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Camping out with Grimaldi and seeing the Black Sun

Posted at 1:47 PM on April 27, 2006 by Euan Kerr

Larry Grimaldi says he and collaborators only had about six weeks between the time they heard about the first overnight bible camp for gay and lesbian teenagers. So they just decided to shoot and see what they got. The resulting doc "Camp Out" screens Friday at 2006 Minneapolis St Paul International Film Festival.

Grimaldi's film captures an intriguing group of teenagers, most of them from around the Twin Cities. The movie looks at the struggles they face brought on by the conflict between their faith and their sexuality. There is also the question of which is harder: to come out as gay, or to come out as a Christian?

Grimaldi describes the campers in "Camp Out as stuck in the middle of this war between politics and religion, but they don't know which side they are on. On top of that, very often neither side in the war wants them. He says when they went to interview the campers before they headed to the camp near Brainerd, he was struck by how ahead of the curve and empowered they were about their lives. However when they went to camp much of that fell away and he saw them in a simpler light, just kids trying to figure out who they are.

Larry Grimaldi will appear that the screening of Camp Out. He will also appear on Friday mornings Morning Edition.

Making Movies in his Head - "Black Sun"

In 1978 an attacker threw paint thinner into Hugues de Montalembert eyes. He lost his eyesight completely by the next morning. It would have been a brutal loss to any one, but what made it worse for de Montalembert was he was a painter, who lived for looking, really looking, at the world.

"Black Sun" is listed as a documentary about what happened to him that night, and the impact on his life, but it's more accurate to think of this as a meditation however.

We don't actually seem him in the film (or if we do there's no indication it is him.) We hear him talk though, about how he coped with his loss, and how after a wretched first few weeks he decided he was not going to let his "new situation" as he calls it slow him down. He describes how he has travelled the world, and written about his new life. He also talks about how he continues to think in visual terms, "making movies in my head," as he calls it.

What we see in the film are images collected by director Gary Tarn, who also composed much of the atmospheric music which runs behind de Montalembert's words. Sometimes the images match up with what he is saying. Often they don't, but as a viewer it's hard to avoid making connections of one kind or another. This gives a greater depth to the experience of watching the film, and each viewer will probably take away a different set of associations as a result.

"Some people see and some people don't," de Montalembert says at one point. Of the people that don't he says this:"They are not interested in what they see, and they don't understand it. They use it not to bump into things. To see is to see beyond."

"Black Sun" screens tonight at 5

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