Exeter Cathedral in Devonshire, England, is considered to be the finest example of architecture of the Decorated period, 1250-1350. This film rolls back the centuries, unfolding the cathedral's history, showing the refinement of the sculpture that went into its building, from the airy vista of the nave--the longest unbroken stretch of Gothic vaulting in the world--to the vibrant colours of its windows. But more than architecture survives: Exeter is still a living church for the people of today.
This Colin Low documentary from 1959 depicts Venice in all its splendor. In the tradition of Venetian painter Canaletto, the film captures the great Italian city’s elusive beauty and fabled landscapes, where spired churches and turreted palaces soar into a blue Mediterranean sky. Narration by William Shatner.
This short documentary affords us an unusual and privileged view of the old city of Jerusalem, before and after the redevelopment of certain key sectors took place in the early 1970s. The man appointed to try to reconcile the need for change with traditional values is Montreal architect Moshe Safdie. His plans, shown in scale models, are in harmony with ancient architecture and encompass the “innocent doorways” that lead from walled streets to pleasant courtyards.
This full-length documentary examines the work of Krzysztof Wodiczko, an artist who has taken his art out of museums to project it onto the sides of buildings. The film explores Wodiczko’s philosophy of art as social contract and shows examples of his provocative work, which has lit up walls from London's Trafalgar Square to Zion Square in Jerusalem.
A portrait of Arthur Erickson, a Vancouver-based architect internationally known for his unique style. Seated in his Vancouver home, Arthur Erickson talks easily about his art, the importance of interpreting the site and of achieving harmony between environment and structure, the inseparability of climate and site, and the cultural role of a building. Five of his projects are shown. He explains how the designs evolved and what he was trying to achieve. Shot on location in Canada, Japan and Kuwait, the film introduces the man, the architect, the humanist.
This feature-length documentary examines the reality of New York City in the 1970s, a place that had become a symbol of urban disaster. The 2 projects profiled attempt to tackle the problem of America’s biggest city: in a dilapidated part of the Bronx, a co-operative citizens’ movement tries to rejuvenate urban life; and WNET-TV uses its programming as an open forum for the public debate on urban issues.
This short documentary offers a panorama of ancient cities, palaces and temples whose splendor has awed mankind. The film moves from one tradition to another, illustrating how each reflects the sentiments and values of its time, from the massive temples of the pharaohs to the soaring skyscrapers of today.
These vignettes from 1951 covered various aspects of life in Canada and were shown in theatres across the country. Subjects included here are British Columbia's Cariboo Trail, once the scene of a great gold rush and which still pays off for the placer miner and occasional prospector; Canada's new state residence at 24 Sussex Drive in Ottawa, a redesigned old stone mansion destined to become Canada's No. 10 Downing Street; a unique ceremony in remote Chesterfield Inlet as the first Inuit girl in history receives the veil of the Grey Nuns; Great Lakes conservationists outsmart the eel-like bloodsucker that preys on fish; and the new blue model uniforms designed for the Women's Division of the Air Force.
Please note that this is an archival film that makes use of the word “Eskimo,” an outdated and offensive term. While the origin of the word is a matter of some contention, it is no longer used in Canada. The term was formally rejected by the Inuit Circumpolar Council in 1980 and has subsequently not been in use at the NFB for decades. This film is therefore a time-capsule of a bygone era, presented in its original version. The NFB apologizes for the offence caused.
Not everyone agreed that the buildings already begun were worth finishing, but, in spite of opposition, Canada built its imposing Houses of Parliament in Ottawa on the hill above the river. From a rich archive of pictures of the federal Parliament buildings as they developed over the past hundred years, this film creates a vivid sense of being there.
This short documentary offers a dizzying view of the Mohawk of Kahnawake who work in Manhattan erecting the steel frames of skyscrapers. Famed for their skill in working with steel, the Mohawks demonstrate their nimble abilities in the sky. As a counterbalance, the viewer is also allowed a peek at their quieter community life on the Kahnawake Reserve, in Quebec.