting process that he described as going beyond what is obvious or immediately visible, in order to find that which is hidden by nature…a quality that he calls an unseen beauty.
Sam was a major influence on Julian Casablancas of The Strokes. Photo by Kate Gardiner.
A few months later, I was back in Sam’s studio showing him an early cut of the film. Julian dropped by and I showed him the film as well and he really dug it and also gave some really helpful feedback on it. The next day he called me (surreal) asking how he could help out (holy shit) so I asked him if he wanted to compose a bit of music for one scene in the film and amazingly he said yes. For his first stab at composing music for film, Julian collaborated with composer Simon Taufique and together they put together a piece of music that’s….well I don’t want to spoil that part.
So that’s the The Unseen Beauty- a 10-minute documentary that will screen in a block of shorts at 1:00pm on June 27th as part of the Manhattan Film Festival. I still can’t believe this movie happened. It’s been a pretty amazing ride so far and I can’t wait for you guys to see it.
You can buy tickets for the June 27th screening at the Quad Cinema here.
Check here for future screenings throughout 2013 as they get announced.