Review: Antonio Gaudi (1984)

A surprisingly expressive meditation on the great works of Spanish architect Antonio Gaudi.

A hypnotic travelogue of Spanish architect Antonio Gaudi’s stunning buildings in Barcelona, most designed around the end of the 19th- and beginning of the 20th-century. With very little dialog, relying on music and sounds to set the tone, filmmaker Hiroshi Teshigahara (Woman in the Dunes) uses the camera to create a love poem extolling the creativity, originality and organic beauty of Gaudi’s churches, buildings, and public spaces.

Gaudi’s style, a fascinating blend of modern and ancient, is contemplated in great detail as the camera arcs, pans and dollies through the spaces. You are really there. The film is refreshingly free of narration, allowing the buildings, these huge works of art, to speak for themselves. The unhurried pace allows you to explore each one, to see how it fits into the surrounding urban environment and observe how people interact with it. (You can see examples of his buildings here, here and here. Oh, and here too.)

At the very least, it’s given me a new appreciation for the word gaudy.

I recommend Antonio Gaudi to anyone with an interest in architecture, who might be planning a trip to Barcelona, or is looking for an unusual documentary about an unusual artist. [**** out of 5]

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