100/100 The Itinerant Portraitist
In 2017 the Hebrew Home at Riverdale, New York, turned one hundred. Over the course of that year, the portrait painter Brenda Zlamany depicted a hundred of the residents. A hundred surprising, unique, and inspiring stories emerged. This film focuses on the engagement between artist and subject that arises through the collaborative nature of portraiture. We see in the film that conversations start as soon as the paintbrushes come out. The piece is a weave of the stories, feelings, and impressions that emerge during the painting of the portraits. Each story arcs into a vérité whole that is bittersweet and wise. As elders reflect on their pasts (a chance tryout for the Dodgers; the horrors of the Holocaust), the film asks, What makes us happy? What is a complete and meaningful life? What are the happiest moments and most painful losses? What is important at the end of life? And what is the role of memory? The oldest members of our society are often discarded, their stories unheard. But as portrait subjects in 100/100, they are empowered in an artistic process that affirms their dignity.