Saturday, May 19, 2007

Champagne, Swap Meets and Louis Kahn

What else to do when feeling blue, but open a bottle of Champagne? Not sure how, but it always cheers me a bit, something to do with bubbles I guess.

Went to a swap meet with Diane this morning, lots of booths filled with t-shirts and hand held water fans and visors and knock off handbags and iron wall hangings and turquoise jewelry. There was also some live music; a man in a toupee so horrible it would be cruel to describe it. He was playing Bob Dylan covers on a keyboard and would have been an ideal contestant on the Gong Show. We had lots of fun, bought a wallet and some domino games and a set of polka dotted luggage for me to fill with junk in China.

Came home and watched a documentary called “My Architect” about Louis Kahn. The documentary follows Kahn’s illegitimate son’s search for a way to understand his father and his father’s other lives. It was well done (Eric tells me it was nominated for an Oscar) but seemed to include a great deal of unnecessary footage. (Things like people being introduced to one another, or waiting for interviewees to arrive, or even the filmmaker making phone calls to set up interviews. These moments just didn’t help to move the story along, and were actually a bit irritating. Red Herrings don’t belong in non-fiction.)

What this film did do remarkably well, I thought, was to describe a man’s search for his father and to deal fully with the complexity of such a search. There is love and adoration for this absent father, but also frustration, loneliness, guilt and an overpowering sense of abandonment. So the massive buildings with geometrical flashes of light moving across their walls in time lapse photography become beautiful metaphors for an absent person who lives on in the imagination.

Lots to chew on. Watching all these documentaries help to give a sense for what we are trying to accomplish with our footage and offer different ideas on how to unfold a story. There are endless possibilities for how move and inform an audience, and our only hope is that we can create something which will do exactly that.

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