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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Art > My Architect - A Son's Journey (Documentary)

My Architect – A Son’s Journey (Documentary)


Picture: C+     Sound: B-     Extras: C+     Documentary: B



One man goes out to reconstruct the life of his father, but for Nathaniel Khan, his father was the brilliant architect Louis I. Kahn.  My Architect – A Son’s Journey (2003) is a new documentary that offers Nathaniel’s search for who his father was, why they did not have a better relationship, clarity on his dying at a train station in 1974 and meeting the people who knew him and his legacy.  This includes family and a few architects, like Edmond Bacon.


Filled with valuable new interviews and some vintage footage, Nathaniel ambitiously travels all over to find out the truth and unveil more about his father than hardly anyone has known before.  Louis left behind several children with three different mothers and was heading for bankruptcy at his untimely death.  The tale gets odder as it gets sadder, but it is always intriguing and it gives us some interesting ideas about how he came up with his designs.  He was Jewish, but was trying to find something more broadly spiritual.  He was original, but thought little was original and what he did was based on what already existed.  He left his mark, yet at least a dozen of his projects never saw the light of day.  If it were any worse, it would be bittersweet, but the man left a legacy and lived a long life.  Nathaniel was his only son, who also visits some of the relatives.  Not enough programs are done on architects or architecture, but this one works and is a winner.


The full frame 1.33 X 1 image was shot on a digital version of NTSC video and includes some filmed footage from the past, plus the usual stills.  This looks good and despite a theatrical release, this version comes off the tape, not film, saving it from being a generation more down.  One late scene shows Nathaniel brought a motion picture camera as well.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo has Pro Logic surrounds and was released theatrically in Dolby’s SR (Spectral Recording) analog system.  It has good playback considering much of this was taped on the spot.  It performs well enough.


Extras include a very nicely produced book inside the DVD case with a translucent cover, plus a pullout timeline of Kahn’s life and achievements.  On the DVD itself, the trailer for this and four other New Yorker titles are included, plus a question and answer piece with Nat Kahn with rare extra footage and deleted scenes from the program are included, split into eleven chapters.  The son looking for father is a cliché at this point, but this real life version avoids that by default.  This took five years to make and it shows.  My Architect – A Son’s Journey is a must-see documentary.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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