For Reel

Antonio Gaudí (1984)
January 3, 2017, 3:36 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Hiroshi Teshigahara
3 Stars
antonio-gaudiThis 1984 documentary about the Spanish architect mostly plays as a travelogue, often staying at a street-level perspective with camera movements limited mainly to simple dollies and pans (more often than not, director Hiroshi Teshigahara favors the still image). Just as a tourist might find themselves fixated on small details, so too does the documentary not seek to frame a comprehensive portrait of the structures, rather some of the idiosyncrasies in the design structure—the clash between the straight lines and the curvaceous spires that resemble stalagmites, the complex patterns in the tiles, and so on. The best scenes show how Gaudí’s work interacts with the society around it, whether that be children playing among the structures or a long shot of the Sagrada Familia looming above Barcelona. Gaudi’s work is in itself so delightfully unusual that one wishes Teshigahara took a less impersonal approach—the hyper-stylization of a film like Koyaanisqatsi would have suited the ethereal score by Toru Takemitsu more effectively. Instead, if the score sounds determined to elicit a dreamy mood, Teshigahara’s images rarely make an argument that the film couldn’t have been a coffee table book.

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