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Eames: The Architect and the Painter

4.4 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The husband-and-wife team of Charles and Ray Eames are widely regarded as America's most important designers. Perhaps best remembered for their mid-century plywood and fiberglass furniture, the Eames Office also created a mindbending variety of other products, from splints for wounded military during World War II, to photography, interiors, multi-media exhibits, graphics, games, films and toys. But their personal lives and influence on significant events in American life - from the development of modernism, to the rise of the computer age - has been less widely understood. Narrated by James Franco, Eames: The Architect and the Painter is the first film since their death dedicated to these creative geniuses and their work.

Review

Well-crafted and insightful. A must for those with an interest in modern design. --Sura Wood, Hollywood Reporter

Between the wide array of interviewees and surplus of colorful archival materials, the deftly assembled pic has nary a dull moment. --Dennis Harvey, Variety

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Charles Eames, Ray Eames, James Franco, Gordon Ashby, Bill Tondreau
  • Directors: Bill Jersey, Jason Cohn
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: First Run Features
  • DVD Release Date: December 13, 2011
  • Run Time: 82 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005LVO6QC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,665 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By K. Harris HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on December 21, 2011
Format: DVD
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.
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Format: DVD
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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