Subtitled “a 3D film project about the soul of buildings,” “Cathedrals of Culture” is a program of six films by noted filmmakers that first premiered in Berlin in 2014 to raptures of acclaim. “An idealistic, high-minded meditation on architecture, the public space and the life of the mind,” wrote The Guardian. “One of the most fervent hymns to architecture ever sung,” said THR.
“Cathedrals of Culture” finally gets its stateside release on May 1, exclusively at the IFC Center in two parts. Select screenings will include Q&As with architects and experts in the field. Originally conceived by Wim Wenders, who directed a vignette on the uber-modern Berlin Philharmonic, “Cathedrals” also profiles a science center, the world’s “most humane” prison and other cultural institutions. Since “Pina” (2011), Wenders has continued to push into 3D, with “Cathedrals” and his 2015 Berlinale redemption drama “Every Thing Will Be Fine.”
More tone poem than documentary, a la Hiroshi Teshigahara’s 1985 film on Catalan architect “Antonio Gaudí,” “Cathedrals” reflects on why these buildings linger in the cultural consciousness. Trailer, and images, below. In addition to the Wenders segment, the film includes:
-Robert Redford directs a segment on the The Salk Institute in La Jolla California, designed by the legendary Louis Kahn.
-Danish filmmaker Michael Madsen (Sundance 2015’s “The Visit”) examines the Halden Prison—called the world’s most humane prison—in Norway.
-Late Austrian filmmaker Michael Glawogger, who captured the rhythms of lives both ordinary and extreme in “Workingman’s Death,” “Megacities” and more, delves into the National Library of Russia in St. Petersburg.
-Norwegian director Margreth Olin (“The Angel”) looks at Oslo’s Opera House.
-Brazilian director Karim Aïnouz (“Futuro Beach”), a longtime resident of Germany, dissects the famed Centre Pompidou in Paris.
Variety: “If Walt Disney can delight children by making forest animals talk, who’s to stop Wenders from entertaining adults by anthropomorphizing six of the world’s most magnificent modern structures?”