Of his six-minute black-and-white short Vanishing Point, French director and writer Augustin Doublet says, “It’s all about creating a maze of memories and fancies out of this endless labyrinth that you find in Brooklyn. I refer to the subway tracks, to the shades...I was trying to get behind the skin of the city, and to explore this kind of dynamic between dream and reality. So to do that, I thought that to make a portrait of an artist, a woman, was the right way to do it. I tend to like to tell stories about women. And so this kind of descent into her own broken relationships, her broken dreams, was dynamic. I think that was the concept behind it. And one could say that there is something about masochism, which has a very strong link with the practice of art... the practice of painting... I think we take inspiration from our scars. I was interested in the remains of the ink, the remains of internal scars, psychological scars... how the trauma manifests itself into shadows of ink."
Vanishing Point paints a darkly stunning portrait of an artist living in Brooklyn. The film is bleak, discordant, smacking with violent urgency—and yet there is, at the same time, a certain fragility, a delicate quietness underneath its rough exterior. Perhaps this is borne out of Doublet’s own experience living in the ever-growing and changing neighborhood of Bushwick, Brooklyn; watching the juxtaposition between the grittier, rougher “low-life reality,” as he calls it, and the burgeoning artist’s community that has begun to emerge in past years.
Since his arrival in New York, Doublet has written, directed and produced several of his own short films. Initially fascinated by the “harshness, dirtiness, and loose eroticism” of the New Hollywood cinema of the 1970s, he says, “My imagination and my desire are very related to the location and environment I’m in.” Originally from the Belleville area of Paris, Doublet has been living for three years in The Schoolhouse (the interior of which is shown in Vanishing Point), a unique three-story red brick building in Bushwick that has worn multiple hats since its establishment in 1883—it functioned as an elementary school until 1945, when it was sold and used as a manufacturing space; then it was abandoned and finally converted into artists’ living and working spaces in the 1990s. Now, each floor houses an array of creative individuals—musicians, painters, poets, filmmakers and photographers who often collaborate together (Vanishing Point is set to the spoken words of Mariette Papic, a poet and fellow Schoolhouse resident who Doublet commissioned for the project). About New York, he says, “…if you’re able to project yourself, your energy and your ideas on the city and break through the glass, [it] gives you back so much…”
Text by Annabel Graham for Pas Un Autre