Films for Architects
I need to re-up my Netflix subscription. What am I supposed to watch now that American Idol is over? So, I think I’ll start renting some movies again. I don’t usually have the attention span required to sit through a 2-hour film. But, it has happened and it could happen again. So, let’s queue up some films. Now, as a black-turtle neck wearing architect type you might think I have pretty high-brow taste in films right? Well, let’s put it this way. While my wife was pregnant with our second child, we watched every single episode of Dawson’s Creek. We were watching it in the hospital room a few hours after he was born and for the first 6 months of his life he would turn towards the TV whenever he heard the opening theme. “I don’t wanna wait, for my life to be over….” So, yep, I have pretty high-brow taste. But, over the years, there have been a few films that stick with me. Maybe even some that helped define who I am as an Architect. Like maybe:
Third Man - Carol Reed, 1949
This is a black and white film noir masterpiece with striking images of a bombed-out Vienna. There’s a fantastic Ferris wheel. Orson Welles has the best first scene in a movie ever, as he steps out into the light with a cat at his feet half-way through the thing. But, most importantly, the sewers of Vienna are unbelievably beautiful.
Wings of Desire - Wim Wenders, 1987
3 languages AND subtitles, Angels that want to be human, trapezes, circuses, the Berlin wall, Angels hanging out in libraries, and on the tops of buildings, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, and most importantly – Peter Falk, sketching faces…
Fritzcarraldo - Werner Herzog, 1982
I don’t really understand why I love this movie, but I do. It’s probably the image of that boat in the jungle. A hapless business man in a white suit and straw hat decides to enlist the natives to push a boat over a hill. ‘Cause that’s a shortcut…. It all goes horribly wrong, and it takes a really, really long time. 2 ½ hours into the movie my wife yelled “Jesus, why don’t you just build a big wooden broad and F… her over the hill…” Nice… potty mouth.
Kafka - Steven Soderbergh, 1991
Two words – Prague and eyeball. The first half is in black and white, and it follows a young Kafka through the streets of Prague, always in lovely shadows. Prague is amazing. Then Kafka gets to the Castle, and the color flips on and it gets really weird. And, he walks across a giant eyeball on the floor. Very Kafkaesque…
The Matrix - Wachowski Brothers, 1999
Two words – Kea – nu.
Belly of an Architect - Peter Greenaway, 1987
Don’t watch this unless you “like” Peter Greenaway. And, if you “like” Greenaway – uh? eeeww. But, I think Brian Dennehy does the most accurate depiction of an Architect I’ve seen in a movie, probably, because he’s fat. I might identify with that. Trust me, most Architects are not the sexy black-turtle-neck-wearing-dreamboats you think we are. We sit down a lot. We’ve let ourselves go.
Solaris - Tarkovsky, 1972
I should say Stalker instead of Solaris. But, I haven’t seen Stalker. But Solaris, I’ve seen. There are Astronauts on a ship floating above a planet covered by a sea that may or not be “sentient”. They think it might be an enormous brain. People from their past (and/or their imagination) visit them on the ship and won’t go away. It slowly drives them insane. It is very good film. I love the disarray on the ship, The mess, The images of the swirling thinking sea below the ship. But holey crap it’s long. But kind of worth it for the last shot of the house from the air, when you realize that Kelvin isn’t home. He’s in a house that the sentient ocean constructed, on an island in the middle of the sea on the planet…
2001, The Shining, Blade Runner, Metropolis, Brazil, True Stories
So, what should I see next? Go ahead and shout out your favorites. I’ll add them to my Netflix queue; Just as soon as I get through the last season of the Gilmore Girls.