Lotte am Bauhaus, 2019. 105 min. Director: Gregor Schnitzler. In the picture: Lotte (Alicia von Rittberg) and Paul (Noah Saavedra).

Amos Rex presents a large-scale architecture documentary and film event on the Bauhaus anniversary year. Amos Rex is mounting a wide-ranging festival of architecture documentaries and films. Ark Rex will explore the Bauhaus Manifesto written by Walter Gropius in Weimar a century ago, and the legacy of the world-renowned Bauhaus school. It will examine the products of modernism and its most fascinating architects, not forgetting the Nordic angle. Besides documentaries that take us into the Bauhaus and its production, the festival will include dramatic films and films exploring current issues, challenges and problems in the built environment. Apart from the silver screen, the two-day festival will stage talks providing background and more in-depth information.

Program

The language of the movies or movie subtitles is English.

A detailed festival program will be announced in early November.

Friday, 29 November
10 a.m. – 11 p.m.

Talks:

Opening words
Tarja Nurmi, Curator of the festival, Architect & Kaj Martin, Programme Director, Amos Rex

Film Architecture of Weimar Republic: Reflecting the spirit of time
Nadja Bartels, Museum Director, Tchoban Museum, Berlin

Joskus tahallaankin väärinymmärretty Bauhaus
Juhana Heikonen, Architect (the talk is in Finnish)

Elokuva, arkkitehtuuri ja todellisuus
Juhani Pallasmaa, Architect (the talk is in Finnish)

Movies:

Dir. Peter Rosen, Camera Eric Saarinen, 2016, 68 min

The son of our world-famous architect Eliel Saarinen and his spouse Loja Saarinen, Eero Saarinen (1910–1961), was one of last century’s great architects. Known for the TWA building of New York’s JFK Airport, the streamlined steel arched symbol in St. Louis and numerous buildings commissioned by different companies and universities, he is a master of post-world war II streamlined modernism. Eero Saarinen, who was closely associated with Charles and Ray Eames, was also known as a designer.

Eric Saarinen, who was one Eero Saarinen’s two children and made a career for himself in advertising, also made a fascinating film on his remote father, whom the children Eric and Susan rarely saw due to the architect’s hectic life and divorce. The film was completed a couple of years ago. The mother, Lily Saarinen, was a talented person who was recognised, among other things, for her sculpture. However, as was customary in her time, she was forced to take care of the children largely on her own.

Eric was a teenager at the time of his parents’ divorce. In the film, he embarks upon a journey to discover his dead father anew with a film crew, visiting numerous buildings designed by his father. These include head offices, chapels and an impressive ice stadium, all entirely different but exemplary of the graceful principles of modernism. The buildings and their surroundings are also approached from the bird’s-eye view, using state-of-the-art drones equipped with cameras.

Having now familiarised himself with the buildings designed by his father and Eero’s new life with Aline Bernstein Louchheim, Eric Saarinen is ready to understand the choices his father made. He confesses to forgiving his father, a genius pioneer in modern thinking and architecture.

The film has previously been seen in Finnish television on YLE Teema. It is finally done justice on the big screen.

Text: Tarja Nurmi, Architect, SAFA

ECT WHO SAW THE of the PBS American Masters series
Eero Saarinen – The Architect who saw the Future, 2016. 70 min.
Producer and director: Peter Rosen
Co-producer: Eric Saarinen

Dir. Gregor Schnitzler, 2019, 105 min

The Bauhaus jubilee year has seen several documentaries and films in celebration of the movement. One of them is drama film Lotte am Bauhaus, which leads us to the authentic roots of Bauhaus. The script is based on real events: it tells the story of a talented furniture carpenter’s daughter, who is drawn to the potently happy Bauhaus students and defies her father as she applies and is admitted to the school.

Despite the original and Bauhaus manifest’s idealisation of equality, the talented Lotte is faced with the fact that women are not, for example, truly regarded as architects. The main character becomes, however, strongly involved in e.g. the design of the Haus am Horn test house in Weimar. Yet the life and career of the diversely gifted woman were never easy during her time.

The story is based on actual events. Even Lotte has her real counterpart: Alma Siedhoff-Buscher, the person behind the famous Bauhaus Building Blocks, for example.

The strongest impact of the drama lies in the story being filmed in its authentic environment, i.e. the buildings the school originally operated in, both in Weimar and Dessau. We also get to witness the famous Bauhaus parties, along with the cities and regions, where the legendary art, design and architecture school’s story first began a hundred years ago. The period of the Weimar Republic during 1919–1933 was a time marked by a new democracy and strong new culture, yet also political turbulence.

The film includes several well-known German actors, who revealed that they also became enthusiastic about the places and buildings where the television film for the general public has been filmed.

Text: Tarja Nurmi, Architect, SAFA

Lotte am Bauhaus, 2019. 105 min.
Director: Gregor Schnitzler
Roles include: Noah Saavedra, Alicia von Rittberg, Jörg Hartmann, Nina Gummich
Production: MDR, Das Erste

Dir. Duki Dror, 2011, 71 min

Dir. Niels Bolbrinker & Thomas Tielsch, 2018, 95 min

Saturday, 30 November
11 a.m. – 9.30 p.m.

Film presentations:

Kajsa Andersö, Director and Tomas Boman, Cinematographer (the presentation is in Swedish)

Sarah Bitter, Architect

Thomas Haemmerli, Director

Movies:

Concept Sarah Bitter, 2018, 30 min

Dir. Thomas Haemmerli, 2018, 98 min

The Swiss journalist Thomas Haemmerli is also a filmmaker. His funny, biographical narrative is much like a personal confession from a living career scoundrel.

At a younger age, Haemmerli took part in numerous protests and squats and was even arrested by the authorities. Since becoming a journalist and receiving international, well-paid and trendy assignments, he has also lived around the world, including South America.

In the documentary, he illustrates how the beautiful city centre of Zürich was planned and even designed to be replaced with ugly concrete buildings, “bang bang bang”, and how decades later, increasingly fancy and pricy apartments and areas began to emerge. Gentirification was taking place.

With Haemmerli, we get to visit different film archives, family homes and even a sympathetic, yet difficult-to-renovate investment apartment in Tbilisi. Nomads, who are internationally mobile and work from anywhere due to broadband connection, and the creative representatives who somewhat acknowledge global issues are, in fact, part of the larger problem. They are the so-called plough knives pulling up the prices of apartments in old areas. Streets infested with entirely new populations mark the living areas of those who are heading the so-called gentrification. Latté cafés, artisan beer bars and companies selling customised bicycles can be found in these corners. Even the postal code provides status.

The enlightening and humorous film inflicts an irony on itself. It deals with the subjects of architecture, density, inhabitable spaces, fear of strangers and urban planning as well as the currently trending urban development. The film is a poignant question targeting both the xenophobic conservative right as well as the leftists endowed with a surprisingly conservative taste in architecture.

Text: Tarja Nurmi, Architect, SAFA

I am Gentrification – Confessions of a Scoundrel. 2017. 99 min.
Screenwriter and director: Thomas Haemmerli
Production: Ican Films ja SRF

Dir. Andrei Dascalescu, 2016, 80 min

Concern for the environment has made Europe direct its worried gaze towards coal mines. Mining operations, for example, in the area of Ruhr in Germany have been run down years ago.

An entire small city with buildings and communities has been formed around Romania’s oldest mine in a place called Petrila. As the country joined the European Union, talk of ending the mining operations began. The seemingly easy solution for local men in power would have been to prohibit the operations entirely. The plan was to use EU’s extensive funds to eradicate all of Petril, along with its concrete element buildings and the historical structures needed for the mining operations.

Director Andrei Dascalescu has written a delightful documentary depicting a fruitful marriage between humans, anarchy and art. We can connect with the vitality of a place hidden in the far corners of Transilvania, even visit the depths of a coal mine together with actual mining miners.

A former employee of the mine, Ion Barbu, is also an artist at heart. With the support of the immediate family, residents and miners, Barbu begins to stand up for the community, its mining buildings and machinery. A beautiful female architect, who works in the capital and is an expert in architectural conservation, joins the effort. She takes it on as her sworn duty to defend the buildings of Petrila, along with its residents and their living environment.

The film casts hope on societies marked by socialist-era concrete element buildings, places that can also be considered a part of the modernist legacy. Art that is joyfully anarchistic can, at its best, be a shining tool in the defence of a community.

Text: Tarja Nurmi, Architect, SAFA

Planeta Petrila 2016. 80 min.
Director and screenwriter: Andrei Dascalescu
Producer: Anamaria Antoci

Dir. Kajsa Andersö, 2018, 59 min

The new Swedish documentary examines how entries for a two-stage architecture competition are created. We are invited into the office of Sweden’s most famous architect, Gert Wingårdh, and get to witness the work advancing to the challenging final stage of the competition.

The competition revolves around the new Nobel Center building planned for Stockholm’s Blasieholmen, located right behind Nationalmuseum. The high-level architecture competition was eventually won by English architect David Chipperfield and his office.

The director and cameraman accompany the Swedish office as it tackles both stages of the competition. We also become guests at a dignified party and visit the Wingårdhs’ summer residence in Torpet, near Göteborg. Together with his colleagues, Gert reflects on the chosen spot for the competition and ponders whether the entry can be reassembled entirely during the second stage of the competition, instead of following the same principles as before. The name of the film indicates the solution the office came up with in solving this issue.

For viewers who are not familiar with the working methods of architects, the documentary provides a range of information on the working environment of this much-celebrated profession, depicting the architect’s untiring way of honing designs and competition entries. Competition at the top is tough and days often long, but the office must always be a welcoming place. Collaboration is at the heart of today’s design work. Yet someone must be able to have the final say.

The Nobel Snowflake is exceptionally interesting and timely, as it addresses the question of how many new and so-called iconic large buildings or structures can make their way into a historic and maritime environment. In Sweden, the discussion around the proposed location for the building and outcome of the competition has been particularly active, both among experts and citizens.

Text: Tarja Nurmi, Architect, SAFA

The Nobel Snowflake. 2018. 59 min.
Director: Kajsa Andersö
Filming: Tomas Boman

Dir. Hans Christian Post, 2017, 54 min

Also:

A selection of films and videos are shown around the festival theme in the Bio Rex foyer. These viewings are free to the public.

Planeta Petrila 2016. 80 min. Director and screenwriter: Andrei Dascalescu.

Tickets

One-day ticket
Adults 20 €
Students, pensioners & children 15 €

Two-day ticket
Adults 30 €
Students, pensioners & children 25 €