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My Father the Genius (2005)

 NR |  DVD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

Price: $29.95 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Product Details

  • Producers: Lucia Small
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Metro Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: April 10, 2007
  • Run Time: 84 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000MTEFQ4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #398,533 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "My Father the Genius" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Filmmaker and Father interview
  • 1970's Mini-Movie: Super-8 Biomorphic Biosphere film with commentary by architect Glen Small
  • Architects on Glen Small: Includes interview with 2005 Pritzker-winner Thom Mayne
  • Photo Gallery: Narrated slide-show
  • Sundance Channel¹s Aftereffect
  • Genius II Teaser
  • Scene Selections
  • Closed Captioning

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

When estranged father, dreamer, and visionary architect Glen Howard Small bequeaths his daughter the task of writing his biography, she answers instead with a provocative film about his precarious career and thorny private life. At 31, Glen Small, founder and faculty member of the internationally acclaimed Southern California Institute of Architecture, was a rising star. At 61, he can barely pay his bills.

In the tradition of My Architect and The Royal Tenenbaums, filmmaker Lucia Small digs deep to explore the delicate tension between her father's obligations to family and his life-long passion to "save the world through architecture."


"An intensely personal and risk taking film." -- --Alan Deutschman,


A real-life The Royal Tenenbaums." -- -Peter Keough, The Boston Phoenix

"HILARIOUS AND HEART-WRENCHING." -- --Scott Foundas, Variety --Scott Foundas, Variety

"PoIGNANT, QUIRKY, HILARIOUS." -- --Louise Kennedy, The Boston Globe --Louise Kennedy, The Boston Globe

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Filmmaker Lucia Small has endured a difficult relationship with her father, architect Glen Howard Small. So, it surprised her when Glen asked if she would tell his life story. Lucia agreed and the result is the terrific, offbeat documentary "My Father, the Genius."

Glen knew from an early age that he wanted to be an architect - but not just any architect. He wanted to change the way we live by making our dwellings more ecologically friendly. Unfortunately, Glen's obsession with architecture left little room for family. He divorced Lucia's mother and was largely absent from the lives of their three daughters.

Glen Small's career got off to a roaring start by winning notoriety for his early designs and co-founding the Southern California Institute of Architecture. In the film, Small's ex-students laud him for his "hands on" approach to teaching. Along the way, he designed his magnum opus - the biomorphic biosphere.

Then things went bad. The "biomorphic biosphere" was never built. Small was fired from his faculty position. Several relationships crumbled. He attempted to start over by starting his own architecture firm, but he attracted few clients and his heart wasn't in it, anyway. At the time of the filming, Small was desperate for money.

My Father, the Genius explores Small's overarching ambitions and the twisted relationships that arose as a result. In a striking scene, the viewer sees a 1976 film of Small speaking during a meeting with other architects in which he makes brutal comments about the other attendees and their work. Small's three daughters all have negative feelings about his absence from their lives, but their father is less-than contrite, noting at one point that "families come and go." The viewer's heart breaks for Small's daughters.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars INCREDIBLE DOCUMENTARY March 8, 2007
By renee
This is an amazing movie... How rare that a talented filmmaker turns the camera on herself and her own roots to tell such a funny, yet heartbreaking story. This is an intimate, brave memoir - I think Lucia Small took a big chance documenting the history of her unusual, creative and oh-so-narcissistic father - it's an odd tribute to a man so reflective of his times (1960's and 70's) -- I wonder what he thought of it. A must-see for documentary fans, fans of truth or even just fans of family dysfunction!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my Favorite Documentaries April 10, 2007
By RecDep
I originally saw this documentary on the Sundance Channel. As a documentary, it works on two levels. It tells the story of an essentially unknown, but important, architect, whose work influenced a generation of young LA architects. It is also a poignant story of a complex father-daughter relationship, one that is made even more complex by the flights of a stubborn, idealist father who remains true to his lifelong creative obsession. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A whakky father following his passion March 7, 2007
A really great story about a father, from a daughter, providing insight into the mind of an eccentric genius that so many of us can identify with in some weird way or another. Very enjoyable ride with a lot of great humor. I wish my dad was like him,.. kinda!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great flick! March 7, 2007
This film was compelling a beautifully crafted exploration of one crazy man who is both more and less than he seems.

A must see for any film buff, architect or student of life.
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