Architectural Independent

Architectural Independent
Architectural Independent

Video: Architectural Independent

Video: Architectural Independent
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Two of the world's most influential independent film festivals, Sundance and Slamdance, ended last month. Both traditionally take place in the American town of Park City, Utah. This time, among others, films were shown, one way or another related to the theme of architecture and the city. Let's talk about the most notable films: nine feature films and three documentary projects.

Columbus, dir. Cogonade

/ “Columbus”, Kogonada

The name of the film was given by the city of the same name in Indiana, where the plot unfolds. Over the past 60 years, Columbus, with a population of approximately 45,000, has become a place of pilgrimage for modern architecture lovers. Here are concentrated such a number of buildings of the XX century, built by eminent architects, which is unlikely to boast of any other city of the United States, and possibly the world, comparable in size. Among them - Ero Saarinen, Kevin Roach, I. M. Pei, R. M. Stern and others. The credit goes to the Cummins Engine Company. It is she who often finances projects of public buildings for her native Columbus and pays royalties to architects.

This circumstance became the starting point for the development of the plot. The main character named Gene comes to Columbus to visit his father, who is in a coma. Father, in turn, had come to Indiana from Korea many years earlier to study local architecture. In the town of Jin, he meets a girl who works in a library but is passionate about architecture. Casey shows the young man the city and its attractions, discusses the healing power of buildings, and talks about meeting Deborah Burke, dean of the Yale School of Architecture and founder of her own workshop in New York, who inspired Casey to study architecture. In the film directed by Kogonada, architecture becomes a full-fledged character in the film and symbolizes hope for the future, its utopian version.

Review: The Art of Design, dir. Morgan Neville

/ "Abstract: The Art of Design", Morgan Neville

On February 10, the online cinema Netflix launched a new series dedicated to modern designers. Each of the eight episodes lasts an average of 45 minutes and tells the story of one character. The very first episode about illustrator Christophe Niemann was shown at the Sundance festival. There are also mini-films about the head of the BIG bureau, the architect Bjark Ingels, about the designer with an architectural past, Tinker Hatdild, who has been creating Nike sneakers since 1985, about the photographer Plato (the author of this portrait of Vladimir Putin) and others.

Aerotropolis, dir. and screenwriter Li Zheng-neng

/ “Aerotropolis”, Li Jheng-neng

Aerotropolis is an ambitious development project for Taoyuan Airport, a city in northwest Taiwan. On several thousand hectares of land, it was planned to build a giant transport hub for aircraft and ships. But today there is only an unfinished metro line, kilometers of undeveloped plots, land at exorbitant prices and thousands of displaced residents. The story is accompanied by incessant conflicts and corruption scandals involving officials who oversaw the implementation of the project.

The main character of the film, hoping to capitalize on the economic bubble generated by Aerotropolis, invested all his savings in the purchase of luxury real estate. But the enrichment plan fails: Allen fails to find buyers, but he also cannot move into a luxury apartment, otherwise the housing will lose its "presentation". Allen effectively turns into a homeless person - he sleeps in the car and uses the public toilet at the airport.

The Gentlemen, dir. Marvin Lemus

/ “Gente-fied”, Marvin Lemus

The comedy series is set in Boyle Heights, an area of Los Angeles that is predominantly populated by Hispanics, representatives of the working class. However, after gentrification, wealthy white Americans began to move here. The old-timers of the quarter, mostly ethnic Mexicans, are trying to cope with the changes and problems that have arisen with their new neighbors.

"Pop-ah", dir. and screenwriter Kirsten Tan

/ “Pop Aye”, Kirsten Tan

An architect named Tana built the Gardenia Square skyscraper in Bangkok in the 1990s and earned respect for it. But times change, and the new head of the company, the son of the previous boss, decides to replace the outdated building with a new skyscraper. The company no longer needs the services of the already middle-aged Tana, and he is not welcome at home either. The architect spontaneously sets out on a trip to the farm where he spent his childhood; an elephant accompanies him there. At the end of the journey, a sad discovery awaits them: their home has been sold and in its place is now an ordinary residential high-rise building. The film won a Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Festival for its screenplay.

Workers' Cup, dir. Adam Sobel

/ “The Workers Cup”, Adam Sobel

Another example of the shadow side of "glamorous" development, but already in the Middle East, is shown in a documentary by American director Adam Sobel. Workers from India, Kenya, Ghana, Nepal, Bangladesh and the Philippines are building a stadium in Qatar for the FIFA 2022 Football Championship. Shown are two worlds that hardly intersect. One is the work camp where the builders live and their hard work. On the other side, there are luxury shopping centers, which appear by the forces of these hard workers, but where they have no right to come after 10 am.

“Incident at the Neil Hilton Hotel, dir. Tariq Saleh

/ “The Nile Hilton Incident”, Tarik Saleh

The film takes place in Cairo against the backdrop of the 2011 revolution that ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. A few days before the uprising in Tahrir Square, a famous singer was murdered in the nearby Neil Hilton Hotel. Suspicions fall on the victim's lover, a member of parliament and a construction magnate (in particular, he is engaged in the construction of "New Cairo"). The case is entrusted to a policeman named Nordin - corrupt, as usual, but he also has glimpses of conscience. While the investigation is underway, the viewer has time to see the conflicting landscapes of new and old Cairo: from the slums where illegal Sudanese refugees live, to the luxurious mansion of an influential developer. The drama won the Grand Prix at Sundance.

"Dave made a maze", dir. and screenwriter Bill Watterson

/ “Dave Made a Maze”, Bill Watterson

Artist Dave, unable to complete any of his works, decides to build a cardboard fortress in the middle of the living room. His girlfriend Annie, returning home from a long trip, cannot see Dave outside the walls of the labyrinth, although she can hear his voice. Dave says he is lost inside. Annie calls her friends for help, and together they get inside the cardboard structure. This is where the fantastic part of the story begins: the space of the labyrinth turns out to be much larger and more complex than it seems from the outside. There, the guys discover an endless series of riddles and traps. According to the filmmakers, the scenery for the film took almost 3000 m2 cardboard. The film was awarded the Audience Award at the Slamdance Festival.

"My girlfriend is a monster" *, dir. Nacho Vigalondo

/ “Colossal”, Nacho Vigalondo

The main character Gloria (played by Anne Hathaway), due to her own drunkenness, loses her job and boyfriend in New York, after which she returns to her hometown. The girl discovers a strange connection with a monster raging in Seoul. The giant lizard literally repeats the movements that the main character makes - as if on a remote control. It is later revealed that Gloria's influence on the fate of a distant city is the result of the destructive power of alcohol.

Berlin Syndrome, dir. Kate Shortland

/ “Berlin Syndrome”, Cate Shortland

Australian architectural photographer Claire will come to Berlin to photograph buildings from the GDR era. Here she meets a young attractive Berliner Andy. Andy gives the girl a tour of Berlin, shows the buildings on its outskirts, windmills and small green parks. In the evening, a new acquaintance brings Claire to his home. But what seemed like the beginning of the novel turns into a thriller: the next morning the girl finds herself locked in Andy's apartment.

"Recorded Memories", dir. Mark Palanski

/ "Rememory", Mark Palansky

In this motion picture, actor Peter Dinklage, familiar to the audience from the TV series "Game of Thrones", played the role of a manufacturer of architectural models, who, by the will of circumstances, turns into a detective.

In Search of Corals, dir. Jeff Orlowski

/ “Chasing Coral”, Jeff Orlowski

The film is dedicated to the global problem of extinction of coral reefs. The question is analyzed using the example of the Australian Great Barrier Reef, which scientists call the "Manhattan of the Ocean": lime deposits are a kind of underwater cities and skyscrapers for marine life. Unfortunately, the conclusions of the creators of the picture are disappointing: coral reefs are on the verge of extinction due to the rise in temperature on the planet. So, in 2016, more than two-thirds of the corals died in the northern part of the Great Barrier Reef. The film by the 33-year-old documentary filmmaker received the Audience Award at the Sundance Festival.

* under this name the film is released in Russia

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