HBO has released a trailer for “Remembering the Artist: Robert De Niro Sr.,” a short documentary about the life and work of abstract expressionist painter Robert De Niro Sr., father to Oscar-winning actor Robert De Niro. De Niro Sr. was seen as a contemporary of Jackson Pollack and Mark Rothko — albeit much lesser known.
Executive produced by the younger De Niro’s longtime producing partner Jane Rosenthal and HBO’s Sheila Nevins, “Remembering the Artist: Robert De Niro Sr.,” is an indemnification — an attempt to give credit where credit is due.
Against a backdrop of archival footage, photographs, and stills of De Niro Sr.’s artwork, the younger De Niro provides a narration that combines his own insight with excerpts from his father’s journals. The result is a narrative just as surreal and abstract as the subject it covers.
“He was to me a great artist, but you can never impose that on people,” De Niro says in one clip included in the trailer. This comment, along with the moment when he calls his father, ‘the real thing,’ suggests the film, despite its focus on De Niro Sr., provides certain meta-commentary on the cult of celebrity. In making this meditative piece about his father, De Niro appears to be issuing a critique of his designation as a “critically acclaimed actor” — a title deemed ubiquitous despite its subjectivity.
“Remembering the Artist: Robert De Niro Sr.” will premiere Monday, June 9th at 9pm on HBO.