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Shadow of the House| 1hr : 14mins
Director: Allie Humenuk | Producer: Allie Humenuk
Focus Years: 2007 | Country: United States
Subject Tags: americas, art, ego, identity, united states
Quality Tags: Optimistic, Slow, Activating, Harmonizing
Shadow of the House is an intimate portrait of the Cuban-American photographer Abelardo Morell. Morell’s life is utterly ordinary on the surface but our understanding of Morell deepens as layer after layer of the man and his influences are revealed: his strange and compelling journey fleeing Castro in the early sixties and growing up in NY as a teenager; his life as an American family man; a Cuban refugee, more American than Cuban, but not an American citizen; a photographer who feels safer working at home but whose career increasingly pulls him into the outside world. The director works alone, filming and taking audio, as she follows Morell for over 7 years at work, at home, and abroad. Because of an offer to make a book, Morell returns to Cuba in 2002 for the first time since his escape in 1962. The trip pushes him to confront his past and his familial allegiances—his parents fiercely object to his return. And, after 40 years of being stateless, Morell finally becomes an American citizen. Through his story, we see a reflection of the duality felt by many exiles—'I am of this place and I am not'; 'How do I integrate the past with the present?' Shadow of the House explores the intersection between these issues and Morell's idiosyncratic artistic vision. In Morell's words, "A lot of my work tries to disorient you once you get invited into something that seems normal. I like to suggest that what may be empty is not. When you feel alone, there is actually a lot more of the world coming into your space than you think." In Morell’s photographs, the viewer is challenged to see magic in the most ordinary of spaces and objects. In Shadow of the House, the viewer sees the work behind the photographs and the personal journey of one man whose private and artistic lives are deeply interwoven.
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Allie Humenuk

United States


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