425 Antonio Gaudí

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domino harvey
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425 Antonio Gaudí

#1 Post by domino harvey » Fri Dec 14, 2007 6:59 pm

Antonio Gaudí­

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Catalan architect Antonio Gaudí­ (1852-1926) designed some of the world's most astonishing buildings, interiors, and parks; Japanese director Hiroshi Teshigahara constructed some of the most aesthetically audacious films of the second half of the twentieth century. Here, their artistry melds in a unique, enthralling cinematic experience. Less a documentary than a visual poem, Teshigahara's Antonio Gaudí­ takes viewers on a tour of Gaudí­'s truly spectacular architecture, including his massive, still-unfinished masterpiece, the Sagrada Familia cathedral, in Barcelona. With camera work as bold and sensual as the curves of his subject's organic structures, Teshigahara immortalizes Gaudí­ on film.

Special Features

New, restored high-definition digital transfer
New video interview with architect Arata Isozaki
Gaudí­, Catalunya 1959, a short film by Hiroshi Teshigahara featuring footage from his first trip to Spain
Monitor: Antonio Gaudí­(1961), a short film essay by director Ken Russell
VITA, a short film by Teshigahara on the sculpture work of his father, Sofu Teshigahara
Original theatrical trailer
New and improved English subtitle translation
PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by art historian Dore Ashton, and reprinted writings by Hiroshi and Sofu

Criterionforum.org user rating averages


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colinr0380
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#2 Post by colinr0380 » Fri Dec 14, 2007 7:25 pm

Wow! Does anyone have any more information on the Ken Russell Monitor film (Lino or MichaelB?)

The Arata Isozaki site and Beaver review of the previous disc.
Last edited by colinr0380 on Mon Dec 17, 2007 3:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Cold Bishop
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#3 Post by Cold Bishop » Fri Dec 14, 2007 7:43 pm

Really? This is getting its own release? Well I'll be... I guess there goes my hope of a Criterion Rikyu or Man Without A Map anytime soon.

I might get it if only for the Ken Russell film.

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#4 Post by Cronenfly » Fri Dec 14, 2007 8:14 pm

Cold Bishop wrote:Really? This is getting its own release? Well I'll be... I guess there goes my hope of a Criterion Rikyu or Man Without A Map anytime soon.
Yeah, it's disappointing that this is (likely) the only other Teshigahara we get anytime soon. As Schreck said in a post elsewhere, it would've been nice to see this as a supplement to one of his other films instead of its own release.

It will be nice to see Gaudi get a decent transfer, though, as the Image DVD (the only DVD release in the world) is dire. And it shoud sell well to the architects who flood screenings of it (if I remember the post about that correctly).

Extras look average, and not enough to fill out a two-disc set (especially given the brevity of the main feature-it better have a kick-ass encoding). I enjoyed this a lot (even seeing it via the aforementioned crappy Image DVD), but perhaps not enough to take the dive.

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Lino
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#5 Post by Lino » Fri Dec 14, 2007 9:33 pm

colinr0380 wrote:Wow! Does anyone have any more information on the Ken Russell Monitor film (Lino or MichaelB?)
Not me. MichaelB is the real Russell savant around here. I'm just an enthusiast.
Cold Bishop wrote:I might get it if only for the Ken Russell film.
The documentary is worth it even if it didn't come with any extras with it. The Russell docu is icing on the top of a very good release all around!

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zedz
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#6 Post by zedz » Fri Dec 14, 2007 9:41 pm

Seems like a great release: three Teshigahara films and an early Russell sounds like plenty of value for money to me.

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Lino
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#7 Post by Lino » Fri Dec 14, 2007 9:53 pm

Here's to a Russell Monitors Eclipse! :D

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Cronenfly
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#8 Post by Cronenfly » Sat Dec 15, 2007 12:03 am

zedz wrote:Seems like a great release: three Teshigahara films and an early Russell sounds like plenty of value for money to me.
Do you know how considerable they are in terms of length? Quality is better, sure, but are the Teshigahara shorts and the Russell long (coupled with the other features) enough to justify the second disc/upper-tier price?

EDIT-I had me a look. The Russell-Monitor bit seems to be 15 minutes long and fairly straightforward. Here's a BFI screenonline entry about it.

I also found info on Sculptures by Sofu – Vita (1962, 11 mins), which is a wordless evocation of sculptures made by Teshigahara's father, layering images and sound effects to explore their sinuous forms, seen here.

I couldn't find any info on Gaudi, Catalunya 1959, but I found this on Senses of Cinema:
As early as 1959 [Teshigahara] had written of the impact of his first glimpse of Gaudi's cathedral:

Shortly after entering Barcelona, four grotesque steeples appeared before me. Their peaks seemed to domineer over the city shining with gold. I was struck with a sense of conviction. As I approached, the holes pierced in those four tense conical structures, just like a tremendously appealing demonic whisper, clutched me with force. What I was looking at was Gaudi's last masterpiece Sagrada Familia.
I know I shouldn't bitch about the features; I'm happy with the release as it stands, slight though it seems to be for a 2-disc/$40 title (it would seem that all the bonus features and the film could've fit on one disc as a $30 package). I was hoping for more, but this'll have to do.
Last edited by Cronenfly on Sat Dec 15, 2007 9:06 pm, edited 6 times in total.

eez28
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#9 Post by eez28 » Sat Dec 15, 2007 12:12 am

Some Russell fan site had this to say about the doc:

"About the Spanish architect. Huw Wheldon gives the commentary and it is a reasonable documentary with good photography of his buildings. There are interesting facts mentioned- Gaudi's hatred of flying buttresses, and that all his building were merely experiments for his cathedral. But it lacks any bite or excitement. 15 minutes."

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#10 Post by unclehulot » Sat Dec 15, 2007 8:05 pm

Lino wrote:Here's to a Russell Monitors Eclipse! :D
I actually suggested a Russell Eclipse back when they were soliciting ideas. The obvious choice would be the various composer films: Elgar, Delius, Bartok, Prokofiev, Debussy.........only Elgar & Delius are available on R2. We should all hit them with emails suggesting this now that there seems to be a door open on availability.

Meanwhile, I'm really looking forward to this release!

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Awesome Welles
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#11 Post by Awesome Welles » Fri Dec 21, 2007 6:30 am

I only just saw this! Wow I'm so pleased, can't wait for this. Bring on The Ruined Map!

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#12 Post by MichaelB » Sat Dec 22, 2007 4:25 am

Don't get too excited about the Russell short - you'd never guess the director if you didn't know in advance (which certainly isn't true of many of his other BBC films).

There's nothing wrong with it per se - it's a good, solid introduction to his work, and fully worthy of a BBC Monitor slot - but its visual flamboyance is entirely courtesy of Antoni rather than Ken.

But it's excellent news that Criterion has started trawling through Russell's BBC back catalogue, especially as the BFI releases of Elgar and Song of Summer are out of print.
unclehulot wrote:I actually suggested a Russell Eclipse back when they were soliciting ideas. The obvious choice would be the various composer films: Elgar, Delius, Bartok, Prokofiev, Debussy.........only Elgar & Delius are available on R2.
Not any more, sadly - the BFI's licensing deal expired earlier this year and proved impossible to renew. So grab those DVDs when you can, as I've no idea when/if they'll be reissued.

Incidentally, does anyone know what the situation would be regarding releasing Russell's Dance of the Seven Veils in the US?

In Europe, it's effectively banned until 2019, as the composer Richard Strauss died in 1949, and European copyright law requires his estate to grant permission for any screenings/distribution within 70 years of his death. And given that the film depicts him as a crazed sex-obsessed Nazi who was only in it for the money, such permission is unlikely to be granted any time soon.

But what's the situation on the other side of the Atlantic?

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Lemmy Caution
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#13 Post by Lemmy Caution » Sat Dec 22, 2007 10:51 am

MichaelB wrote:But what's the situation on the other side of the Atlantic?
Crazed sex-obsessed Nazis -- only in it for the oil and war profits -- are still running the country.

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#14 Post by What A Disgrace » Fri Jan 18, 2008 9:00 am

The following bit was added to the specs:

- Visions of Space: Antonio Gaudí, a one-hour documentary on the architect's life and work

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pauling
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#15 Post by pauling » Fri Jan 18, 2008 12:30 pm

Great news on the added extra. I'm eagerly looking forward to devouring this set. I loved the Teshigahara boxset and can't wait to see more of his work but I also must admit to having more than a passing interest in architecture, in general, so this release seems fantastic.

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#16 Post by domino harvey » Fri Jan 18, 2008 1:32 pm

What A Disgrace wrote:The following bit was added to the specs:

- Visions of Space: Antonio Gaudí, a one-hour documentary on the architect's life and work
A wise inclusion, now it's starting to feel closer to a justified release

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#17 Post by colinr0380 » Sat Mar 01, 2008 9:54 pm

The DVD Beaver review has been updated.

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#18 Post by colinr0380 » Mon Mar 17, 2008 5:07 pm

What A Disgrace wrote:The following bit was added to the specs:

- Visions of Space: Antonio Gaudí, a one-hour documentary on the architect's life and work
Just for completeness the Gaudí documentary was the third in the Visions of Space series. The first two documentaries focused on Albert Speer and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

DVD Talk review

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#19 Post by Antoine Doinel » Mon Apr 07, 2008 11:08 pm

Caught a screening of this tonight -- and it was also my first Teshigahara film -- and I thought it was very good. Teshigahara really captures the organic quality and erotic power of Gaudi's works with little more than tracking and still shots. The only thing that didn't work at all for me were the more contemporary portions of Toru Takemitsu's score. Too often they sounded like bad, 80s experimental "synth music". The score has dated really badly and is obtrusive in many places when the focus needs to be Gaudi's works.

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#20 Post by Gigi M. » Thu May 15, 2008 8:51 am

The lack of love for this film surprises me. What a great film experience. Definitely on of the best hour one can spend getting lost throughout beautiful images and sound.

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#21 Post by psufootball07 » Thu May 15, 2008 9:01 am

Having been to the Sagrada Familia, I LOVE this film too. Truly breathtaking, but definitely agree that the score wasnt very fitting in many instances.

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#22 Post by unclehulot » Fri May 16, 2008 9:12 pm

Antoine Doinel wrote: The only thing that didn't work at all for me were the more contemporary portions of Toru Takemitsu's score. Too often they sounded like bad, 80s experimental "synth music". The score has dated really badly and is obtrusive in many places when the focus needs to be Gaudi's works.
Oh well, I thought Takemitsu's score was one of the better examples of this type of thing. While nothing like Takemitsu's music for the concert hall, it's not terribly like his other film scores either, so I enjoyed the fact that he was trying something new. Perhaps the late hour which TCM aired it last year contributed to the effect it had on me!

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gaudi

#23 Post by ezmbmh » Fri Jun 06, 2008 3:26 pm

Interested if there are any reactions subsequent to the above. Deciding whether to add this to my already groaning cart for the sales, am wondering if it's a curio, part documentary, part film worth seeing on its own merit--or better, both.

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#24 Post by Saturnome » Fri Jun 06, 2008 3:45 pm

I didn't liked the score. Mostly the kind of slowed down glass harmoncia sound that plays during almost the whole thing.
But I can say that it's a sure choice for anyone interested in Gaudì. Who's not?

Nobody cares: I have seen the movie with one person snoring next to me, and two people behind me commenting everything they saw on the screen; "It's beautiful", "Oh, I like that" "it's the Sagrada Familia in the background!", surely my worst screening experience to date.

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#25 Post by jbeall » Thu Jul 17, 2008 11:46 pm

I was pleasantly surprised--a very nice contemplative experience, and didn't last too long. (I sound so bourgeois, I know!). I've been to Barcelona, but the only thing I saw that I knew was Gaudi's was the Sagrada Familia. So much of his stuff is wonderful, and since my girlfriend was working just a few feet away, I had to turn down the volume and so the score wasn't intrusive.

I was a little sketchy on this film's inclusion in the collection, but I'm very glad I saw it.

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