Volume 11, Number 6
26 October 2004

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This Week

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Louis Kahn was born in 1901 in Saarama, Estonia. Four years after his birth, Louis's family immigrated to America. He laid the foundation of his future success during his education at the University of Pennsylvania, where he majored in architecture. He went on to become a design critic and professor of architecture at Yale University, and later on was a dean at the University of Pennsylvania. Louis Kahn's architecture is considered outstanding because of its simplicity and platonic forms and compositions. Regarded as one of the most important and influential architects of his generation, Kahn died in 1974.

This week, I'm going to acquaint you all with a unique documentary / biography that is showing at cinemas across Turkey. Unfortunately, I haven't had a chance to see the movie yet. Therefore, I'm going to give information about "My Architect: A Son's Journey," instead of criticizing it. (I really don't want you to let this movie slip by you, thus you should go :-D ) Some of you might remember that this documentary was nominated for "Best Documentary" at the 76th Academy Awards last year. (However, "The Fog of War" got the award.)

"My Architect: A Son's Journey" is directed by Nathaniel Kahn, who is Louis Kahn's son. In this documentary, Nathaniel examines the life and career of his father, about whom he knows very little. "I didn't know my father very well. He never married my mother and we never lived together. But I remember every moment we spent together," says Nathaniel Kahn, who was 11 when his dad died.

Louis Kahn was found dead in a men's room at Penn Station in New York. He had died of a heart attack. After his death, Kahn's secret life was revealed: he had three families whose paths crossed only at his funeral. In addition to being a married man, Louis Kahn had two mistresses who each gave birth to an illegitimate child, one of those being Nathaniel. Twenty years after his father's death, Nathaniel decided to investigate who his father really was. In order to craft this documentary, he gathered significant information about his father's professional and private life. Moreover, the movie includes interviews with many people like his father's close friends, colleagues (leading architects of the world today), and other children (Nathaniel's sisters), as well as shots of his stunning works of art.

In my view, this documentary seems to be extremely close to Nathaniel's heart. However, the awards which the movie has won are proof that this is more than a simple emotional analysis of a father-child relationship. The movie won the "Gold Hugo Award" at the Chicago International Film Festival in 2003, and the "Outstanding Directorial Achievement Award" from the Directors Guild of America, also in 2003. I hope I convinced you all about how interesting this documentary is. Hehehe… Joking apart, I believe the film is worth seeing. Have fun and stay cool!

FYI: The star-based rating system used in this column is not an off-the-cuff thing. Directing, editing, acting, story and visual effects are each represented by a star. A null star shows that the movie is weak in X factor, a half star means that the movie is fifty-fifty in Y factor, and a full star means that the movie is strong in Z factor.


Atilla Karakurum (IE/IV)


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