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O.M.A REM KOOLHAAS (Netherlands, 1985, Dir. Jef Cornelis 76 min)
A feature length interview with Koolhaas from the beginning of his career, by Dutch pioneer of the interface between television and culture, Jef Cornelis. Ten years after setting up OMA with Madelon Vriesendorp and Elia and Zoe Zenghelis, the practice had still not built anything – despite major and widely reported conceptual experiments, competition entries and as yet unrealised commissions.
In a black room, lit by the bulb of the slide-projector, Rem presents his early provocative projects, including the Berlin Wall-inspired Exodus (1972), the fable of the Floating Swimming Pool (1978), and the satirical Welfare Palace Hotel (1975-6). Over models and drawings, Rem then talks us candidly through his intense design work, and multiple setbacks, on OMA’s first commissions, such as The Netherlands Dance Theatre and urban planning for Amsterdam Noord, none of which had yet been realised.
Throughout the film the rigor of Rem’s thinking takes centre stage, mirrored through Cornelis’ editing into a monologue of fierce and relentless intelligence – a guide to Koolhaas as the architect of a radical “intellectual multinational”.