The second installment of A Designer's Winter Hibernation Film List, where both a designer from our office and a local design/film voice offer their top movies with a design/architectural/spatial element. This time we have Paul Deutsch from our BPA office (who I would call an authority on the subject!) and Michael Abrahamson, a master of architectural theory/criticism.
PAUL DEUTSCH, Principal, Bialosky + Partners Architects
- Blade Runner (1982): I loved this movie as both a sci-fi geek and a budding architect. It paints the most realistic visual images of what a not too distant future dystopian city might feel like.
- Brazil (1985): I first saw this alternative film in college and had never seen anything quite like it. It gives a taste of what an over-governed country would be like to live in.
- A Clockwork Orange (1971): And I thought I experienced teen angst. It is not for the faint of heart but it is truly a not-too distant future classic…from the past.
- The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999): This movie always makes me want to be in Europe.
- The Fountain Head (1949): Any architect should of course see this one. It’s worth it just for Gary Cooper’s courtroom speech.
MICHAEL ABRAHAMSON, Ph. D Student at the University of Michigan
- In the Mood for Love (2000): Two married neighbors in 1960s Hong Kong are drawn together in spite of the fact that their spouses are having an affair. Kar Wai imbues this unfamiliar urban atmosphere with so much tension and sensuality that it's simply overpowering. Slow motion sequences of the central characters fetching noodles, taking shelter from the rain, and hiding from their flatmates use a repeating waltz by Shigeru Omebayashi that by the end of the film is under your skin.
- Chungking Express (1994): Split into two parts, this film follows a pair of Hong Kong policemen as their daily rhythms are overturned by peculiar women. Again deploying a repeating musical cue – in this case the Mamas and the Papas' “California Dreamin” - Kar Wai here explores the habits and obsessions that often arise in urban environments.
- Before Sunset (2004): The sequel to Linklater's “Before Sunrise,” which documented a one-night stand of two strangers in Vienna, this film follows the same couple as they walk around Paris catching up after ten years and one novel about their experience. The premise is incredibly simple, but the results are heartbreakingly real.
- Touch of Evil (1958) : The opening sequence of this film is one of the greatest pieces of urban choreography ever committed to celluloid. While a car bomb's timer ticks away, the film's protagonists (Charlton Heston and Janet Leigh) stroll casually through a Mexican-American border town, weaving their way through streets and arcades, eventually making their way across the border where the bomb explodes. The rest of the film is a fine procedural, but doesn't live up to Orson Welles' fantastic opening.