joy magnetism: Antoni Gaudí? Gau...don't

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Friday, June 19, 2009

Antoni Gaudí? Gau...don't

Magnet #483 - Paul Klee

I'm probably committing some sort of artistic sin or something, quoting one artist to talk about another...but this Paul Klee quote most accurately sums up the works of architect Antoni Gaudí.

If you haven't seen any of his work, Wiki leads you here, to his list of masterworks, all of which are superduper cool. And, from what I've heard, they're absolutely amazing in person.

Judging from the images I've seen, I honestly think the man couldn't draw a straight line to save his soul. And it's wonderful. But, I've already blogged on Gaudí before, talking about with my Casa Batlló magnet that my sisters brought back for me from Spain.

Ya'll know I love my architecture and my architects and fun designy, and yet extremely dorky, stuff. So it probably doesn't come as a surprise that I couldn't wait to watch Antonio Gaudí, a Japanese documentary of Gaudí's work. (It probably doesn't surprise you that I spent a couple of hours watching another one on Louis I. Kahn last week. But that's a whole other magnet.)

I have to be dead-on honest here. I hated it. I disliked it so much, that halfway through, I was convinced that I wasn't a Gaudí fan at all. But my sisters convinced me that it was the documentary's fault, not the work itself.

Here's what was missing:

Dialogue. I'm not talking about the conversation at the 29:57 mark. Or the interview at the 59:46 mark. I'm talking a narrator who gives me more information about who Gaudí was, as a man, as an artist, as an architect. Someone who gives the person context.

Supers. While I recognized some of the work that I was looking at, there were no captions naming the building. A simple super on the screen would have helped, so I wouldn't have to keep looking through my books and online to figure out what the hell I was looking at.

Less music. The music was silly and overdramatic, and played too much of a character here. Understandably, since there wasn't a voice there to begin with. Literally, and figuratively. (At least for the first half, because I'm totally pulling a Roger Ebert on this particular issue - I got fed up and muted it right after the dialogue came in at the 29:57 mark.)

Oh, I know there's a whole second disc, which apparently has the bio and other pertinent information. And, I know there's something to be said about letting the gorgeous work speak for itself, i'm sure. But, I just didn't like this film. In fact, I can't believe I was going to pay for a ticket to the swank arthouse art deco theatre here in town that's been showing it. Sorry, Paris theatre, but I'm glad I Netflixed this bugger.

Huh. I can't believe I'm panning a documentary produced 25 years ago. It probably makes me somewhat of a noob for not liking it. But GAH. I'm just so disappointed!

I wanted to learn more about the work. It's nice to see gorgeous cinematography, really, it is. It was seriously beautifully shot. But honestly, I could have just watched some kid's Gaudí fanvid on TV with stills and weird transitions and misspelled titles and gotten more out of it. As it was, it was like my sister's like those stupid HD "shows" where they lay dramatic music against images of sunsets and sunrises in California, or wherever. That's not a documentary, that's not programming, that's not a show - that's a screensaver.

Ok. Here's something. I just read some of the Netflix comments. You'll not be surprised to know that I am apparently a big old noob for failing to appreciate one of the greatest Japanese documentarians known to man, and the scoring by one of the greatest Japanese composers known to man. I have no excuse.

Joy = noob.

I tend to disregard online comments until I'm done with something...kinda like how author quotes on books mean nothing to me when making a purchase decision. But really, even knowing now that it's my own failing doesn't stop me from wishing I had my time back.

(Thank you, GoldenGait, for the word noob.)
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