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Antonio Gaudi (The Criterion Collection)

3.9 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Catalan architect Antonio Gaudí (1852 1926) designed some of the world s most astonishing buildings, interiors, and parks; Japanese director Hiroshi Teshigahara constructed some of the most aesthetically audacious films of the second half of the twentieth century. Here, their artistry melds in a unique, enthralling cinematic experience. Less a documentary than a visual poem, Teshigahara s ANTONIO GAUDI takes viewers on a tour of Gaudí s truly spectacular architecture, including his massive still-unfinished masterpiece, the Sagrada Familia cathedral, in Barcelona. With camerawork as bold and sensual as the curves on his subject s organic surfaces, Teshigahara immortalizes Gaudí on film.

Special Features
* - New, restored high-definition digital transfer
* - New video interview with architect Arata Isozaki
* - Gaudí, Catalunya 1959, a short film by Hiroshi Teshigahara featuring footage from his first trip to Spain
* - Monitor: Antonio Gaudí (1961), a short film essay by director Ken Russell
* - VITA, a short film by Teshigahara on the sculpture work of his father, Sofu Teshigahara
* - Original theatrical trailer
* - New and improved English subtitle translation
* - PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by art historian Dore Ashton, and reprinted writings by Hiroshi and Sofu

Additional Features

At 72 minutes, Hiroshi Teshigahara's hypnotic Antonio Gaudí ranks among the shorter films to receive the Criterion Collection's hallowed two-disc treatment. The original trailer and a restored and re-subtitled edition of the experimental documentary take up the first disc, while the second houses a wealth of enlightening extras. Silent 16mm footage titled Gaudí, Catalunya, 1959 serves as a sketch for the film-to-come (and includes a visit with Gaudí enthusiast Salvador Dalí). Then, architect/art director Arata Isozaki (Teshigahara's The Face of Another) talks about the filmmaker's formidable father, Sofu, and Japanese interest in the Spanish mystic. In God's Architect, part of the BBC’s 2003 architectural series Visions of Space, famously unstuffy art critic Robert Hughes describes the contradictory Gaudí as radical, subversive, arrogant, and ascetic. As he puts it, Gaudí's Barcelona commissions, notably life-long project Sagrada Família, range from raw and primitive to sexy and immensely sophisticated. Ken Russell (The Devils) directs the second Beeb supplement, a 1961 Monitor segment on the architect. The special features conclude with Teshigahara's trippy 1963 short, Sculptures by Sofu-Vita and a 36-page booklet of essays, remembrances, and photographs. The only thing missing: a profile of composer Toru Takemitsu, whose inventive score is an integral part of the main feature. This double-disc collection pays tribute to two men, director Hiroshi Teshigahara (1927-2001) and architect Antonio Gaudí (1852-1926), products of different cultures--both masters of their chosen professions. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Special Features

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • New and improved English subtitle translation
  • New video interview with architect Arata Isozaki
  • Footage from director Hiroshi Teshigahara's first trip to Spain
  • Sculptures by Sofu- Vita, a short film by Teshigahara on the sculpture of his father
  • A program on Gaudi by director Ken Russell
  • Booklest featuring essay by art historian Dore Ashton
  • Visions of Space: "God's Architect", a 1-hour BBC special

Product Details

  • Actors: Isidro Puig Boada, Seiji Miyaguchi
  • Directors: Hiroshi Teshigahara
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, Full Screen, NTSC, Restored, Subtitled
  • Language: Japanese (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: March 18, 2008
  • Run Time: 72 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0011U3OAG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,429 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Antonio Gaudi (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
This is a great tour through the works of the brilliant, one-of-a-kind architect Antonio Gaudi. Find some pictures of his work on the net, and, if you're impressed, you'll like this movie. The cinematography is perfect, tracking and panning slowly over his work, so you can take it in. As if Gaudi's work wasn't enough, it also features music by the great Toru Takemitsu, who is the ultimate tour guide, much better than the narrator a lesser documentary on Gaudi might have provided. Instead of rattling off information, Takemitsu offers mood and atmosphere to compliment Gaudi's visuals perfectly. Together they offer a haunting, hallucinatory experience.
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A well-crafted film that provides a tantalizing glimpse of some of Gaudi's most famous work. With the exception of a brief interview with one of Gaudi's contemporaries, there is no narrative or dialogue. Rather, the film is a riveting visual feast; excellent cinematography with a unique musical score that complements the architecture shown. Occasional English sub-titles identify buildings, locations and dates of construction. The film opens with a brief look at the culture of Spain in the medieval period through its art and architecture, establishing a background against which to juxtapose Gaudi's radical departure from the historical past. Little is told of Gaudi's life; instead this film concentrates on some of his more notable work and does so brilliantly. It leaves one wanting more...much more! Who was this man? How did he do it? What else did he design? This feast for the eyes and ears can be understood easily by non-English speakers. Highly recommended!
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Format: DVD
When I first saw this film, I did not know what to expect. One thing is there is no dialogue, just footage of the glorious city of Barcelona and the effect Gaudi's work had on the place. It's beautiful, surreal and an extremely awe inspiring experience to view it all on film. There is a depth to this film which words cannot convey, only seeing this film can one appreciate Gaudi and the city of Barcelona. A city imbued with enormous beauty and creative genius. One can feel great pride for the Catalan people by just his (Gaudi's) example alone. Well worth your time to see!
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Format: DVD
For those used to the more linear approach to documentaries seen in American and European docs, this 1984 film will come as either a revelation or a bore (see one of the below reviews). But the director, Hiroshi Teshigahara--who had previously made several films with the composer Toru Takemitsu (all based on the writing of Kobo Abe)--here takes an unusual approach to the documentary, almost completely eschewing voiceover or any linear narrative perspective to instead immerse the viewer in the brilliance that was Antonio Gaudi.

Some people know Gaudi was the architect who designed and built highly original cathedrals (principally the Sagrada Familia) and other buildings in Barcelona. But what they may not know is that he was also a ceramics artist and a sculptor. Teshigahara lovingly and meticulously guides and glides us through the surreal archiect's work, comprising not only the aforementioned structures, but also buttresses, apartment building exteriors and interiors both, gates, ceilings, and all manner of unusual and strikingly organic shapes--a group of stone columns uncannily resembles a clump of trees--that amaze the viewer.

All the while, Takemitsu's music provides a unique complement to these startling visual images, often juxtaposing stark experimental sequences with their opposite--rigidly formal church music. The contrast of the two is an intriguing mix and a perfect match to what we are seeing. Gaudi was strongly religious, yat at the same time boldly innovative in his designs. Nowhere else on earth will anyone ever see buildings and structures like they will in Barcelona.
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Format: DVD
This two-DVD package is a must for Gaudi fanatics and casual appreciators of this innovative, conservative, mystical, cryptic architect of a century ago. His influence can be seen today in the works of Santiago Calatrava and many others.
The original film (1984) by Teshighara should be watched by a viewer not prone to dozing off. It is mostly silent with some music and subtitles. Visually, it documents the great care, craftsmanship and sensuality in Gaudi's many building surfaces, surreal furniture, fixtures,ironwork, tile, stone, wood, plaster, glass, etc. It helps to be somewhat familiar with his work and life, otherwise the relevance of this series of images laid on end over an hour tends to be lost.
Some of the more refreshing aspects of this compilation include added features on the second disc, such as interviews, Robert Hugh's fine BBC program exploring Gaudi's life and work, as well as the booklet shedding light on Hiroshi Teshighara's own efforts and passions. Overall, the access to the artistic parallels of both men's lives and works is valuable and interesting but don't expect "pure Gaudi".
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