January 31, 2012 | Fox Architects | Uncategorized

The Cinematography was Excellent Part II: Biutiful

There is a reason architects are drawn to cinema – motion picture occupies experiential space in a way that is unlike any other art form.  <a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juhani_Pallasmaa”>Juhani Palasmaa</a>, renowned Finnish architect, addresses this concept in his book <a href=”http://archidose.org/wp/2008/09/15/the-architecture-of-image/”><em>The Architecture of Image:  Existential Space in Cinema</em></a> when he writes:
<blockquote>“Cinema is…even closer to architecture than music, not solely because of its temporal and spatial structure, but fundamentally because both architecture and cinema articulate lived space.  These two art forms create and mediate comprehensive images of life…Both forms of art define the dimensions and essence of existential space; they both create experiential scenes of life situations.”</blockquote>
The 2010 Spanish film <a href=”http://www.biutiful-themovie.com/”>Biutiful</a>, which stars <a href=”http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000849/”>Javier Bardem</a>, and was nominated for several academy awards in 2011, is exactly the type of movie of which Palasmaa writes.  The atmospheric quality of each seen of this movie engages the viewer in that way that often comes about only once or twice per movie season, and Javier Bardem is so convincing as the lead character, a devoted father living with terminal cancer who also possesses the ability to communicate with ghosts, that I am shocked he did not <em>win</em> the Oscar category for which he was nominated.  What is most unique about this movie is its depiction of Barcelona, the city in which it takes place:  in Biutiful, Barcelona is not the picturesque city that it is typically thought of, but rather a gritty, unsettling version of itself, plagued by secrets and dangers just like any other big city.

This film is not light-hearted, nor is it a “Friday-night-pizza-and-popcorn-for-the-sake-of-mindless-entertainment” kind of film.  The film requires one’s full attention, and is as much about absorbing the imagery as it is about digesting the rich dialogue.  The film is also not short…at 2 ½ hours of subtitled-Spanish, this film requires true focus.  But Biutiful is absolutely worth watching, and I recommend adding it your queue.

<img class=”alignnone size-medium wp-image-786″ src=”http://fox-arch.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/biutiful-trailer2-300×156.jpg” alt=”biutiful-trailer” width=”300″ height=”156″ />

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