A tribute by late Japanese director Hiroshi Teshigahara to the Catalan architect, ceramist and sculptor, Antonio Gaudi, this movie is a remarkable collection of the whimsical works of the architect gracing the city of Barcelona. 

No straight lines and no surface left without any texture is how we can identify Antonio Gaudi’s work in the crowd. A tribute by late Japanese director Hiroshi Teshigahara to the Catalan architect, ceramist and sculptor, Antonio Gaudi, this movie is a remarkable collection of the whimsical works of the architect gracing the city of Barcelona. 

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It is a visual tour through the architect’s incredible works and buildings. Along with the gorgeous mind-blowing gallery of videos and still photographs, the inclusion of his sketches, archival images and blueprints make it more engaging and captivating. 

As he said, “Everything comes from the greatest book of nature. Human attainments are an already printed book.” Indeed, not only are his designs unique but also borrow the flowing and organic nature of natural elements into dreamlike structures. 

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Antonio Gaudi’s works during that period have had an influential role in various kinds of art forms and films. Many documentaries also featured his works. This documentary by Teshigahara is an exemplary work doing complete justice to Gaudi’s style of designing and thought process. Antonio Gaudi’s distinctive style of working with building facades and interiors makes his projects stand out from the crowd. The use of material in raw forms and the malleability of design make him a genius mastermind of his time. 

In today’s time, we don’t know when we will be able to travel freely anytime soon. Being an enthusiastic traveler and architect, not only does this documentary remind me of my college lectures about this great architect but also evoke the urge to travel and visit these exceptional structures and witness these beauties live! It gives us an insight of what Europe has to offer related to Gaudi’s works. 

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There is no denying that visual learning goes a long way, but the absence of dialogue, context, and any related information in this documentary was quite appropriate. A soothing sound in the background teleports us to the fairyland Antonio Gaudi created during his time. But not much help to students looking for informative documentaries for tests and assignments, as Teshigahara believes that the visuals explain it all. Peeking through the streets, sensual designs gracing the city of Barcelona make us not believe our eyes for a moment. 

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The background sounds used by Teshigahara enhance the visuals moving on the screen. The alien curves, vaulted ceilings, hypnotic overlay of organic contours over the Art Nouveau style are backed by spooky and haunting soundscapes, giving the timeless works of Gaudi a much-appreciated recognition.  

No doubt that the absence of narrative and commentary is quite an exemplary move, but the presence of the same would have been an open portal for a much larger audience. The unusual and bizarre sounds given by Toru Takemitsu, a Japanese composer, complement the design style and cinematography yielding an exquisite result.   

This film gives you a very close and deep insight to Antonio Gaudi’s projects, reminiscing the times while these structures took shape. People living around such an exceptionally beautiful built environment must find themselves so lucky to be experiencing the genius minds works!

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Some people not aware of Antonio Gaudi and his works might find this documentary a little puzzling. From Casa Mila, Casa Botines, Casa Vicens Gaudi, Gaudi’s Crypt, Park Guell, Palau Guell to Sagrada Familia, all the buildings captured in the documentary have their aura and beauty, leaving you awe-struck at every moment. What’s more beautiful about this short documentary is that it depicts the true essence of architecture, which is defined when a built structure is used by the public and has seen the wrath of time. It is the descent of time on the structures and usage by humans which determines the success of sensational works and Teshigahara truly put light onto that part as well!

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CONCLUSION

This is not a typical documentary one is accustomed to experience. Accompanied solely by music, the tales of Antonio Gaudi’s building are told through visuals and archival records. Though it is interesting a person having no information about the architect will quite probably have the same notion after viewing it as much context, facts, and related required data is one missing point I believe. 

It is a beautiful film, very ordinary and minimalistic but loaded with visual records hard to find on the World Wide Web. Architects and architecture enthusiasts who might have some background information about Gaudi are more likely to be engrossed in it and lost in the whimsical world of his works. 

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After watching this documentary, if I get to visit Barcelona anytime soon, I am surely going to relate to the graphics and archival images shown in the documentary. Overall, it is a very nice compilation by Teshigahara.

Simran Kaur
Author

Simran Kaur is a creative individual who has just begun to explore her writing potential into the field of architectural journalism. When not making architectural drawings, her passion about writing makes her fill her little notebooks with poems. Connect with her to find out more about her mysteries!

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