Customer Reviews: Eames: The Architect and the Painter
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It would be hard to find a subject as inherently fascinating as the partnership of Charles and Ray Eames. Their broad pursuits included work in furniture design, architecture, art, and film (just to name a few major subjects) and they have made long-lasting contributions in each of these arenas. I really looked forward to Jason Cohn and Bill Jersey's documentary feature "Eames: The Architect and The Painter" as it is the first film to be made about the pair since their deaths. I feel it is essential for the next generation involved in architecture and design to understand their legacy. A husband and wife team that defied all conventional norms, Charles and Ray had a really inspiring way to combine form with function, beauty with purpose. It was a simple philosophy and the film does an excellent job of showcasing how their personalities really fit into and influenced their design plans. And yet, for all of its successes--I still don't know that the film brings Charles and Ray into much focus.

If you are a student of Charles Eames or have a preexisting knowledge base about the pair and their work, "Eames" may make for a fascinating supplement to their story. However, if you are just being introduced to them, the film might not be the definitive biography you were anticipating. The film begins with the birth of the Eames chair (no real background or context to their early life is provided), discusses Ray's art briefly, touches on their famed residence in Pacific Palisades, and then focuses a lot on the corporate work they did through films and exhibitions. In addition, the film tries to hit the highlights of their lives together and to give you a glimpse into their company in Venice Beach, California. Narrated by James Franco, most of the sources utilized in the film are the Eames family and former employees of the Venice Beach facility. But quite simply, there is too much material to be covered in this 84 minute presentation. And the focus of the film wasn't always on the things I really wanted it to be!

I feel as if I am privy to the working environment of their studio, that I have seen their unorthodox approach to corporate filmmaking, and that they displayed an eclectic and unique visual perspective that represented their personalities in design. All that is terrific! But I wanted to know Ray and Charles in a new and more in-depth fashion. If I was viewing this documentary as my first exposure to their contributions, I don't know that I'd understand what the big deal was. And that's a real shame. Of course, I fully recommend this film to anyone already interested in and knowledgeable about the topic. But I think there is a fascinating biographical portrait about the couple yet to be made. I liked "Eames: The Architect and The Painter." It just tried to incorporate too much material into too little running time to explore anything with the detail that would have made the movie essential. KGHarris, 12/11.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon December 23, 2011
Charles Eames is best known as the designer of the molded chair - originally designed in 1946 in plywood (to make it affordable for the post-WWII generation - it is now the standard seating in airport lounges (though now in newer materials). This is all I knew of the Eames name before watching this 84-minute film that aired as part of the "American Masters" series on PBS. After watching this DVD version of the film, I can say I know a bit more about the man - and his wife and creative partner Ray - in his post-1946 years. But I can't honestly say I know much about their earlier life and where their talent - and eccentric lifestyle came from.

The Eames were involved in not only designing furniture but Ray was a painter and Charles was involved in making experimental films. Their home in Venice, California is an architectural masterpiece and - apparently a tourist attraction as well.

What we learn from the many interviews - which complement the archival footage of the Eames duo at work as well as in filmed interviews - is that their created a working environment in their studio that encouraged teamwork, but did not give credit to members of the team. All that recognition went to Charles. Many former Eames studio staff are interviewed (quite of a few are, frankly, not very engaging personalities) as are art critics and historians. The one name you may recognize is film Director Paul Schrader (best known for "Taxi Driver") whose most relevant comment is among the six deleted scenes (totaling 13 minutes) on the home DVD version of the film. He describes how Charles Eames guided him in one important scene in "taxi Driver".

While I did enjoy the film and learned more than I knew before, I was left wanting to know more (and hoping for a more "engaging" production). If you are an architecture or design lover and know the Eames work, you'll really get more from this production.

Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic"
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on December 6, 2013
What a great story of a time, and people that needed to be talked about. The Eames sounded like addictive people to be around, and I could imagine the creativity and excitement going into work each day. Really a fascinating documentary.
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on January 5, 2012
This is a great movie about the life and work of Ray and Charles Eames.
Although at some point it has some very personal interviews and point of views, the final result is a very deep and complete overview of their work/life and the role they had in modern design.
A must see movie for designers, architects and others interested in the creative process.
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on September 2, 2012
I am ashamed I did not know more about this couple and their impact on design! After seeing this, I will never look at furniture (or the world) the same way. Wonderful documentary that I HIGHLY recommend! If you are a fan of design, mid-century anything, or just beauty, you will like this film!
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on May 13, 2014
I've been a fan of the Eames's for many years and found his career progression on this DVD very interesting. I didn't realize that they had done so much film work. I recently attended an exibition of Rae Eames in Sacramento, California which was wonderful.
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on August 21, 2013
Though this documentary may have gone into too much detail about the most private parts of their lives, I believe this is one of the best investigations into how Charles & Ray worked, who they worked with, why they did things the way they did, and gave us a good idea of the breadth of projects they worked on and contributed to.
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on December 20, 2011
This was a great film, I would recommend this film to anyone that has an interest in design, art or anything to do with either. I appreciate how much work the film makers put into digging through all the archive to make this such an amazing film to watch.
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on July 26, 2013
Widely advertised as the first film since their death this film about the Eames's looked promising. Although it is in many ways an interesting documentary, shedding light on the vast amount of projects researched and designed by the Eames, as well as their interest for everything beautiful, it turned out to be a bit disappointing.
However, for someone who thinks the Eames mostly designed chairs it is enlightening enough and well worth the money, the four star rating is for those people.
The DVD I received played ok on my european DVD player which is a bonus for us Europeans.
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on June 17, 2014
This is an excellent documentary about Charles and Ray Eames, their lives and their designs. Interesting to see the beginnings of their design group and all of the wonderful things they conceived.
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