Customer Review

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Deadbeat Dad Showering Gifts on the World, March 9, 2005
This review is from: My Architect: A Son's Journey (DVD)
I bought this documentary on a whim because I enjoyed "Supersize Me" and "Farenheit 9/11." My sense now is that the genre of the documentary is entering a golden age, since the ones I've seen lately, including "My Architect," seem superior by far to mainstream dramas and comedies.

The basic premise here, easy to grasp, is the journey of the "illegitimate" son of American architect Louis Khan to discover who his shadowy father was by talking to people who knew him and by viewing and assessing his dad's work. This yields much humor and pathos. The people the younger Khan speaks to include A-list architects like I. M Pei and Phillip Johnson as well as ordinary Joes and are an interesting lot with compelling things to say about the Jewish design wizard.

Exploring Khan's buildings through his son's camera proves an even greater treat. Highlights include the sprawling sea-splashed Salk Institute on the California coast and the stunning light-suffused Capital building in Dacca, Bangladesh. What really endears us to the subject matter is that neither the weaknesses of the architect father nor his documentarian are swept away; rather they're discussed openly, and both come across as real--fragile flawed but immensely talented.

This film, a great balance of educational and emotional elements, is so worthwhile and enjoyable it's encouraged me to give the whole documentary genre a fresh look. I appreciate a discussion of architecture that wasn't dumbed down for the audience, such as when the film discussed the influence of ancient ruins, bombastic and timeless, on Khan's work. Bravo!
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