Documentary Film Review – Bloodlines:The Art and Life of Vincent Castiglia

November 18, 2018

Written by Capt McNeely

Georgia Division ZADF Twitter: @ZADF_ORG
  
      John Borowski  is well known for his documentary films, which give an in-depth look at various serial killers. Not only has Borowski focused on the likes of Carl Panzram, Albert Fish and H.H. Holmes, but has also done a documentary and subsequent TV series that explore the cultural obsession and influence of serial killers on society, aptly named Serial Killer Culture.
      This most recent documentary, which marks a bit of a departure from Borowski’s usual subject matter, deals with abuse, pain and anguish, all painted in a very different light. His subject this time is Vincent Castiglia, a well-known and renowned artist, whose preferred medium is human blood…primarily his own. So to say this man puts his life force into his work would be absolutely true.
      What Borowski does in this film is give  the viewer a  glimpse into the life of this artist that is incredibly straight forward and raw. He not only details Vincent’s brilliant artwork, but also his struggles from the time he was a young boy and the horrible abuse he suffered, up to his time as a young man who dealt with addiction and self destructive behavior…behavior that eventually led to him once actually being technically dead. Of course addiction is not something that ever leaves the addicted and Vincent still acknowledges that it’s still a battle he fights every day.
      Borowski not only features family, friends and the people who know Vincent best, but also fans and collectors who adore his artwork and what it embodies. These people come from all walks of life, but all share a very genuine and profound connection to Vincent. Thus, it makes absolute sense that artists like Vincent and H.R Giger should have formed such a strong friendship, since they both create such disturbingly beautiful art.
      The viewer is made privy to the incredibly harsh and gritty reality of Vincent‘s existence. But at no time does the tone of the film try to be apologetic for his actions, nor does it seek sympathy for his past struggles.  Rather it presents these events and shows the way in which they have acted as the catalysts for shaping Vincent‘s life as a person and as an artist. Vincent speaks of his past in a way that suggests that it is exactly that…the past, and that he is focused forward on what is yet to come in his life
      To be perfectly honest, I find it difficult to provide an impartial review for this film, and believe it’s a movie that just needs to be seen by any person with even the slightest interest in Vincent or his art.  I’ve been a fan of Vincent’s art for quite a while, because of the beautiful way that he presents disturbing and macabre imagery and maybe even more so because he actually incorporates his own blood into the artwork. I’ve wanted to meet Vincent, and may never get the chance, which is why I was excited to get a “peak behind the curtain” so to speak.
      When Borowski sent me this film to review, I couldn’t wait to watch it, and have watched it a few times since. However, while I liked the film very much, I knew what kind of art and imagery I was likely to see. That being said, people who may be easily disturbed will want to proceed with caution, but I still suggest giving the film a chance. The reason being, that this film is not just about Vincent’s magnificently surreal art, but also an inspiring story of his ability to rise above his brutal and destructive past.  8 / 10
     Bloodlines: The Art and Life of Vincent Castiglia is currently available to view on Amazon Prime Video and also for purchase at Amazon on DVD.  Other films and works by John Borowski can also be found at Amazon and his website, www.johnborowski.com.

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