Antonio Gaudí

"Good"

Antonio Gaudí Review


Antonio Gaudí was a Spanish artist and architect who worked throughout Spain (most famously in Barcelona) through the late 1800s before falling into financial ruin and abandoning his career. He focused on what would be his masterpiece, Barcelona's La Sagrada Familia (an enormous, elaborate cathedral), but never finished it. Eventually he was run over by a streetcar and died days later, penniless. Still under construction, the hope is to have Sagrada completed by 2026, the 100th anniversary of Gaudí's death. Wow.

Despite Gaudí's fascinating life story, you won't find much of that in the documentary film that bears his name, a love poem from Japanese director Hiroshi Teshigahara. Teshigahara trains his camera on myriad Gaudí works, including the Palace of Catalan Music, schools and markets, private homes, apartment buildings, and of course the unfinished La Sagrada Familia. It's essentially a travelogue, nearly worldless and just 72 minutes long.

On that front, Teshigahara's film is the next best thing to a trip to Spain. There's no tour guide here, though, and it's something that Gaudí is sorely lacking. If you aren't already intimately familiar with Gaudí's work you'll be lost from frame one. The film doesn't even bother to explain who Gaudí is at all, assuming you'll be completely aware of all of Gaudí's creations when you sit down to watch. Teshigahara doesn't even offer so much as a title card to indicate the names of buildings you're looking at (thank God the DVD insert does). It's kind of like watching someone's vacation videos without having them there to narrate.

Fortunately, Gaudí's work speaks for itself. His designs, some of which look like coral reefs, sand castles, and miniaturized landscapes, are breathtaking. The man was truly an architectural genius and if you're at all interested in the topic at hand, you'll find this brief journey through Gaudí's oeuvre quite the little thrill.

Criterion presents this film in a done-up two-disc DVD edition, complete with a restored transfer and "new and improved" subtitles (which is kind of a joke; there are only about 10 sentences of dialogue in the whole film). A second disc greatly enhances the backstory, with a short film shot during Teshigahara's first trip to Spain in 1959, another short by Teshigahara about his sculptor father, and a BBC special on Gaudí, which offers all the info about the man that Teshigahara overlooks.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 72 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 5th March 1986

Distributed by: Kino International Corp.

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Fresh: 10

IMDB: 7.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Producer: Noriko Nomura

Also starring:

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