Robert De Niro celebrated the international premiere of his new documentary, “Remembering the Artist Robert De Niro, Sr.,” at the Rome International Film Festival on November 17, 2014.
The film is primarily a composition of original footage of Robert De Niro Sr. and scenes with actor Robert De Niro himself, talking to the camera and reflecting on his father’s life.
“This was for him,” De Niro explains. “I wanted my younger kids – who were born after he died – to know what their grandfather did. I even kept his painting studio intact so they could see it.”
De Niro’s new film, which he first debuted at the Sundance Film Festival on Sunday, depicts the life and work of his father, Robert De Niro, Senior. He was an artist who struggled to maintain his initial success after the emergence of Abstract Expressionist painters and Pop Art in the late 1950s and early 1960s, since he refused to conform. De Niro Sr., along with other more traditional artists of his time, was marginalized for not exactly fitting into those new contemporary movements.
De Niro himself reads aloud from his father’s journal in the film, which includes passages describing De Niro Sr.’s financial instability, why he left his wife and his personal struggle with depression. De Niro also narrates memories of watching his father paint as a child. "Originally, Bob wanted to make the film just for his family,” Pletz explained. “ But then we realized it tells the story not just of Robert De Niro's Sr.'s work – which is amazing – but the entire art world of the time."
This moving documentary finally awards Robert De Niro Sr.’s work the acclaim it deserves – and preserves the story of an artist whose unrecognized brilliance can still be appreciated, even if it is after his death.The documentary is now airing on HBO.