HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Old Guard, The
Gumnaam
Disappearance at Clifton Hill
Sullivans, The
Piranhas
Love in the Afternoon
Black Water: Abyss
Wild Blue Yonder, The
All Hail the Popcorn King
Muriel, or the Time of Return
Selma
Great Locomotive Chase, The
American Anthem
Lion and the Horse, The
Druids
War of the Wizards
Onward
Doctor Faustus
Spite Marriage
Mask, The
Letter to Jane
Quick Millions
Dream Demon
Max Havelaar
Radioactive
Glastonbury Fayre
All Dogs Go to Heaven
Shoot Out
Da 5 Bloods
Sonatine
Kung Fu Monster
Secret Agent Super Dragon
Saint Frances
Boiling Point
Golden Stallion, The
Dragon Force
Anthropocene: The Human Epoch
Luck of Ginger Coffey, The
Junkers Come Here
Ladius
   
 
Newest Articles
Divine Madness: Female Trouble on Blu-ray
Country Matters: Further Out of Town on Blu-ray
Bat-Damn: Was Joel Schumacher's Batman Really That Bad?
The Beat Goes On: Takeshi Kitano Collection on Blu-ray
Dream Treats: Scorsese Shorts on Blu-ray
It's Only Money: Laughter in Paradise on Blu-ray
A Regular Terpsichore: Dance, Girl, Dance on Blu-ray
Teenage Trauma: Baby Love on Blu-ray
The Happening: Pet Shop Boys It Couldn't Happen Here on Blu-ray
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
Hit for Ms: Mark Cousins' Women Make Film on Blu-ray
Look Sinister: The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse on Blu-ray
Star Wars Triple Threat: The Tricky Third Prequel and Sequel
I Can See for Miles: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes on Blu-ray
Too Much Pressure: The Family Way on Blu-ray
The Alan Key: Alan Klein and What a Crazy World on Blu-ray
A Japanese Ghost Story: Kwaidan on Blu-ray
The Zu Gang: Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain on Blu-ray
Reality TV: The Year of the Sex Olympics on DVD
The Young and the Damned: They Live By Night on Blu-ray
Mind How You Go: The Best of COI on Blu-ray
Der Kommissar's in Town: Babylon Berlin Series 3 on DVD
   
 
  Antonio Gaudi Reach For The Sky
Year: 1984
Director: Hiroshi Teshigahara
Stars: None
Genre: DocumentaryBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Antonio Gaudi was a Catalan architect whose unique for the time approach to his designs for buildings have brightened Spanish cities ever since his plans were put into effect around the start of the twentieth century. He was informed by patterns in nature and religion alike, and in his work you can see him connecting those two concepts, not merely because he designed cathedrals either, his most famous effort being the partly-unfinished Templo de la Sagrado Familia in Barcelona. This documentary guides us around the creator's most famous buildings, poring over every detail of their exterior in rapturous fascination, unable to tear the camera lens away from each new glimpse of a plane of a wall, or a pattern it features, or some wild growth of creativity...

The director of this meditation on another artist's work was Hiroshi Teshigahara whose most celebrated film was The Woman in the Dunes, an almost abstract work of similarly visually captivation, though that had an actual story to it, and this film was a collection of shots of the Gaudi architecture - mostly buildings, but features of parks as well - with a deliberate lack of narrative. So far did the director eschew any storyline that there was barely any biography contained within it at all, it was only as the film drew to a close that he could not resist telling us a little about the man he obviously so admired, and merely in the form of a snatch of reminiscence from one of the genius's students, rather than a cultural commentator who could set this in proper context.

The scarcity of the life of Gaudi in a documentary ostensibly about him has left some audiences frustrated, and there was certainly a sense that Teshigahara had made this film for himself and himself alone, so he could return to Japan from Spain with an extended set of home movies he could play in private and rhapsodise about to his heart's content. For some reason he felt others would be able to see in the architecture what he saw in them and would have the same, semi-religious experience of casting their eyes over the surfaces he brought to the screen, and in some cases that was true, though that tended to be among those either familiar with Gaudi's output or this filmmaker's body of work or indeed both at once, and witnessing them in combination was a rich feast for the senses.

Well, two of the senses, at any rate, as the expansive visuals were accompanied by a mix of classical and electronic music from a trio of Japanese composers which for many fans enhanced the otherworldly reaction of witnessing Gaudi's buildings and regarding them as being born from an imagination hailing from another dimension or another planet - be that literally or figuratively. The organic designs, which appeared to have sprouted from the ground and grown up in a dramatic flourish overnight (archive photographs reveal not to have been the scaffolding-assisted case), were something akin to science fiction sets and artwork from the nineteen-fifties and after, and that music merely served to underline that impression. This was satisfying as far as that went - if you just loved to see other's holiday snaps then you would be in heaven at the lovingly rendered imagery contained herein - but it was more a jumping off point for further investigation than something that told you everything you needed to know to truly appreciate what this showed you. Antonio Gaudi, the man, the artist, was not simply unique for his own time, on this evidence he was unique for all and every time.

[The Criterion Collection release this on Blu-ray with the following features:

High-definition digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
Interview from 2008 with architect Arata Isozaki
Gaudí, Catalunya, 1959, footage from director Hiroshi Teshigahara's first trip to Spain
God's Architect: Antoni Gaudí, an hour-long documentary from 2003 on the architect's life and work
BBC programme from 1961 on Gaudí by filmmaker Ken Russell
Sculptures by Sofu-Vita, a 1963 short film by Teshigahara on the sculpture work of his father, Sofu Teshigahara
Trailer
PLUS: An essay by art historian Dore Ashton, a 1986 reminiscence by Hiroshi Teshigahara, and excerpts from a 1959 conversation among the Teshigaharas and others about their trip to the West.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 375 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Hiroshi Teshigahara  (1927 - 2001)

Japanese director with a background in flower arranging and fine art, whose second film, the surreal Woman of the Dunes, proved an international success in 1964 and won two Oscar nominations as well as the Grand Jury prize at Cannes. Teshigahara made his debut three years earlier with the strange satire Pitfall, and directed a further four films, including the detective story The Ruined Map, before retiring in the early seventies to concentrate on ceramics and experimental film-making. He returned to directing in 1989 with the period drama Rikyu, while his final film was 1992’s Goh-hime. Teshigahara died of leukemia in 2001.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
  Hannah Prosser
   

 

Last Updated: