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Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman

4.8 out of 5 stars 45 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Narrated by Dustin Hoffman, VISUAL ACOUSTICS celebrates the life and career of Julius Shulman, the world s greatest architectural photographer, whose images brought modern architecture to the American mainstream. Shulman captured the work of nearly every major modern and progressive architect since the 1930s including Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard Neutra, John Lautner and Frank Gehry. His images epitomized the singular beauty of Southern California s modernist movement and brought its iconic structures to the attention of the general public. This unique film is both a testament to the evolution of modern architecture and a joyful portrait of the magnetic, whip-smart gentleman who chronicled it with his unforgettable images.

Product Details

  • Actors: Dustin Hoffman
  • Directors: Eric Bricker
  • Format: Multiple Formats, 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: Arthouse Films
  • DVD Release Date: May 25, 2010
  • Run Time: 83 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00366BBU8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #64,037 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
After waiting for nearly a year for the chance to see this, I had so hoped that this documentary would be worthy of Shulman and his extraordinary work. As mentioned in the video Modernist Shulman did not like Post Modernism architecture. Oddly what we have here, to present Julius Shulman born 1910 died 2009, is a dizzying Post Modernist chop chop documentary. I am absolutely enthralled by Shulman's photo work. And apart from the style of film making, what is most maddening is that Shulman's photographs, the very reason why the video should have been made, are usually on the screen for a period of less than four seconds each - four seconds! And during those sparse moments, Shulman's photos are moved around, swept across, have distracting CGI animated roads threading below - just too much razzle dazzle. Painfully, there is even a segment where a cartoon character is animated to walk in front of a few of Shulman's photos - the impact is unbelievably amateurish at best. Shulman's work was used and experimented with like raw materials to show off what the filmmakers can do instead of showing us what Shulman did. If you have ever been at, or in, a great work of architecture you know that understanding it, the space, your presence - takes time. I found myself continuously pausing the video just for the chance to really see these historic, architectural photos. The video offers far too many distractions such as people making needless comments and who really should not be in the video. The filmmaker and his crew did not need to be in the video, movie stars and their spouses need not have been included. Experts did not have to endlessly offer their reasons as to why Shulman is great - the photos could have done that and in the most meaningful way possible.Read more ›
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
As an Architect, I can concur with some of the other reviews here; after watching a screening of the movie at a local Architecture Festival, I experienced a host of mixed feelings, unlike after seeing other major movies on Architects or Architectural subjects. On the positive side, yes, impressed and pleased with the main character and his work, but I agree that there's too much stuffed into this movie that's distracting, as has been mentioned before. But not only that; it is likely that as a viewer you're about to see not only photographs, but works of Architecture that are absolutely stunning and new at the same time, but to see them come by as on a luggage 'belt' for only what seems to be not more then a second at a time, is, maybe unknowingly, producing a teasing effect (multiplied by 100), only to take you back to the next shot of an 'event'. That is so contrasting with the few moments in the film where time has been taken to be in a place with the man and pertaining other relevant character(s), that it numbs you while watching, so that after having seen half of it, the movie line and direction are not apparent any more, no cohesion, and you wonder if that's it, after every sequence. Thanks for mentioning the bonus material and trailer; I might after all buy the movie, because as a teaser, the movie does have an effect; I want more of the Architecture shown and his photography of it !
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Format: Amazon Video
I loved this documentary simply because I feel like I met Julius and got to spend some time with him, if only via the screen. His simple approach to photography of single point and revealing his secret of combining natural light with artificial lighting to complement each other in order to reveal more layers was wonderful. Also, I liked the concept of how he was always relaxed and took the time to experience the moment and let the architectural, and the emotional impact of the moment, lead him in his shot taking; not letting components of that moment like dogs barking, be something that distracted him, but instead, gave him the opportunity to interact and respond as being one with the moment. Clearly his talent was to know how alive he was at every moment, and his photos reflect this energy. The architecture he was shooting, simply allowed him to share himself like any artist does, through their chosen medium and present to us what he was able to see at that moment. The beauty he didn't create, but he was able to see it, and capture it through his camera lens, and in this respect, created a different kind of beauty, one that everyone could now see, and see it though his eyes by way to the photos he took. I see architectural photography in a new light now.
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
A fine movie for those interested in the history of both photography and architecture. Julius Shulmann may not have been the worlds' greatest architectural photographer, as the movie suggests, but he was certainly one of the greats. I rate it as 3-stars because it provides little or no insight into the working methods and/or the aesthetic principles that drove the artist, even though he was both alive, cognizant to speak of them, and a willing participant in the film. It also drags on too long repeating much of the same material.
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I loved this documentary, within minutes I loved Mr. Shulman. At the end I felt as though I had known him, and when I read about his passing I was saddened, lucky are those who had a chance to meet him!
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