Oct 26, 2010

Sketches of Frank Gehry: Documentary #3

Creating something is one of the boldest forms of expression. It leaves something to be discussed, critiqued, and interpreted. It also takes guts to do.

Sketches of Frank Gehry (2005) is a documentary about the famed modern architect from a very open and relaxed perspective. From structures like the popular Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown L.A. to the Guggenheim in Bilbao, the film is successful at diving into Gehry's design and creative processes, his achievements, and the humour that often surrounds creating buildings that make people stare. It's not a history lesson or lecture. There's actually something quite poetic in hearing Gehry and Pollack's open discussions about the form, lines, and overall impressions of the designs.

Why did you do this? Why is this shaped like that? Director Sydney Pollack injects himself into the documentary with his casual questioning, and seems essential for bringing up the every-man opinion.

As a creative guy myself I'm always fascinated by the process that other artists go through. Artist seems to be the right description of Gehry. The way he sketches, bends paper for his models, and works his ideas through seems very tactile. In fact, he admits that he's not very good with a computer.

Personally I find Gehry's buildings to be really engaging (especially) against a backdrop of squares and cubes. That's the beauty of this documentary to me. Architecture has always seemed like so much math, and it is, but Sketches of Frank Gehry pulls the art to the surface - mixing form and function as they say. We're given a chance to explore urban space for the emotion it conveys, for the whimsical and expressive way that shape can change our perception, and ultimately shown how exciting and challenging it is to literally be out of the box.

Having seen this documentary prior to purchasing it for my 9 Docs Project, I can say that I was just as inspired the second time around. This film isn't meant to be hard hitting or confrontational. Instead it's exploratory and pensive, showing how one man has decided to challenge convention. Matched with some beautiful images of Frank Gehry's buildings, I found it easy to get swept up in the creative chaos. 8/10

Sketches of Frank Gehry Trailer


Stephanie Janke said...

I have seen the architectural sketches of Frank Gehry and find them so amazing! I may have to borrow your DVD sometime.

Angry Charlie said...

Nice review! This is something I will have to check out sometime. Keep it up. I look forward to the remaing 6 reviews. Or are we at 5 now?

Editing Luke said...

There are still 6 more documentaries in the series that I have to write about. All are very different, so it should be good. I'm just spacing them out to keep things interesting.