Running Time: 116 mins
Rated: Rated PG
Many architecture critics consider Louis Kahn, a Jewish migrant from Estonia, to be the greatest American architect of the 20th century. There is plenty of evidence in this fine documentary to support the claim. His work is to be found in many American cities but the film reaches its climax with his designs for the government centre in Bangladesh.
Kahn seems to have been something of a workaholic genius. There is a great deal of footage of Kahn himself in the film.
However, he also had three children, one by his wife and one each by two of his associates. The director of this film is one of those children. He has set himself a quest: to try to find his father. This means that My Architect has a great deal to offer on American architecture. But it is also, the exploration of a character who did not reveal very much of his inner personal life but who obviously had a forceful influence on the women he loved and on his children.
Nathanael Kahn's gift as a documentary maker (as is very evident in his mockumentary on M. Night Shyamalan) is that most of his interviews are not just set studio pieces, formal interviews, guests sitting in a chair alongside the director and providing talking head material. He catches people on the move, in ordinary life-situations, carrying on a conversation so that the
audience has a camera-eye view of the interviewee so that we feel that we know those being interviewed and this is all a perfectly natural discussion. Kahn is always present but is not intrusive. He is as much a subject of his films as the name in the title. He has the knack of involving us in his quest.
Fr Peter Malone MSC is the International President of SIGNIS: the World Association for Catholic Communications and an Associate of the Australian Catholic Film Office.