An Independent Portrait | Film | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Pittsburgh-based filmmaker Jose Muniain invited storied independent filmmaker Robert M. Young to talk about his half-century of work while sitting for his portrait in oils by local Spanish-born painter Félix de la Concha. Thus is the documentarian documented. Even at 55 minutes, the piece sometimes feels a little slow; we need a conversation either less digressive or more fully fleshed out. But it certainly makes you want to see Young's work -- from National Geographic wildlife specials, documentaries about the U.S. civil-rights movement, and a fiction feature about an illegal Mexican immigrant. Young's generously excerpted work, de la Concha's canvas-in-progress and Muniain's imaginative editing combine in a package that's sensually pleasing and full of ideas. And you'll be surprised how well you feel you know both men when you watch de la Concha's pleasure at Young's reaction to the finished portrait. Portrait screens with the 45-minute "Cortile Cascino," Robert Young's 1962 documentary of the slums of Palermo, Italy. Shot for NBC's White Paper series, the network considered Young's film too controversial and refused to air it. Starts Fri., March 16, through Sun., March 18. Melwood (BO)

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