Sketches of Frank Gehry documentary (2005)

"What's so hot about Frank Gehry?" Pollack asks in the opening narration, anticipating the average viewer's skepticism about the purpose of such a movie. "What's the big deal?"

The buildings Gehry has designed are the best answer to that question, and Pollack shows plenty of them, including his masterpiece, Bilbao's Guggenheim Museum. (Frank Gehry page on Wikipedia) While most architects deal with straight lines and easily defined geometric shapes, Gehry favors bizarre curves, twists and oddly proportioned shapes, an exciting blend of form and function. A regular building is a police artist's sketch. A Frank Gehry building is a Picasso painting.

Gehry himself, born Ephraim Goldberg in 1929 (he changed to the less Jewish "Gehry" in the '50s at the behest of his then-wife), comes across as a garrulous, likable old crank, not the loony eccentric you'd expect from viewing his work. He's pragmatic and realistic about his designs and the way they're perceived, mindful of his critics (though he tries not to be) and always aware that a building must be useful in addition to being beautiful.

The film itself is straightforward and functional, following Gehry around in his work but avoiding any particular "plot." We see him build scale models with his assistants, while interviews with admirers (and even a detractor or two) fill out the details.

Via world architecture news podcasts

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