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Two Architecture Studies

Thom Andersen’s film on the work of Portuguese architect Souto de Moura, preceded by Catalina Niculescu’s compendium of Romanian Modernism.

Even if a screening is sold out, tickets are often available 30 minutes before the start at the box office at each venue.

Two Architecture Studies

Along the Lines

  • Director Catalina Niculescu
  • UK-Romania 2011
  • 16 mins

On a trip to her native Romania, the artist’s interest in architectural forms prompted a visual investigation into how decorative and structural motifs recur in buildings from the traditional to the modern.

Reconversão

  • Director Thom Andersen
  • Portugal-USA 2012
  • 65 mins

Invited to film in Portugal on the occasion of the Vila do Conde Festival’s 20th anniversary, Thom Andersen chose to document building projects by Eduardo Souto de Moura, whose work combines modernist aesthetics with traces of the architectural history of his sites. Incorporating local materials with contemporary building techniques, his clean concrete lines harmonise with natural elements and traditional stone walls. Influenced in equal measure by Mies van der Rohe and minimal sculptors such as Judd and Morris, Souto de Moura’s achievements include meticulous linear houses, the Porto subway network, and the monumental Braga Stadium, which rises out of the earth beside a mountain of imposing granite. This leisurely film features 17 such projects and culminates in a conversation between the filmmaker and the distinguished architect.

Total running time c81 mins
Mark Webber

Director statement

Reconversão portrays 17 buildings and projects by Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto Moura, accompanied usually by his own writings. It is a search for his architecture, without critical commentary. Only the tour guide at Braga Stadium offers generalisations, which fit that work well enough, but it may be the exception, not the rule. Souto Moura has the last word: ‘If there is nothing there, I invent a pre-existence’. Technically, Reconversão combines the crudeness of proto-cinema with the hyper-realism of digital cinema, bringing us back to the ideals of Dziga Vertov. Shooting only one or two frames per second and animating the images, in the manner of Muybridge, produces greater resolution, although not necessarily a greater sense of reality, and brings attention to the movements of water and vegetation that generally pass unnoticed.
Thom Andersen

Director biography

Born in Chicago in 1943, but a Los Angeles resident for most of his life. In 1974 he completed Eadweard Muybridge, Zoopraxographer, an hour-long documentation and re-animation of Muybridge’s photographic work on motion which opened in the UK at the ICA. In 1996, with Noël Burch, he co-authored a perceptive book and compiled the videotape Red Hollywood, both about the film-work created by the victims of the Hollywood blacklist. Los Angeles Plays Itself, a video essay about the representation of Los Angeles in movies, was a highlight of the 2004 LFF, while in 2010, he also directed Get Out of the Car, about the visual archaeology of that city. He has taught film composition at the California Institute of the Arts since 1987.

Filmography

1965 Melting [s]
1966 Short Line, Long Line [s]
1966/74 Olivia's Place [s]
1974 Eadweard Muybridge, Zoopraxographer [doc]
1996 Red Hollywood [doc; co-d]
2004 Los Angeles Plays Itself [doc]
2010 Get Out of the Car [doc]
2012 Reconversão [doc]

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