24th SEPTEMBER at 8.30pm
CATHEDRALS OF CULTURE – 3D, (2014), 145m
Wim Wenders, Michael Glawogger, Michael Madsen, Robert Redford, Margreth Olin and Karim Ainouz
If buildings could talk, what would they say about us? Cathedrals of Culture, a six part collection of films recently premiered at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival, “offers six startling responses to this question”. The project, filmed entirely in 3D, allows “six iconic and very different buildings to speak for themselves, examining human life from the unblinking perspective of a manmade structure”. Buildings “are material manifestations of human thought and action: the Berlin Philharmonic, an icon of modernity; the National Library of Russia, a kingdom of thoughts; Halden Prison, the world’s most humane prison; the Salk Institute, a scientific monastery on the California coast; the Oslo Opera House, a futuristic symbiosis of art and life; and the Centre Pompidou, a modern culture machine.” How does each of these landmarks reflect our culture and guard our collective memory?
Six acclaimed filmmakers bring their own visual style and artistic approach to the project with six unique buildings:
The Berlin Philharmonic by WIM WENDERS
Wim Wenders’ The Berlin Philharmonic takes an intimate look at a groundbreaking building whose significance transcends the realm of music and culture. Rising out of the desolation of World War II, not only was it the first concert hall where the stage was placed at the center of the auditorium, in the early sixties, it stood alongside the Berlin Wall—two iconic structures offering completely disparate views of the future: one of inclusion and possibility, the other of exclusion and fear. Fifty years later, it is Hans Scharoun’s Philharmonic that remains standing. In The Berlin Philharmonic, the viewer comes to know the building through the eyes and ears of its occupants, each of whom have a profound connection to the space.
Since 1814, the walls of the National Library of Russia in St. Petersburg, designed by Yegor Sokolov, have been guarding a kingdom of thoughts that goes back much further than the building. In contrast, beyond the library’s walls lies a world that has grown increasingly reliant on invisible clouds of data to store human knowledge. In The National Library of Russia, Michael Glawogger allows the library to speak through chosen excerpts of its finest literature—powerful reminders of the ephemeral beauty of books, their shelters, and their human protectors.
Norway’s Halden Prison, designed by Danish architectural firm EMA, was described as “the world’s most humane prison” by TIME Magazine. But can a prison be truly humane? Michael Madsen’s Halden Prison demonstrates the paradox of a building that is meant to contain and punish dangerous convicts, yet has barless windows, panoramic views of breathtaking nature, and offers its denizens a unique imitation of “normal life.” As Madsen explains, “The ideal of architecture is to have no boundaries between the inside and outside … and a prison has to do the exact opposite.”
The Salk Institute by ROBERT REDFORD
Directed by acclaimed actor, film director, producer, and environmentalist Robert Redford,The Salk Institute meditates on architect Louis Kahn’s masterpiece: sharp, modernist angles juxtaposed with the infinity of the California coast. “The building itself is very Euclidean, it’s very geometric,” explains Redford. “I wanted to try this because the 3D experience could help to enhance the romanticizing of those angles.” Set to the music of Moby, the film urges a larger conversation about the existential qualities of a space—can a building influence and inspire those who work within its walls?
When the Oslo Opera House, designed by Snøhetta, arrived on the Norwegian city’s struggling waterfront in 2008, it completely transformed the neighborhood. Directed by Margreth Olin, The Oslo Opera House documents the thousand of feet crossing the building’s snow-white roof each day and the hundreds of professionals below: a dramatization of the symbiosis between art and life. “I think that 3D has an emotional aspect and I was interested in exploring it in a different way than I have seen before,” says Olin. In the film, the camera focuses on people, on their faces and bodies, on their relation to the building rather than on the building itself.
Architecturally, this futuristic mecca of culture—designed by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers in 1977—has a great affinity to 3D: transparency, independent colorful volumes, and an exposed structure that gives viewers the sensation of floating through the body of the building. But it is the Parisian landmark’s striking similarity to an airport that drives the narrative of Centre Pompidou. The film imagines a day in the life of the Centre, starting in its main hall—an arrivals and departures hall brimming with excitement—and going on a voyage into the rich, complex, and challenging world of present-day culture.
The film will have a 30minutes brake at 22h for a snack and drink.
Venue: Cinema City Alvalade, Sala3