Visual Acoustics celebrates the life and career of Julius Shulman, the world's greatest architectural photographer, whose images brought modern architecture to the American mainstream. ...
See full summary »
Join host Ben Lyons for our live conversation with Mike Colter, star of "Jessica Jones," and Rachael Harris, star of "Lucifer," as we discuss their latest projects and history in Hollywood. Tune into Amazon.com/IMDbAsks on Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT to watch, live chat, and even ask a question yourself! This livestream is best viewed on laptops, desktops, and tablets.
The husband-and-wife team of Charles and Ray Eames were America's most influential and important industrial designers. Admired for their creations and fascinating as individuals, they have ... See full summary »
A documentary about the design of cities, which looks at the issues and strategies behind urban design and features some of the world's foremost architects, planners, policymakers, builders, and thinkers.
Amanda M. Burden,
KOCHUU is a visually stunning film about modern Japanese architecture, its roots in the Japanese tradition, and its impact on the Nordic building tradition. Winding its way through visions ... See full summary »
Profiles Milton Glaser (1929- ), America's foremost graphic designer: designer of the iconic "I [heart] N.Y." logo, teacher, and humanitarian. Interviews with Glaser are arranged to take ... See full summary »
Italian-born Massimo and Lella Vignelli are among the world's most influential designers. Throughout their long career, their motto has been, 'If you can't find it, design it' The work ... See full summary »
The digital revolution of the last decade has unleashed creativity and talent of people in an unprecedented way, unleashing unlimited creative opportunities. But does democratized culture ... See full summary »
Destroyed in a dramatic and highly-publicized implosion, the Pruitt-Igoe public housing complex has become a widespread symbol of failure amongst architects, politicians and policy makers. ... See full summary »
Visual Acoustics celebrates the life and career of Julius Shulman, the world's greatest architectural photographer, whose images brought modern architecture to the American mainstream. Shulman, who passed away this year, captured the work of nearly every modern and progressive architect since the 1930s including Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard Neutra, John Lautner and Frank Gehry. His images epitomized the singular beauty of Southern California's modernist movement and brought its iconic structures to the attention of the general public. This unique film is both a testament to the evolution of modern architecture and a joyful portrait of the magnetic, whip-smart gentleman who chronicled it with his unforgettable images. Written by
Here's more about the challenge of architecture and cinema. Its not trivial, the problem of what does space mean in films? What narrative role does it play? What vocabulary is relevant?
This film is rather mundane in most ways. It is a biography of a fellow of influence. He's quirky, but always in a desirable way (so far as the entertained audience). His profession why he is important allows for all sorts of images, from interviews, filming of him now and in the past, silly animations, and shots of the buildings he has photographed. As a biography and film, it is something of a yawn, as ordinary as they claim the fellow to be extraordinary. But it gives an excuse to think deeply about architecture and image, about motion, space and narrative.
The context: starting in the 30s in Europe a general philosophical trend toward purity was reflected in schools of architecture. The main notion there was the use of modern materials to escape traditional constraints in form. This would allow a designer to use forms that were pure, natural, deep. Differences among groups were a matter of what path was best in finding purity, nature and depth. It was a good time.
Out of that general influence stepped some designers in Los Angeles who appropriated some principles of purity from one of these schools. Planes, power, open glass, but in an architecturally superficial way. What they did instead was separate these notions of European architecture from the narrative of real explorations into being and self into a narrative of wealth and a privileged lifestyle.
Architectural effects were neutered in the service of selling this "California Lifestyle" and reduced to powerful planes that pushed past invisible glass walls. Purity became "a good view." Rethinking of space became simple openness. What began as a matter of meaning, turned into a matter of advertising a narrative, something of an artificial one. Sure, some of the effects in these buildings were competent, but they were largely in the same business as the television executives who bought the houses. It was a bad time.
Now, along comes a talented photographer, or rather one who would become talented and who would make this architecture famous. Why is illustrative.
His talent is the ability to make a narrative out of certain views of these accommodating structures. Or, if you please, he finds the narrative. This film is wonderful in that when you actually see him work (he still does) you can see him aligning forms so that from front to back always in a one point perspective there is an articulated flow that indicates energy. Many times, he uses that energy to indicate a connection with the environment. It is a masterly art, a good thing.
I did not appreciate the influence this fellow has had on cinematographers, and how they handle architecture. You need the bold planes and deep spaces of "modern" architecture for this relatively simple technique, but you can clearly see it in, say Sasha Vierny, or XX.
As to the value of the film as a film, it is far less competent than the things is speaks of, and draws on witnesses who are not worth listening to. I suppose the filmmakers will be happy if you like this charming old coot and know that somehow he was important. It succeeds at that.
Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.
11 of 12 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?