A young woman finds a strange mirror.
VANITÀ is the third installment in Pontuti's Poetry of Penance project. Party inspired by the historical tradition of Vanitas painting, the film explores topics related to self-image, obsessive compulsive behavior and destructive habits linked to notions of vanity.
œThe 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
Directed by Kevin Pontuti