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(Japan, 1984, Hiroshi Teshigahara, 72 mins)
One of Japan’s greatest directors, Hiroshi Teshigahara (Women in the Dunes, The Face of Another), creates a symphonic ode to Catalan architect Gaudi’s work, immortalising the modernist on shimmering 35mm. Images of Gaudi’s organic forms meld in sensual mélange with the Barcelona context from which they were born, as the director unites the architecture and its inspiration into an undifferentiated whole.
Folk dances in Barcelona’s streets, Romanesque cloisters, brutal Catholic iconography and Monserrat mountain are montaged with Gaudí’s Park Güell, Casa Vicens, Casa Batlló, Casa Milà and more, before the film closes with extreme reverence upon the under construction Sagrada Familia.
Virtually dialogue free, with an astonishing soundtrack by avant garde composer and frequent collaborator Toru Takemitsu performing commentary instead, Teshigahara’s camera dances a duet of influence and exchange, in a meeting of auteurs.
"I have always been encouraged by the existence of such a rare genius architect like Antonio Gaudi in this world, and by the dignified fact that he erected such bold buildings. The thrill I received from Gaudí has a lot to do with the way I approach my art." – Hiroshi Teshigahara
In later life Teshigahara would move from film to the Japanese art of Ikebana, creating large-scale architectonic bamboo installations. In these constructions the influence of Gaudí’s work is unmistakable, closing a dialogue between the director and the architect so majestically presented in this film.