North Star: Mark di Suvero

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North Star: Mark di Suvero
Text is superposed on a photograph. In the upper right, the text gives the film's title and some of its credits. In the lower left, the text reads "Menil Collection, Houston, Texas". The photograph shows a grass lawn, with trees and the sky in the distance. Two large, black metal beams cross like the letter "X" in the foreground.
DVD cover (2011) showing the sculpture Bygones (1976).
Directed byFrançois de Menil
Produced byFrançois de Menil
Barbara Rose
Written byBarbara Rose
Music byPhilip Glass
CinematographyFrançois de Menil
Edited byPaul Justman
Lana Jokel
Ralph Rosenblum (cons.)
Parrot Productions
Release date
  • April 7, 1978 (1978-04-07)
Running time
54 minutes

North Star: Mark di Suvero is a 1977 documentary film about Mark di Suvero that was produced by François de Menil and Barbara Rose.[1][2] Born in 1933, di Suvero has become one of the most recognized sculptors of the late 20th and early 21st centuries.[3] From about 1975 to 1977, fairly early in di Suvero's long career, filmmaker de Menil and art historian Rose produced this film, which was characterized at the time as "a tribute to the extraordinary work and life of the innovative American sculptor of monumental but delicate constructions."[4] The film shows di Suvero making and installing several of his very large sculptures, and incorporates informal interviews of di Suvero, his mother, and others involved in his career and life at that time. From 1971 to 1975 di Suvero, an American, lived in a self-imposed exile in France in protest of US involvement in war in Vietnam and Southeast Asia, and the filming spans the end of his exile and his return to New York.[5]

The film presents the biographical material and interviews in black and white footage, and uses color to present the footage directly related to the creation of di Suvero's sculptures as well as reactions and opinions from passersby and colleagues. Nine of di Suvero's sculptures are featured in the film; the film's title refers to one of these, North Star, which was included in a prominent 1975 outdoor exhibition of di Suvero's sculptures in Paris, France. For each of the featured artworks, Philip Glass composed and performed a short piece of music for the film's score.[6] Glass has been described recently as "one of the most influential - and controversial - contemporary composers".[7] A recording of Glass' score has been issued independently of the film,[8] and was included in a 2012 listing of Glass' ten essential recordings.[9] The film was edited by Paul Justman, Lana Jokel, and Ralph Rosenblum (as "consulting editor"); Rosenblum was a veteran editor who edited several of director Woody Allen's films in the 1970s.

The film was accepted for the 1978 New Directors/New Films Festival at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.[4] On July 18, 1978, the film was televised nationally in the US, and was favorably reviewed in several periodicals at the time.[5][10][11] The film was first released to home video as a DVD in 2011.[12][13]


  1. ^ North Star: Mark di Suvero (35 mm film print). Parott Productions. 1977. OCLC 56611375.
  2. ^ North Star: Mark di Suvero on IMDb
  3. ^ Hatcher, Clara (December 12, 2012). "New partnership launches SFMOMA's off-site programming with major outdoor exhibition of Mark di Suvero's sculptures near Golden Gate Bridge". San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. di Suvero is an internationally acclaimed artist whose unique bold physical style has made him one of the most influential sculptors of our time.
  4. ^ a b Flint, Peter B. (April 7, 1978). "New Film Directors at the Modern" (PDF). The New York Times. (Subscription required (help)). North Star: Mark di Suvero is a tribute to the extraordinary work and life of the innovative American sculptor of monumental but delicate constructions. ... The film fuses views of his work and interviews reflecting what he terms 'his gypsy life'.
  5. ^ a b "Mark di Suvero, Art World's 'Last Heroic Figure'". The Ledger. 71 (270). Lakeland, Florida. July 16, 1978. pp. 37–38. Retrieved March 9, 2015.
  6. ^ "Philip Glass: Music". Dunvagen Music Publishers. Archived from the original on 2015-08-19. Retrieved 2015-07-22.
  7. ^ O'Mahony, John (November 24, 2001). "The Guardian Profile: Philip Glass". The Guardian. London. Retrieved November 10, 2008.
  8. ^ Philip Glass (composer, performer), Dickie Landry (performer), Joan Labarbara and Gene Rickard (voices) (1986). North Star (CD). Virgin Records. OCLC 57120610.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  9. ^ Schaefer, John (September 4, 2012). "Top 10 Essential Philip Glass Recordings". WQXR - New York Public Radio. Retrieved 2015-07-31. these pieces are at once finely detailed and vaguely psychedelic (several were closely related to some music cues that Glass wrote for some surprisingly trippy geometry bits on the children's TV show Sesame Street).
  10. ^ Jory, Tom (July 18, 1978). "Life and Work of Sculptor Mark di Suvero is Pictured". The Toledo Blade.
  11. ^ Russell, John (June 30, 1978). "Art People". The New York Times. Even people who detest films on art may find something to grab them in North Star: Mark di Suvero, a film by Francois de Menil and Barbara Rose, which PBS will televise July 18.
  12. ^ North Star: Mark di Suvero (DVD (region 1)). Microcinema International. January 1, 2011. OCLC 781417388.
  13. ^ Stewart, James A. (April 19, 2012). "North Star: Mark di Suvero". DVD Verdict. Archived from the original on July 22, 2015.