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Incessant Visions (2011)

He drew sketches on tiny pieces of paper and sent them, from the WW1 trenches, to a young cellist, who was waiting for him in Berlin. She thought he was a genius and helped him become the ... See full summary »

Director:

Duki Dror

Writers:

Duki Dror (co-writer), Galia Dror (co-writer)
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Cast

Credited cast:
Debbie Irwin ... Louise Mendelsohn (voice)
Seann Shaffer Seann Shaffer ... Erich Mendelsohn (voice)
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Storyline

He drew sketches on tiny pieces of paper and sent them, from the WW1 trenches, to a young cellist, who was waiting for him in Berlin. She thought he was a genius and helped him become the busiest architect in Germany. When the Nazis came to power, Erich and Louise Mendelsohn escaped Germany forever. The buildings which Erich built, scattered as a trail of their journey, have changed the history of architecture. INCESSANT VISIONS is a cinematic meditation about the untold story of Erich Mendelsohn, whose life and career were as enigmatic and tragic as the path of the century. Written by Anonymous

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User Reviews

 
architects, love and fate
9 January 2012 | by dromascaSee all my reviews

As the saying goes some of my best friends are architects. Well, maybe the saying does not exactly go like this, but this is actually true, and this is not the only reason I hold in high esteem their profession. With my friends in mind I went last night to see at the Herzlya cinematheque the documentary 'Incessant Visions' written and directed by Duki Dror and dedicated to the life and work of one of the greatest but maybe not that famous as he would have deserved architects of the 20th century Erich Mendelsohn.

Incessant Visions is by no means a dry documentary about architecture or just a biographical feature about a great architect. It is also or maybe first of all a love story. A love story about a young German Jewish architect named Erich who writes letters to his beloved girlfriend Louise (herself a gifted cellist) from the trenches of the First World War. These are not however usual letters from the trenches, they are beautiful love letters, and they include visions – visions of fantastic buildings inspired by the dunes and the hills of the unfamiliar Eastern European landscape, dreams about structures the soldier architect may build one day if he survives the nightmare.

Erich Mendelsohn did survive the nightmare, and back from war he married Louise and became one of the fashionable architects of Berlin after the war.

The ascendancy of the Nazis to power led quickly to Mendelsohn being deprived of his position as one of the lead architects of Germany, and soon of his right to work. He took the road of exile, with the first stop being England, then Palestine under the British Mandate (where he left a strong imprint on the architecture of the future Israel), then California, his final stop, where he died in 1953.

The film is a combination of archive images, sketches drawn after the original drawings of the architect, and contemporary documentary footage of some of his important buildings. The spoken part is a mix of interviews and especially the reading of the letters exchanged by Erich and Louise. In the discussion with the director after the movie there were questions about selecting a contemporary American English accented actors to read the texts rather than hinting to the German the two probably spoke most of their lives. I was too focused and frankly speaking fascinated by the subject to care.

The theme of the film is that Mendelsohn is today an almost forgotten figure, although his contribution in the history of architecture deserves higher recognition. It may have been his fate of never being at home any place he went – a Jew in Germany, too short time in Palestine to become a man of the land, and then a 'German' refugee in America. His dreams however, the ones he was drawing on sketches in the trenches of the first world became at least in part reality wherever he worked. "Architects think they leave something eternal. Their buildings are carved in stone and steel, but they too finally decay and vanish" wrote Louise Mendelsohn in her journal. The memory of Erich Mendelsohn has maybe a second chance with this film.


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Details

Country:

Israel | Germany

Language:

English | Hebrew | Polish | German

Release Date:

July 2011 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Chezionot bilti poskim See more »

Filming Locations:

Tel Aviv, Israel See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Zygote Films See more »
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Color:

Color
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