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BUILDING HEAVEN, REMEMBERING EARTH: CONFESSIONS OF A FALLEN ARCHITECT

Canada, 1999 (MIFF 2000, Documentaries)

Director: Oliver Hockenhull

Combining the poetic, political and critical in a new digital form, Oliver Hockenhull's study of the confines of architecture and the self has been described as 'unequivocally the best documentary produced in Canada" in the last year. Cinematic poetry of epic scope and ambition, the film constructs and deconstructs a digital personality as part of a probing enquiry into the effects of architecture on consciousness and identity.

Hockenhull's work traverses space and time, scrutinising ancient edifices, classic monuments and contemporary structures in a quest for an aesthetic pattern. Examination of Bruegel's Tower of Babel, the Pantheon, Schinkel's Berlin and Renzo Piano's New Berlin, the other-worldly temple of Bhubaneswar in South India and the erotic Sun Temple at Konark casts a wide net for Hockenhull to explore passion, inspiration and religious and philosophical motivation. Offbeat detours are made along the way to scrutinise Amsterdam's singular prostitution industry and even gossip about Albert Speer's ignominious death. A breath taking thesis, a bookish subject made delightful and absorbing.

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