My Architect (2003)



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Titolo originale: My Architect–>
Genere: Documentario, Biografico–>
Durata: 116–>
Nazione: USA–>
Regia:
  • Nathaniel Kahn

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Scritto da:

  • Nathaniel Kahn

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Produzione:

  • Susan Rose Behr (regista)
  • Andrew S. Clayman (produttore esecutivo)
  • Simon Egleton (produttore tecnico)
  • Phyllis Freed Kaufman (produttore associato – nel ruolo di Phyllis Kaufman)
  • Andrew Herwitz (produttore associato)
  • John Hochroth (produttore associato)
  • Nathaniel Kahn (regista)
  • Yael Melamede (co-produttore)
  • Judy Moon (produttore associato)

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Musiche:

  • Joseph Vitarelli

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Trama del film:

World-famous architect Louis Kahn (Exeter Library, Salk Institute, Bangladeshi Capitol Building) had two illegitimate children with two different women outside of his marriage. Son Nathaniel always hoped that someday his father would come and live with him and his mother, but Kahn never left his wife. Instead, Kahn was found dead in a men's room in Penn Station when Nathaniel was only 11. Nathaniel travels the world visitng his father's buildings and haunts in this film, meeting his father's contemporaries, colleagues, students, wives, and children. Written by Martin Lewison <dr@martinlewison.com>

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1 Comment

  1.  

    Ralph Michael Stein (riglltesobxs@mailinator.com) said

    February 23 2012 @ 01:22

    Documentaries in which sons and daughters seek to understand a parent and,
    by the process, their own lives are not that uncommon. Also not uncommon
    are results that reflect lack of talent, a failure of introspection, an
    abundance of narcissism and, perhaps, an unsubtle quest for
    publicly-splashed revenge for countless past hurts, real and fantasized.
    What is unusual is a brilliant, fair and engrossing portrait of a
    fascinating parent and "My Architect: A Son’s Journey" is that rare
    achievement.

    Louis Kahn emigrated to this country as a child, his face irreparably and
    brutally scarred by an accident. He and his parents settled in Philadelphia
    where the talented youngster loved art and music. Soon he became enamored
    of buildings and decided only an architect’s career would answer his
    creative abilities.

    Kahn became an architect but as this film shows it took a long time before
    he attracted the attention of the leaders in his field. One architect
    suggests that he was a victim of the "yellow armband," that anti-Semitism
    that along with bias against women was long a disreputable aspect of the
    American profession of architecture.

    When he did achieve notice, he was seen, clearly accurately, as a
    self-assured, workaholic prophet exclaiming unyielding demands that his
    vision and only his vision be realized. That inflexibility was the reason
    that while he drew wonderful plans for many buildings he built but a few.
    The interview with an aged gentleman who fired Kahn in Philadelphia because
    of his unacceptable dream of a transformed urban center where people left
    their cars on the perimeter and walked into the city is
    hilarious.

    Kahn was a born teacher and some of the extensive archival footage here
    shows him with students, his voice steady but passionate, their gazes
    respectful and intense.

    Many architects were interviewed by director, writer and project honcho
    Nathaniel Kahn, the architect’s only son. Some are world famous – I. M.
    Pei, Robert A.M. Stone, Moshe Safdie, Frank Gehry and the still active
    nonagenarian, Philip Johnson. Their comments paint a vivid picture of this
    idealistic but in the end financially unsuccessful designer of buildings
    that blended the castles, fortresses and grand buildings of past centuries
    into designs for the present. Kahn’s buildings are shown, among the most
    impressive being the Salk Research Laboratories in La Jolla, CA. To me his
    style has a neo-Romantic air deadened by too much blank space that repels
    rather than attracts human interaction.

    But Kahn’s son was after more than the story of his father, the architect.
    For many years Louis Kahn had three families: a wife with whom he had a
    daughter and two long-term relationships, one of which produced a daughter,
    the other the son. Kahn visited his son at the mother’s home often but at
    the end of an evening mother and son would drive Kahn back to the marital
    home. Nathaniel clearly wanted to know about this unusual set of
    relationships but he doesn’t appear to be scarred by what was certainly a
    strange affair for a little boy.

    When Nathaniel was a young boy Louis Kahn died of a massive heart attack in
    the men’s room of New York’s Pennsylvania Station after returning from India
    where he had pitched one of his massive projects, another one that was never
    built. At that point his Philadelphia firm was at least $500,000 in debt
    and had he lived a trip to the federal bankruptcy court was probably in the
    offing.

    Kahn left several monumental structures of which the government building in
    Bangladesh is clearly the biggest. A teary local architect hails Kahn for
    having created a building where democracy may (and hopefully will)
    flourish.

    Fellow architect Moshe Safdie opines that there might have been something
    fitting in Kahn’s suffering a mortal heart attack in a train station given
    his incessant globetrotting. I disagree: it’s sadly ironic that Kahn should
    die in the faceless replacement for one of America’s true architectural
    gems, the old Pennsylvania Station, wrecked to make way for a sterile
    replacement with no character and no continuation of civic
    memory.

    There are a number of emotional moments filmed during the younger Kahn’s
    journey, including with his half-sisters and his mother, but they’re genuine
    and moving, not maudlin and staged. Historians of architecture will always
    study Kahn. His son found reasons to remember him as a flawed but very
    iconoclastic and ultimately private man.

    9/10.

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