7.4/10
530
3 user 16 critic

Visual Acoustics (2008)

Unrated | | Documentary | 9 October 2009 (USA)
Trailer
2:16 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
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 »

Director:

2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

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 »

Directors: Jason Cohn, Bill Jersey
Stars: Charles Eames, Ray Eames, James Franco
My Architect (2003)
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Director Nathaniel Kahn searches to understand his father, noted architect Louis Kahn, who died bankrupt and alone in 1974.

Director: Nathaniel Kahn
Stars: Edmund Bacon, Edwina Pattison Daniels, Balkrishna Doshi
Urbanized (2011)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

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.

Director: Gary Hustwit
Stars: Rem Koolhaas, Oscar Niemeyer, Jan Gehl
Objectified (2009)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A feature-length documentary about our complex relationship with manufactured objects and, by extension, the people who design them.

Director: Gary Hustwit
Stars: Paola Antonelli, Chris Bangle, Andrew Blauvelt
Helvetica (2007)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A documentary about typography, graphic design, and global visual culture.

Director: Gary Hustwit
Stars: Manfred Schulz, Massimo Vignelli, Rick Poynor
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

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 »

Director: Wendy Keys
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Photographer Edward Burtynsky travels the world observing changes in landscapes due to industrial work and manufacturing.

Director: Jennifer Baichwal
Stars: Edward Burtynsky
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A profile of the noted and extraordinarily cheerful veteran New York City fashion photographer.

Director: Richard Press
Stars: Bill Cunningham, Anna Wintour, Michael Kors
Documentary | Biography | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

EVERYBODY STREET, directed by Cheryl Dunn, illuminates the lives and work of New York's iconic street photographers - including Bruce Davidson, Mary Ellen Mark, Elliott Erwitt, Ricky Powell... See full summary »

Director: Cheryl Dunn
Stars: Boogie, Martha Cooper, Bruce Davidson
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The film traces the rise of one of the world's premier architects, Norman Foster, and his unending quest to improve the quality of life through design.

Directors: Carlos Carcas, Norberto López Amado
Stars: Norman Foster, Deyan Sudjic
Documentary | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Documentary about war photographer James Nachtwey, considered by many the greatest war photographer ever.

Director: Christian Frei
Stars: James Nachtwey, Christiane Amanpour, Hans-Hermann Klare
The Genius of Photography (TV Series 2007)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  
Stars: David Byrne
Edit

Cast

Credited cast:
Frances Anderton ...
Herself
...
Himself
...
Himself (as Frank O. Gehry)
...
Himself - Narrator
Ray Kappe ...
Himself
Craig Krull ...
Himself
Barbara Lamprecht ...
Herself
Ricardo Legorreta ...
Himself
...
Herself
Leo Marmol ...
Himself
Judy McKee ...
Herself
Raymond Richard Neutra ...
Himself
Juergen Nogai ...
Himself
Rob Rothblatt ...
Himself
Edward Ruscha ...
Himself (as Ed Ruscha)

What You Missed at San Diego Comic-Con 2017

From the madness of the convention floor to the emotional panel reveals and star-studded interviews, catch up on all the unforgettable sights from Comic-Con.

Browse Our Guide to Comic-Con

Edit

Storyline

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 Owens/Rothschild

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

9 October 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Visual Acoustics  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$3,517 (USA) (9 October 2009)

Gross:

$96,354 (USA) (26 February 2010)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See  »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Speaking Space
3 August 2009 | by (Virginia Beach) – See all my reviews

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.


12 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page