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Antonio Gaudí1984

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  • 3.9
Catalan architect Antonio Gaudi designed some of the world's most astonishing buildings, interiors and parks; Japanese director Hiroshi Teshigahara constructed some of the most aesthetically audacious films ever made. Here their artistry melds in a unique, enthralling cinematic experience. Less a documentary than a visual poem, Teshigahara's Antonio Gaudí takes viewers on a tour of Gaudi's truly spectacular architecture, including his massive, still-unfinished masterpiece, the Sagrada Familia cathedral in Barcelona. With camera work as bold and sensual as the curves of his subject's organic structures, Teshigahara immortalizes Gaudi on film.

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Member Reviews (2)

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top reviewer

his work is original & brilliant and this film does a great job letting his beauty speak for itself

And here's how you do it.

Shots of the architecture, lingering and graceful.

Then, music: at first baroque, familiar, classical -- but soon overridden by lingering electronic echoes, which swirl and pulse, a darker ambient undercurrent that pulls from the images on screen the lurking menace of the buildings. Forests of concrete made from the stuff of nightmares, then covered in brightly-covered tile and repurposed by the public for soccer games, jogging courses, picnics, churches.

Seen in the background: four towers. Like a cathedral, maybe, but twisting and uneven -- a cathedral from imagination, from storybooks, like nothing you've seen in a church before. And is that a construction crane in-between? No matter, it's hardly our focus.

Context, arriving late: a statue of the architect in question. Early drawings. Books. Those towers again, a little closer now. Just a glimpse.

A fight between upbeat classical and almost paranoiac electronics. The tension of the buildings as placed in life.

Expanding out: daily existence. Rows of fish, laid atop one another at the market. A summer fire, almost pyre-like. Sloping, misshapen rocks on the beach. Maybe you notice how the fish laid next to one another ripple and curve like one of Gaudi's rooftops; or how the fire balloons outward at its bottom, curving inwards and upwards towards an uneven point, reminiscent of Gaudi's spires; or how the uneven rocks of the beach mimic those seemingly thrown haphazardly into the bases of his walls. Maybe you don't -- there's no sin in taking the world at its face.

Those towers now, looming. No longer to be ignored.

Then, at last, voices. No more than five minutes' worth, and then only enough to let us know: this is living brilliance, despite the decades-gone passing of its creator. Others have taken up the torch... though that's not quite the phrase for it, is it? The seeds were planted. His successors have grown. The cathedral will be changed, finished, remodified, expand, its branches, both metaphorical and literal, reaching farther.

But still darkness follows. Soundtrack as directorial comment.

And only as the credits roll, a single quote from Gaudi himself: "Anything created by human beings is already in the great book of nature."

A movie about architecture. Not a lecture, nor an article, nor a filofax for future reference. A film saying what only a film can say, even when it lacks the words to speak it with.