Summer cinema: films that bring us closer to architecture
Summer is always the perfect time to relax, unwind, and of course, enjoy a summer movie night outdoors.
At Enero Arquitectura we have decided to take this opportunity to recommend some films related to architecture: from classic films of the 1940s to the most current indie films.
THE FOUNTAINHEAD, A CLASSIC INSPIRED BY THE LIFE OF FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT
In film, there are not only movies that are entertaining, but also captivating. The film The Fountainhead, directed by King Vidor and released in 1949, is based entirely on the 1943 novel of the same name written by Ayn Rand.
The film introduces us to Howard Roark, a brilliant and passionate architect who confronts social conventions and struggles to maintain his creative integrity. In addition to finding inspiration in Frank Lloyd Wright for her protagonist, Ayn Rand also wanted to include the architect’s designs in the film. Wright asked for so much money that the studios had to scrap the idea.
Architecture plays a central role in The Fountainhead, as it becomes a tangible expression of Roark’s personality and vision. His innovative and revolutionary approach clashed with the conservative mentality of the time, represented by architects and critics who defended classicism. This film has succeeded in showing the importance of architecture as a means of communication and its ability to challenge established norms.
The modern, avant-garde aesthetics of the buildings presented in the film, combined with the breathtaking cityscapes, reinforce the central message of the plot. What is innovative and groundbreaking conflicts with what is classic and conservative. In addition, the film invites us to reflect on the relationship between architecture and society, raising questions about the responsibility of architects for the well-being and happiness of the people who inhabit the spaces they create.
A WALK THROUGH MODERN ARCHITECTURE, HAND IN HAND WITH COLUMBUS
Columbus was Korean director Kogonada’s debut feature, released in 2017, and almost instantly became a symbol of current indie cinema. It tells a story where architecture is intertwined with chance encounters and unexpected emotional connections.
Columbus is set in the city of Columbus, Indiana, known for its rich modern architecture. The film follows Casey, a young librarian, and Jin, a Korean-American translator who visits the city because of a complicated family situation. In 1964, the Saturday Evening Post magazine renamed Columbus “The Athens of the Plains” because of its treasure trove of modern architecture. Between 1954 and 1970, roughly two masterpieces of modern architecture were built there every year. In 1942, Eliel Saarinen designed the First Christian Church in Columbus. This was the cornerstone of an architectural legacy that includes such names as I. M. Pei, Eero Saarinen, Richard Meiero, and Robert Venturi.
In the film, buildings become silent but powerful characters that influence the story. The attention to architectural detail and the way it is illuminated and framed on screen creates a visually captivating experience.
VISITING MR. HULOT’S HOUSE IN MON ONCLE (MY UNCLE)
Cinema is a medium that has tried to explore the relationship between architecture and society, and a perfect example of this is Jacques Tati’s film Mon Oncle (My Uncle). Through satire and humour, Mon Oncle takes a critical look at modern architecture and its impact on everyday life.
This film presents the life of Mr. Hulot, a charismatic and clumsy character who navigates a modern, technological world. Much of the satire focuses on modern architecture and its obsession with efficiency and minimalist aesthetics. The buildings with their straight lines and austere geometry represent a humorous contrast to the chaotic and disorderly life of the characters.
Buildings become labyrinths of glass and concrete that disconnect people from each other and their surroundings. Through comic exaggeration, Mon Oncle questions the true functionality of these designs and their impact on people’s quality of life.
The film does not only limit itself to criticism, but also shows the beauty and charm of what is traditional and authentic. The old neighbourhoods, with their narrow streets and picturesque houses, are places where human relationships and emotional connection flourish. These contrasts between old and new highlight the importance of balancing functionality and design with warmth and humanity