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My Architect: A Son's Journey Review


Very Good
It's difficult to think of a subject less suitable for film than architecture - and a story about an architect even less so. But even though the documentary My Architect: A Son's Journey has much more than buildings on its mind, it is one film that could have been successful simply as a study of the several structures that are featured in it. Late in the film, when the director is interviewing an architect about a building they are standing in, he mentions to the architect that the footage he shot of it will only have about 10 minutes of screentime; the look of pain on the architect's face is almost palpable.

The director in question is Nathaniel Kahn, the only son of the titular architect, Louis Kahn. Even though he is credited with pioneering the break from the soulless modernism that typified architecture in the postwar period, Lou never achieved the success he deserved. In 1974, when Nathaniel was 11, Lou died from a heart attack in a men's room at Penn Station in New York. He was bankrupt and his body went unidentified for three days because he had crossed out his address on his passport. After his death, it was revealed that although he had been married for decades to Esther Kahn, with whom he had a daughter, Lou - this short man with a thin voice and a face horribly scarred from a fire in his childhood in Estonia - had carried on long-term affairs with two female architects, having one child with each.

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Philip Johnson Movies

My Architect: A Son's Journey Movie Review

My Architect: A Son's Journey Movie Review

It's difficult to think of a subject less suitable for film than architecture - and...

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