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SKETCHES OF FRANK GEHRY

Director: SYDNEY POLLACK

U.S.A. • 2006 • COLOUR • DOLBY DIGITAL STEREO • 83 MIN


DIRECTOR SYDNEY POLLACK’S BREEZILY ENTERTAINING FILM ABOUT ARCHITECT FRANK GEHRY IS ESSENTIAL VIEWING FOR ANYONE INTERESTED IN THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT.
Famous for romantic comedies and political thrillers, Oscar winner Pollack has, until now, avoided the documentary format, a fact he is at pains to remind his friend and subject.
This, coupled with his confessed ignorance of architecture, makes Pollack, in Gehry’s eyes, an ideal medium through which the architect’s singular approach to building can be channelled. These two consummate professionals have been close friends for years, and Pollack’s admiration and affection for Gehry is apparent in his gentle, informal and unobtrusive shooting style, which is often content to simply observe the man at work.
Gehry is best known as the architect responsible for the titanium-clad Guggenheim Museum Bilbao (1997), the Pritzker Bandshell Chicago (2004) and his instantly iconic cardboard furniture. The work emerges as a dynamic, graceful, though sometimes aggressively personal expression of form. His technique of developing ideas with threedimensional models rather than on paper is sculptural and intuitive, confounding the prevailing canon of architectural processes.
As its title suggests, Pollack’s film is a loosely rendered portrait, a series of sketches rather than a complete picture. Indeed, it is tempting to see the film’s informal structure as an extension of Gehry’s impressionistic scribbling, the director forfeiting stylistic rigour in favour of an organic exploration of the artistic process. Although talking-head interviews with the likes of Philip Johnson and acerbic critic Hal Foster provide a degree of balance, this is essentially a celebration of individual talent. —David O Mahony.We are delighted to welcome Ultan Guilfoyle, the producer of Sketches of Frank Gehry, to the IFI this Friday 29th June for a Q&A after the 6.40pm screening. The Q&A will be chaired by Gemma Tipton.

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