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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Architecture > Family > My Father The Genius (Documentary/Architecture)

My Father The Genius (Documentary/Architecture)


Picture: C+†††† Sound: C+†††† Extras: B†††† Feature: B



With a title as bold as My Father The Genius, you might expect a pretentious documentary with little to offer, but Lucia Smallís look at the amazing and amazingly ignored career of architect Glen Howard Small tells us much about the man and his output that is innovative, revolutionary, highly environmental, very functional and still ahead of its time.Unfortunately, with all this in his head, it caused serious complications with his ability to be personable and emotionally available to his family, thus this powerful 84 minutes.


Finished in 2005, it was not made long after the also-impressive My Architect Ė A Sonís Journey (reviewed elsewhere on this site) but somehow manages to be even more engaging as we see a creative arc still not having peaked by a mortal man who still has not found the personal breakthrough of connection and that they sadly are two aspects that cannot help each other to find fruition.Lucia is amazing in being able to be so clever in her impeccably journalistic success in showing what her father achieved artistically, how he never got rich off of it (while possibly may have been plagiarized in the process) and how there is love for people in his work that does not always find itself coming so easily from him.


All that without any melodrama is hard enough in fiction, let alone fact, but thatís why this was such a pleasant surprise and is highly recommended, though I wish it was twice as long, because it is far more interesting that The Royal Tenenbaums.


The 1.33 X 1 was shot on standard digital video and it shows, but looks pretty good with those limits, helped by the generous plethora of stills and stock footage including a film Glen made about a car of the future that reminded me of Donald Fagen (of Steely Dan) and his second solo album Kamakiriad.Some of the images fly by so much that you get the impression Lucia is having troubles with or does not want to deal with the creations that she may rightly feel came between her and her father.


The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo is not bad, has not surrounds and varies in quality when you consider the older audio form older footage.Still, all is nicely edited despite some rushed parts.Extras include a Genius II teaser, stills with narration, major architects discussing the relevance of Glenís work, father/daughter interview, Super-8mm film on Glenís Biomorphic Biosphere, and a fine installment about the release from The Sundance Channelís series Aftereffect.What a great set of extras!



-†† Nicholas Sheffo


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