My Father The Genius (Documentary/Architecture)
C+†††† Sound: C+†††† Extras: B†††† Feature: B
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.
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.
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.
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