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Independent Lens: Between the Folds

141 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

A fascinating documentary about the science and art of origami, BETWEEN THE FOLDS profiles brilliant artists, mathematicians and scientists who are reinventing the ancient Japanese tradition of paper folding. With just one piece of paper, and without the use of glue, tape or staples, these offbeat and provocative minds are creating unimaginably beautiful works of art and thought-provoking mathematical models.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Dr. Erik Demaine, Giang Dinh, Vincent Floderer & Le Crimp, Miri Golan, Dr. Tom Hull
  • Directors: Vanessa Gould
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: PBS
  • DVD Release Date: January 5, 2010
  • Run Time: 60 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (141 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002NWRMO0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,090 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

64 of 66 people found the following review helpful By Andrea Moore on December 3, 2009
Format: DVD
This is the most wonderful kind of documentary showing an art form that has become integrated into mathematical and scientific applications. Models of discovery originating with origami have been used in space, in automobile airbags and beyond. Since proteins fold causing diseases like Alzheimer's can medicine cause the proteins to unfold and so cure the disease? The film maker showed the history of origami from an early Japanese practitioner who was the first to use wet folding. His figures look like they are about to breathe they seem so alive. She shows a convention of young people from around the world who are competing with one example of a dragon folded from one sheet of paper with complicated scales. Imagine all the bugs in the universe folded magically before you with all the right number of legs to be anatomically correct...every year the invention with origami gets more complex and more amazing. In the 70's maybe 60 to 80 folds would complete one form. Now maybe 120 to 150 steps are required. And in the future? Over a thousand. She showed the most intricate realistic shapes and then abstract origami. Wow! And its all over the world. She found practitioners in France and Israel all working in very different ways. This documentary would be perfect for use in classrooms to encourage observing, envisioning, innovating and inventing.
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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Steve Ramm TOP 100 REVIEWER on December 27, 2009
Format: DVD
When this 55-minute documentary - which played on PBS - begins you are amazed at how intricate practitioners of Origami (Japanese art of paper folding) are. You see one single piece of paper (though it could be five feet in length) become a lizard or a violist or a beautiful multi-colored abstract sculpture. (They use special colored paper to create the latter). Origami requires that the artist use a single sheet, no cutting and no pasting. )> The word "Amazing" pops into your head. How o they do this? (Answer: hours and hors of folding and a mind that sees the result long before they start.) The high-definition quality of the original film and its DVD transfer will bring out these astoundingly beautiful images on practically any TV set.

But about half way through the film - when writer, producer and director Vanessa Gould has you mesmerized - we move from the artists to the "mathematicians" who use the paper folding to solve long time mathematical questions and teach students in elementary schools about math through origami. You'll meet the father and son geniuses (the younger becoming a professor at MIT at age 20!) that are using it to help scientists examinethe forms of human body cells and DNA. As the son says, "we may even, someday, find a cure for AIDS". Then there is the teacher who has integrated origami into the math curriculum in all the elementary schools in Israel and the results of test show that it improves the students' scores.

This film won many festival awards and deservedly so.

The DVD includes a collection of "deleted scenes" (my favorite is the genius son who says he does this only because it has to be fun) as well as a six-minute short film (also by Gould) about the Israeli school program.

Whether you appreciate art or science or just want to be fascinated for an hour, this is film that I can highly recommend!

Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic"
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful By B. Chandler HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on December 13, 2009
Format: DVD
This documentary stays focused on origami however, it is much more a documentary on interdisciplinary art. What is more interesting is that what make origami art can be applied to just about any art or discipline.

The one big plus about this documentary is that it is not a collage of meaningless soundbites. We can almost use this as a training film or at least a professional class.

We start out with the kitsch factor of origami then go through the different forms of origami. Then we get to meet the man that really changed the concept of origami Akira Yoshizawa. From there we learn that there can be more than meets the eye with the mathematical application of origami and the origami application on geometry. We apply origami to potentially all forms of science. Then we even apply it to practical applications as folding of air bags for automobiles.

Now let us slow down and see that the individual artists and engineers presenting this program also are presenting the evolution of how people become experts in their field. We see that everything starts out (concise or otherwise) as a series of simple skills and progress into complexity. We try to imitate reality. Later we realize that am imitation is just that and drop the effort to imitate in place of capturing its essence. You see this in artists and writers that appear to have gone off the deep end. It also applies to practicality when we stop making robots to look like people and instead capture the functions needed.

If we do not take the time to contemplate the impact of origami on the world, the documentary is just fun to see what you can make or maybe purchase in the world.

I would really have liked to see an expanded documentary on papermaking.

Dr. Erik D. Demaine ...
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Sea Paddler on January 23, 2011
Format: Amazon Instant Video Verified Purchase
This documentary is a real gem. Who would have ever guessed that origami could successfully capture my attention for a full hour? Not only that, it was fun to watch and left me wanting to learn even more! Vanessa Gould masterfully reveals the dynamic and surprising aspects of origami. This is not an art for art's sake type of film. The director shows how origami has very practical applications in education, medicine and physics yet still retains a very playful nature.
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