le Corbusier: architecte de bonheur 1957

So, I went to the pavillon de l'arsenal (again) (which by the way was recommended by Alessandra Cianchetta of AWP architects when she talked in London this summer otherwise I'd never have known) And they were showing this film tonight, with a debate afterwards concerning the portrait of the architect. I think in the UK it would have had a catchier title, something like, I don't know, architect:superstar?. It was a tiny room so I did what I always do: seek out the oldest man. The one with white hair and glasses and shirt tucked in and hairy ears. And then sit behind him. They always have the best conversation, these men.

And so, the film was predictably awesome: begins with Corb (can I call him that now?) painting in his studio. The floor is full of brushes leaking out of paint pots. It's messy. There's nothing golden about this situation, aside from the vacuous blonde/ 50s siren's hair. She's the one asking him questions throughout. Every time her face fills the screen is pure comedy and the entire room giggles. Maybe that's a bit cruel? Anyway so he takes her to a blackboard where he chalks out the essentials of living. We see a crudely drawn sun setting over the earth. It's important, light. And lots of tech drawings. And then to Marseille: sitting on the roof, sketching, children run towards le Corbusier with glee, for he is l'architecte de bonheur.

All this without a morcel of irony, wow! And unfortunately the organisers in the comfy chairs up front wanted to talk about mis-en-scene, and how cinema is vital for transmitting ideas of utopia, and the soundtrack, etc etc. They were starting to talk about le Corbusier's ideas and practice in relation to all this when the old guy in front of me got itchy and stood up to interrupt like all old men should and said: those drawings? I drew them! those models of the unite d'habitation? I made them! Those paintings he was painting? We painted together! If anyone here would like to ask me questions regarding le Corbusier, feel free to ask me. And then he sat down again.

At which point I really wished my french was a little better and the rest of the room weren't such cowards / snobs. There was an authoritative silence. The organisers followed this by saying: well, this talk is more about cinema than le Corbusier himself and then referred to his army of helpers and then spoke of his opportunism, at which point I tuned out and listened to the old man in front, who was busy reeling out the anecdotes concerning Corb's politics. It went something like Left! They were all left, everyone surrounding him. You know what he said to me? He said, heh, you're a communist. Just like me! And then he began mumbling, which is fine by me but kind of hard to arch your neck to. I wanted to stay longer and maybe hover around this old man next to the apperitif table, but unfortunately my companion had fallen asleep. And so ends this tale of getting it right: stalking OAPs at architecture talks. Should start a guide book.

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Blogger alex bkbk said...

haha thats amazing :D

6/10/06 14:06  
Blogger margarita said...

yet another reason why i miss you.
sorry for being so slack at the moment, all i'm doing is worrying about my silly thesis. x

11/10/06 22:52  

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