Perret in France and Algeria

Lauded artist-filmmaker Heinz Emigholz (Schindler’s Houses) offers an exquisite excursus on the work of pioneering French architect Auguste Perret, including privileged views of his innovative concrete structures in Algeria and such magnificent landmarks as Paris’ Art Deco Théâtre des Champs Elysées. (TIFF)

Goff in the Desert

In this creative documentary, filmmaker Heinz Emigholz presents a series of filmed photographs of the work of the exceptionally inventive American architect Bruce Goff (1904-1982), who was apprenticed at age 12 but never formally educated as an architect. His work, mostly churches and private homes, displays a unique style that sets it apart from most 20th century architecture. The Episcopal Church in Tulsa built in the 1920s is a towering Art Deco icon, while the Hopewell Baptist Church in Edmond resembles a strange futuristic concrete teepee challenging the landscape. Bruce Goff is the great unknown of an original American form of architecture. Through his photo-driven style, Emigholz brilliantly exposes details of Goff’s structures that might otherwise be missed, making these fascinating artifacts even more intriguing.

Sense of Architecture

A passage through modern civilised life by way of 42 architectural projects in Austria and elsewhere. From a church belfry to a kindergarten, pharmacy, housing project etc. and finally to a crematorium and adjoining columbarium. A minimalist twentieth-century epic.

Schindler’s Houses

Both a beguiling meditation on the aesthetic of a city and a loving tribute to a great architect, Heinz Emigholz’s documentary examines urban Los Angeles through the houses of Austrian-American architect Rudolph Schindler. Eschewing the documentary conventions of voice-over narration and archival photos, Emigholz mixes artfully composed images of more than 40 Schindler creations with an ambient soundscape to produce a singular viewing experience.

Parabeton – Pier Luigi Nervi und Römischer Beton

The third autobiography in the series deals with modern architecture. For the grand finale, he covers a broad historical spectrum: PARABETON tells of the great Roman concrete buildings from the start of the Common Era and compares them with Pier Luigi Nervi’s work, the Italian master of concrete construction. As concrete can be made into many different shapes, the buildings and the domes, slopes and spiral staircases they contain have an innovative, seminal quality. Those familiar with Emigholz’s work will note that the skewed camera angles used in the past are replaced by straight-on views. Moreover, the ancient constructions seem more dynamic than those of the last century. Almost devoid of people, the images we know from his preceding films make the ruins from the 1930s to the 70s, the familiar cement constructions of daily life with their play of light and shadow or even the Pope’s Audience Hall appear more ghostly than the famous sights of the ancient world.

The Airstrip – Decampment of Modernism, Part III

In the 21st part of his Photography and beyond series, Heinz Emigholz projects as usual a series of structures into our brains and from there on to the screen: Airports, motorways and bus stops; department stores, market halls and warehouses; churches, cathedrals, sculptures and monuments. And a prison, a stadium, an embassy, a semi-detached house. These far-flung architectural works generate a frame story: The ephemeral, capitalistic, religiously melancholy and moralising world gets caught up in its own sense of purpose with far reaching consequences. Even after the atom bomb is dropped, as narrated by a vaguely familiar voice, the viewer waits for the documentary framing of an architectural design. Yet this frame does not exist, perhaps it never even did. What we have before us is a flat screen, with the illustrations from advertising circulars floating across the image as proof. Front and back merge to form the actual spatial and temporal construction, whose architect is none other than the viewers themselves. [Synopsis courtesy of Berlinale]