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Top 10 Architecture Movies for Architects

filmi dhe arkitektura

Top 10 Architecture Movies for Architects

In one of our previous articles, we wrote about architecture and cinema. Cinema is an art of perception. Architecture is the scenery of the cinema. Landscapes, houses, and cities consist the frames where filmmakers insert people, lives, and feelings. Film and the architecture share a dimension of living, that is, the space of one’s lived experiences. One of our questions was: Can we begin to use film and filmmaking processes to guide the architectural process by better understanding how film directors have manipulated the medium and the user, to create experiences in multi – dimensional space that have a lasting impact on our real world?

Thereupon we did a research on films where architecture plays the key role in the storytelling or forms the background of the stories of the people producing it, the architects. The following list is a selection of films that we think every architect or architecture student should see, including films suggested by you.

filmi dhe arkitektura
  1. The Fountainhead (1949)

The Fountainhead is an American film based on the novel by Ayn Rand.  The movie directed by King Vidor in 1949 and its scenario was again written by Ayn Rand. The main character in the movie is an architect and the director tried his best to shows the place of the architects in society. The movie has many scenes of modern architecture. Ayn Rand was influenced by the architect Frank Lloyd Wright when he was creating  the character Roark. Frank Lloyd Wright was well-known for his buildings such as the Waterfall House (1936) and the Johnson Wax apartment (1936-39).

Modernist architect Howard Roark, played by Gary Cooper, battles to stick to his ideal rather than conform to traditional aesthetics in black and white drama The Fountainhead.

2. Bladerunner (1982)

Set in the future – Los Angeles in 2019 – Bladerunner‘s sci-fi story of a bounty hunter tracking robot replicants is set against a neon backdrop of a dystopian city that pays homage to Fritz Lang’s metropolis.

Other visual and architectural influences on British director Ridley Scott included the sketches of futurist architect Antonio Sant’Elia, the industrial north east of England where Scott grew up, 1980s Hong Kong, French Métal Hurlant comics, and Edward Hopper’s Nighthawk.

3. My Architect: A Son’s Journey (2003) 

A documentary film about the American architect Louis Kahn (1901–1974), by his son Nathaniel Kahn, detailing the architect’s extraordinary career and his familial legacy after his death in 1974. The film features interviews with renowned architects, including B. V. Doshi, Philip Johnson, Frank Gehry, Shamsul Wares, I.M. PeiMoshe Safdie and Anne Tyng. Throughout the film, Kahn visits all of his father’s buildings including The Yale Center for British Art, The Salk Institute, Jatiyo Sangshad Bhaban and the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad.

4. Dogville (2003)

Dogville is an avant-garde crime revenge tragedy film written and directed by Lars von Trier, and starring an ensemble cast led by Nicole Kidman. A barren soundstage is stylishly utilized to create a minimalist small-town setting in which a mysterious woman named Grace (Nicole Kidman) hides from the criminals who pursue her. The town is two-faced and offers to harbor Grace as long as she can make it worth their effort, so Grace works hard under the employ of various townspeople to win their favor.

5. Inception (2010)

Inception is a US film of science fiction written and directed by Christopher Nolan. In the film, Christopher Nolan does not just make architecture a central theme; the whole story develops depending on the ability of architects to design buildings, neighborhoods and cities in other people’s dreams. Dom Cobb is a talented thief and his mission is to steal the most precious secrets by descending into the subconscious depths while he is dreaming at the most vulnerable moment of the mind. When Cobb says, “Always dream of new spaces” to the young architect Ariadne, Cobb offers us the reason to look at the invented worlds with curiosity. In the same scene, Ariadne’s tense subconscious makes some of Paris frantically folding on itself. From this point onwards, architectural sets are becoming increasingly familiar.

6. EAMES: The Architect and The Painter (2011)

Narrated by none other than James Franco, this vision of Charles and Ray Eames explores its great influence on the development of modernism, the rise of the information age, and his approach to running a creative unconventional work that created all kinds of mid-century furniture. The film also delves into his personal life, particularly the challenges of being a woman in a creative society dominated by males.

7. Snowpiercer (2013)

Snowpiercer is a science fiction action film based on the French graphic novel Le Transperceneige by Jacques Lob, Benjamin Legrand and Jean-Marc Rochette. The film was directed by Bong Joon-ho  and it takes place aboard the Snowpiercer train as it travels a globe-spanning track, carrying the last remnants of humanity after a failed attempt at climate engineering to stop global warming has created a new Snowball Earth. Chris Evans stars as Curtis Everett, one of the lower-class tail-section passengers, as they rebel against the elite of the front of the train. Filming took place at Barrandov Studios in Prague, using train car sets mounted on gimbals to simulate the train’s motion.

All of the series fans can see Snowpiercer in the 2020 production available on Netflix, based on the Bong Joon-ho movie.

8. Columbus (2017)

The film follows the son of a renowned architecture scholar who gets stranded in Columbus, Indiana, where his architect father is in a coma and strikes up a friendship with a young architecture enthusiast who works at the local library. This movie would be suitable to architecture fans. Among the famous Modernist buildings that feature in the film are the First Christian Church by Eliel Saarinen, the Irwin Union Bank, Miller House, and North Christian Church by Eliel’s son Eero Saarinen, and the Cleo Rogers Memorial Library by I. M. Pei.

9. Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

Blade Runner 2049, US-made science fiction movie directed by Denis Villeneuve and written by Hampton Fancher and Michael Green in 2017. The Blade Runner 2049 universe which takes place in a post-apocalyptic atmosphere and carries a dystopian narrative was designed inspired by a brutalist architecture. Brutalism is one of the most striking architectural trends of the 20th century.

10. Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things

MINIMALISM: A DOCUMENTARY ABOUT THE IMPORTANT THINGS examines the many flavors of minimalism by taking the audience inside the lives of minimalists from all walks of life—families, entrepreneurs, architects, artists, journalists, scientists, and even a former Wall Street broker—all of whom are striving to live a meaningful life with less.  People dedicated to rejecting the American ideal that things bring happiness are interviewed in this documentary showing the virtues of less is more. You can find it on Netflix.

Other films suggested by our followers are: Fahrenheit 451 – in two productions 1966 and 2018; The Truman Show – the commentator describes it as a very dystopian urban settlement associated with social problems; Parasite – to which we have dedicated a full article; Where’d you go, Bernadette; The great beauty; 12 Angry Men and above all the unique Metropolis.

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