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1. Andy Goldsworthy's Rivers &
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2. My Architect
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3. The Films of Charles & Ray
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4. Sister Wendy's American Collection
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5. Sister Wendy - The Complete Collection
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6. The Impressionists - The Other
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7. Downtown 81
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8. Life of Leonardo Da Vinci
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9. The Way Things Go
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10. Beefcake
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11. Artmind - The Healing Power of
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12. Maya Lin - A Strong Clear Vision
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13. I.M. Pei - First Person Singular/The
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14. War Photographer
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15. The Life and Times of Frida Kahlo
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16. How to Draw a Bunny
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17. Picasso: The Man and His Work
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18. The Mystery of Picasso
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19. Francis Bacon
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20. Frank Lloyd Wright - A film by

1. Andy Goldsworthy's Rivers & Tides
Director: Thomas Riedelsheimer
list price: $26.95
our price: $20.21
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Asin: B0002JL9N6
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 140
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Andy Goldsworthy's Rivers and Tides is a truly beautiful, Finnish-German 2001 documentary about artist Goldsworthy, a Scotsman whose medium is nature itself and whose preferred studio is the outdoors, particularly where water forever flows, rises, and/or retreats. The soft-spoken, secluded Goldsworthy is seen hard at work making ephemeral sculptures out of bits of ice in the trees, or building tall, mysterious cones from loose rock, which stand like spiritual sentinels in forests and on shorelines, overgrown by plants or swallowed daily by high tides. Filmmaker-cinematographer Thomas Reidelsheimer goes to great and sometimes inexplicable lengths to make visual corollaries to Goldsworthy's ideas about underappreciated relationships between light, color, movement, balance, and fluidity of form in the real world, making Rivers and Tides a lively and always surprising cinematic gallery. Some of Goldsworthy's most miraculous natural installations--stone walls that snake through hundreds of feet of forest and stream, for instance--show up in the last half-hour. --Tom Keogh ... Read more

2. My Architect
Director: Nathaniel Kahn
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Asin: B0006Q93EM
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 597
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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One nonfiction film that truly creates a narrative journey, My Architect is filmmaker Nathaniel Kahn's engrossing search for his father. Louis Kahn, one of the most celebrated architects of the 20th century, died in 1974 and left behind a highly compartmentalized life, including two children born out of wedlock to two mistresses. Nathaniel interviews the members of this somewhat puzzled family, but his deepest experiences are visits to the buildings that his father made (such as the grand Salk Institute in La Jolla, California), culminating in an emotional trip to Bangladesh. Here, Louis Kahn designed a massive government complex, a soaring achievement (and fascinating paradox--a Muslim capital designed by a Jewish man). This film asks:where does an artist truly live? In his life, or in the work he leaves behind? Nathaniel Kahn takes an amazingly even-tempered approach to this, given his personal stake in the story, and the result is a uniquely stirring movie. --Robert Horton ... Read more

Reviews (25)

4-0 out of 5 stars What a ripper!
I watched this movie because I am fond of Louis Kahn's architectural works and I took my wife along as a test if general public would be able to relate to an architectural movie.It just happened that this movie managed to captivate the audience's heart strings.The essence of the Director, Louis Kahn's "bastard" son (as the Director called himself) was to discover his father via interviewing his colleagues (I M Pei, Philip Johnson), his admirers (Frank Gehry), his critic (the name has escaped me but the person that blocked Louis' utopian vision of having a non-vehicle city of Philadelphia, his ex-employees, his mistresses, his friends (in Bangladesh and India and happened to be architects in their own rights), viewing his works (some soaring in spiritual heights and grandeur and some simply polarised opinions).As the movie concluded, the Director said succinctly that he finally rediscovered his relationship with his Dad and it's time to move on after finishing this project.As some people said in this documentary, it's essential that Louis is seen as a fallible human-being but not a being of extraordinary capabilities.They continued to say that whilst there's no denying he made mistakes, that's offset by all contributions that he made to humankind and a person that sacrificed so much for his art at the expense of his families and his livelihood.This documentary comprised of many aspects that I didn't know of Louis Kahn and irrespective if it's catering to architectural buff like myself or to people who simply wanted to engage in splendid human story, this documentary is it.Whilst documentary is a bit crass, like Louis Kahn's belief, honesty and integrity in art is pivotal and I think his son would make him a very proud father indeed.This documentary comes in square format.Soundtracks that came together with this documentary can be deemed as whimsical (from all fields imaginable) but some really rose to the ocassion namely the one by Beethoven.Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Just Wonderful
Nathanial Kahn tells the story of a son's search for the mystery of his father through this one son's personal search. The story is emotionally gripping.The journey includes some fantastic visuals of buildings designed by Louis Kahn (example, the Salk Insititue), biographical information on his life, and interviews with prominent architects such as I.M. Pei, Moshe Safdie, Phillip Johnson and others.

The film also presents a working architects office and interviews with those who people such a world (even taxi drivers).A touching interview is with a man who viewed Louis Kahn after he had had a heart attack in Penn. Station...the viewer can feel the emotion of the son in the need for this interview (Nathanial was eleven when his father died). Louis Kahn's deathwas afront page NY Time'sstory.
There is a design to the filmthat interweaves these various threads with remarkable honesty and objectivity.
This documentary film is truly a work of art (including the selections that comprise the musical score). It is one to own.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Film
I was very impressed with the manner that Nathanial Kahn included his audience in the discoveries he made in the documentary of his father. Although I watched it three days ago, the film still weighs heavily on my mind and in my heart. My heart goes out to the 11 year old boy who lost his father, and his dreams at such a young age. My respect goes out to a director who approached the project in such an openminded and honest manner.

Nathanial Kahn managed to create a wonderful film that explained much about Louis Kahn's life and personality without de-mystifying him in any way. His movie is honest, personal and objective at times. At others, it is detached, and purposefully open ended. The complexity of the film is a clear reflection of the complexity of Louis Kahn himself. A man who was a genius, but was so flawed in his personal life.

Nathanial Kahn, like his father, istruly a creative genius. If one studies the evolving nature of his style through this film, it is clear he was experimenting and learning as he went. He was adapting to the content.

He would extract memories from individuals who knew his father, but the information was decidedly different depending on whether the person knew he was Kahn's son, or whether this fact was hidden from the person being interviewed. It was fascinating to see how he himself hid the fact that he was Louis Kahn's son in an effort to obtain more objective thoughts from his subjects. A less talented filmmaker would have been unable to evolve throughout the filmmaking process the way Nathanial Kahn did.

The honesty of his approach could be construed as a lack of a strong concept for the film, but I believe it is truly a reflection of his openmindedness, and his desire to get at the truth about his father. His clear lack of an agenda for the film is not only a credit to him as a filmmaker, but it is the one aspect of him that separates him from nearly every documentary-maker in the national spotlight today.

Finally, I can't end this review without commenting on Ed Bacon, the retired city planner from Philadelphia, and Louis Kahn's arch enemy.Ed Bacon has to be one of the most crass and uninspiring people I have ever seen on film. An egotist with a trailer park mentality at best.

It is ashame such an unintellectual individual could hold so much power for so long in a city as great as Philadelphia. The damage he created in his career will haunt that city for decades. I certainly credit Nathanial Kahn for simply letting the camera roll. The more Ed Bacon talked, the more foolish he looked and sounded. Nathanial Kahn's genius for quickly adapting to his subject captured the true evil that Mr. Bacon somehow managed to exploit for so many years. Through this film, it is quite satisfying to know that in the end, Louis Kahn triumphed over Ed Bacon. This is what history will record.

I do not believe there was true closure for Nathanial Kahn,but I do believe the facts show his father truly loved him in his own way. This was clearly evident in photos of the two, as well as when they made the book of funny boats one evening when Nathanial was a child.

There is no question that Louis Kahn hurt those who were close to him. Nevertheless, there was something special about him that kept his family and friends in place for so long both during life, and long after his death. The film does not completely explain this phenomenon, but like his art and his life, it is a question that has no clear answer.

5-0 out of 5 stars Phenomenal architect, phenomenal film
This film works just beautifully, both as a personal narrative and as an exploration of Kahn's visionary architecture.I was utterly floored by the emotional impact of Nathaniel Kahn's journey into his father's past.As Kahn's appreciation of his father's professional accomplishments expands, so, too, does his sense of loss for the absentee father whom he knew only fleetingly, and who died when he was eleven.By the end of the film, when we see the reverence with which Kahn is viewed in India (where he is considered a sort of yogi or guru for his transformation of matter into "light and silence"), and in Bangladesh (where his enormous personal and financial sacrifice to build the governmental center made him a martyr in the eyes of many), we may come to view his problematic moral and family choices as simply the byproduct of a mind focused on universal themes.But this does not negate the intense pain he caused his several families, and it is instructive that someone so generous and talented was also the instrument of so much personal suffering to those who loved him most.The filmmaker explores all of this with unflinching honesty, enhanced by wonderful camera work and an evocative soundtrack; he has created a work of art entirely worthy of his famous father's legacy.

4-0 out of 5 stars Some people choose to love things rather than people
This is a movie by Nathaniel Kahn, about his father, Louis I. Kahn, who is regarded as one of the great architects of the 20th century. Notice that the movie is titled "My Architect," not "My Father." Nathaniel does not know much about his father; Louis Kahn died when Nathaniel was 11. He died in Penn Station, in the restroom, and his body was unclaimed for three days because he had scratched out the home address on his passport and no one knew who he was. Nathaniel's mother told him this was because his father had decided to leave his legal wife and daughter, and come to live with Nathaniel and his mom. Up till this time, Louis had only come to visit Nathaniel and his mother about once a week, at night, and they drove Louis home before morning, letting him out a few blocks from his home.

This film is shot documentary style. Nathaniel is now in his 30s, and he wonders if his father ever had any intention of actually living with them. It has been 20 years since his father passed on, and most of his father's friends are now in their 80s. Nathaniel decides to go talk with some of them and try to get a better idea of who his dad was. He has also decided to visit all of the major buildings his father designed, hoping to get some feeling from his dad's work about what kind of person he was, and hoping to feel some connection with what his father has left behind. There is archival footage of Louis Kahn at work in his office, lecturing university students, and surveying the construction of his buildings.

What Nathaniel discovers is that most of the people who knew Louis Kahn understood him through his work, but did not know very much about his personal life. He was a difficult man in many ways, and stories are told about how he worked his employees so hard that he would not allow one of them to leave work and be at the hospital when the man's child was born. Some of the people that Nathaniel goes to talk to are nice until they learn that he is Louis' "bastard son," and then they don't want to talk to him anymore. Some of the people tell him that his father was a genius and that his work was too big and important to allow him to focus on something as insignificant as his family. Some of the people knew about the "second family" and when they find out who Nathaniel is, they cry.

At some point, Nathaniel discovers he has ANOTHER half-sister, also the product of his father's extra-marital affair with an employee. But that family moved on, whereas Nathaniel's mother spent her life hoping and dreaming and waiting for Louis to choose her over his wife.

So the entire movie is a search to find out what kind of person Louis was, and for Nathaniel to sort out his feelings for his father. He wonders, are he and his half-sisters a family??? Did his father care about people, or only about buildings?

At the end of the movie, he still doesn't have the answers about why his father did what he did, or whether his father intended to come live with them, or even if his father loved his mother at all. He finally meets his two half-sisters, he talks to aunts and uncles on both sides of his family (some of whom did not know he existed), he challenges his mother about why she never moved on and found a life companion, and finally he decides that it's time to let go of the father he never had. ... Read more

3. The Films of Charles & Ray Eames - The Powers of 10 (Vol. 1)
list price: $24.99
our price: $19.99
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Asin: 6305943877
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 3150
Average Customer Review: 4.86 out of 5 stars
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Charles and Ray Eames are among the finest designers of the 20th century. They are best known for their groundbreaking contributions to architecture, furniture design, industrial design and manufacturing. The legacy of this husband and wife team includes more than 75 films that reflect the breadth and depth of their interests. Volume 1 of this DVD collection includes an adventure in magnitudes, "Powers of Ten" (1968, 9 min.). Starting at a picnic by the lakeside in Chicago, this famous film transports us to the outer edges of the universe. Every ten seconds we view the starting point from ten times farther out, until our own galaxy is visible only as a speck of light among many others. Returning to earth with breathtaking speed, we move inward--into the hand of the sleeping picnicker--with ten times more magnification every ten seconds. Our journey ends inside a proton of a carbon atom within a DNA molecule in a white blood cell. This DVD also includes the original version of "Powers of Ten" entitled "A Rough Sketch for a Proposed Film Dealing with the Powers of Ten and the Relative Size of Things in the Universe" (8 min.), a remarkable film in its own right, plus "901: After 45 Years of Working" (1989, 29 min.), a record of the Eames Office at 901 Washington Boulevard in Venice, California and a document of its closing by filmmaker, Eames Demetrios; it uses the space as a prism through which to look at the Eames' life and work. ... Read more

Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars Too Addictive
I originally watched this film as a 12 year old boy on British television one Saturday morning and it seared itself onto my brain leaving me longing for the day when I could have a copy of my own!!

I acquired a region one copy recently and couldn't wait to see if it was still as good as it was when I saw it back in 1984. Was it? In a word "YES!"
Everything about this short film is magnificent. It remains as seamless as I remembered, and considering it was made back in '77, it really does look as if it was made in the 1990's.
Being a bit of a self proclaimed deep thinker, this films really
does open your mind to how the universe works, all in 8 minutes.
Both the large and small scale magnitudes are fascinating and educational and it makes for a scientific visual feast.

Hopefully in years to come a new "Powers Of Ten" film will emerge with the possible addition of Third-Order Superclusters and Superstring theories.

Both big and small are beautiful. Buy it today.

5-0 out of 5 stars first time buyer
extremely pleased with service, delivery speed and quality of product. 'Power of Ten' is a classic, worth having.

5-0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Fantastic
This is a wonderful video. The Powers of Ten is an amazing work, really effectively demonstrates how vast and tiny we all are. The studio film is equally moving.

5-0 out of 5 stars Genuinely Outstanding
It is impossible to overstate how amazing this little movie is. I still remember seeing it for the first time, at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C., at the age of nine, wearing my Boston Red Sox baseball cap. I literally had to be dragged away. I just wanted to see it again and again.

This video contains both the final version of the film, which I saw as a child, and the original, discarded film from which the final version was derived. In the final version, the "camera" begins by focusing on a couple lying out on a picnic blanket, in a small park in Chicago. Every ten seconds, the camera pulls back by a factor of ten, AKA a single "order of magnitude," for all you non-scientists out there. Gradually you come to see the entire park, then the city of Chicago, then the entire metropolitan region, the Great Lakes, North America, Earth... At the end of four minutes, the "camera" has pulled back by ten to the twenty-fourth meters, which is far enough back to be far outside of our Milky Way galaxy, and even outside our local supercluster, the Virgo supercluster. One almost wishes that Ray and Charles Eames had attempted this marvel of a film after the 1980s, when, due to advances in our astronomical understanding of the universe, they could have included an extra 30 or 40 seconds of pulling back the camera, to include large-scale structure, the "Great Attractor," etc. At any rate, after the four minutes of pulling the camera back, they zip it back in at the couple on the blanket at five times the original speed, in 48 seconds flat. (For more fun than humans should be allowed, you might want to use your remote control to fast-forward this part. What a ride!) The camera zips in to focus on the hand of the man lying on the picnic blanket, and then goes INWARD, getting smaller and smaller, into the cells on his hand, within his DNA, inside a carbon atom, and into the very nucleus of the carbon atom. The range of scales covered is ten to the fortieth power, which seeing this movie will help you understand in a profoundly visceral way. No mean feat, eh?!!?

After this treat of a film, we see the earlier version upon which it was based. The primary difference between the two versions is that in the first version, there is a side window kept running throughout the movie, which shows the effect of relativity on the time-keeping of ten seconds per order of magnitude of meters travelled. Around the time the "camera" pulls back from 10-to-the-13th to 10-to-the-14th meters, the subjective time-sense of the camera operator would start to be strongly affected by relativity, because the "camera" would start to be travelling at a significant fraction of the speed of light. Gradually, subjective and Earthly time-sense gets so far out of whack that ten seconds for the cameraman would be 100,000,000 years on Earth. This might have the effect of prompting the philosophically-inclined viewer to get the screaming meemies, but it's better not to sweat the phiosophical details too much. Just ride with it, baby. Anyway, evidently, the producers decided that the additional feature of the relativistic clock was too distracting, and they pulled it from the final version. Here in this video, we get to see both versions of the film, which is a pretty tremendous experience.

If you are a science or math teacher, or if you know one with a birthday coming up, for crying out loud BUY THIS MOVIE!!! It's so fantastic, it will make kids wonder why on Earth any rational human would ever voluntarily do anything other than study science and math. Ten-to-the-fortieth thumbs up!

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful !
What is amazing to me is that this only encompasses our "present understanding" (which changed only slightly since the film was made)! How big must the Creator be? ... Read more

4. Sister Wendy's American Collection Box Set
list price: $79.95
our price: $71.96
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Asin: B00005RG6K
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 18757
Average Customer Review: 3 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (4)

1-0 out of 5 stars This Sucks
This is a complete waste of time. The information that is given is completly useless and not worth the amount of time it takes to sit through this, not to mention the amount of money you are about to spend. And don't even think of using it as a teacing utensial, all but the most driven students will surely fall asleep, and the ones that do stay awake will curse you as a teacher for years to come.

5-0 out of 5 stars Sister Wendy's passion for art ignites it in others
My local PBS station had a Sister Wendy "marathon" on New Year's Day, showing the entire American Collection; I was both captivated and inspired. Had museums been open, I would have dashed to San Francisco to take in some art. Also, the program made me want to visit museums she toured.

In an interview with Bill Moyers (also available on video) that followed the American Collection, Oxford-educated Sister Wendy emphasized that her mission is to help people embrace art by making it accessible. (Even Moyers admitted to being intimidated by the thought that he might not evaluate a work of art correctly,i.e., according to how art critics see it.)

Sister Wendy mentions in the Moyers interview that she possesses an immense library of scholarly works on art. She feels her in-depth study of these books justifies her definite opinions about art.

Whether you agree or disagree with Sister Wendy's assessment of what a work of art is expressing, you won't be able to deny that her passion is inspiring.

Sister Wendy's credibility was, for me, increased when Moyers asked her what she thought of Andres Serrano's "Piss-Christ," a work in which a replica of Christ was immersed in a container of urine. She didn't dismiss the work as something created merely to shock, rather she thought the artist meant to represent the irreverence with which most people treat Christ and his teachings. She qualified her judgment by stating that she considered it a rather mediocre work because it didn't challenge the viewer: people had an immediate and visceral reaction that didn't require consideration or time to form.

Finally, in a society that seemingly hasn't moved beyond an adolescent attitude toward sex, Sister Wendy's perspective that human sexuality is a gift from God and an aspect of ourselves to be celebrated is refreshing.

1-0 out of 5 stars Chattering Boredom
I bought this "American Collection" based on the European series which aired on PBS. The European experience I enjoyed, but this American jaunt was a journey to Tedium. This is a travelogue about cities and museums with some art tossed in to justify to whole production. Sister Wendy chatters endlessly about her opinions, her living quarters, and more items than I wanted or cared to hear about. The whole project is too ambitious for the time frame of six hours. For example, Vermeer painted only 34 paintings that exist today. One museum visted has 5 hanging. Wow! A chance to view 5 of the 34, but Sister Wendy blew buy the first 4, and went on endlessly about the 5th one. The time would have been better spent by viewing each for a few moments, whereby I could have done a freeze frame. Save your money.

5-0 out of 5 stars Sister Wendy is a pilar of greatness. A sublime view of art.
Sister Wendy is a fantastic resource for art. She imbues passion and depth beyond any art professor or historian I have ever seen.

These tapes will leave you with a sense of wonder and make even the hardest time feel chipper. ... Read more

5. Sister Wendy - The Complete Collection (Story of Painting/Grand Tour/Odyssey/Pains of Glass)
list price: $79.98
our price: $68.98
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Asin: B00006G8FJ
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 6089
Average Customer Review: 4.29 out of 5 stars
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Sister Wendy Beckett has transformed public appreciation of art through her astonishing knowledge, insight and passion for painting and painters. Join her on a trip across the world and through the ages, where her contemplative insights and unorthodox enthusiasm bring the world's great art to life. Contains Sister Wendy's Story of Painting, Sister Wendy's Odyssey, and Sister Wendy's Grand Tour. ... Read more

Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars Wendy is wonderful
Wendy presents the world of art on a variety of levels, historic, psychological, spritual and mystical. She is enthusiastic and emotional towards her topics. Listening to her is really a joy. Consider that her life is not filled with the financial, relational, and ownership concerns that most of us deal with on a daily basis. Her spirit is uncluttered to the point that she can see clearly, freely and purely and she wants to share that experience with us. She has no real possessions of her own, but wants to give us what she does have, and that is her obvious enthusiasm, insight and deep understanding.

1-0 out of 5 stars The collection itself is great but . . .
The collection itself is great, it includes much more than the VHS version, however I had a problem with 3 out of 4 of the DVD disks in the box not working correctly. I returned it and got another set only to have the same problem with the same numbered disks. I finally had to return it and did not get another replacement copy. I gave up after 2 sets displayed exactly the same problem. There's no reason for this because Sister Wendy's American DVD collection works fine as do all of the other art DVD's I bought. Yet, I had problems with this collection, so there must be a defect in the manufacture.

5-0 out of 5 stars put aside your prejudice, learn and have fun!
I highly recommend this DVD even if the idea of an old nun talking about art doesn't seem appealing or trendy to you. Believe me, I was VERY suspicious about it and also prejudiced at the beginning, but Sister Wendy's excellent teachings of art history coupled with her intense passion for the subject has completely won me over. If like me your prejudiced, go ahead and buy it, the chances are that you won't regret it. You willl learn a lot and have fun too. I went to the inauguration events of both Bilbao's Guggenheim and Cincinnati's CAC. I am attracted to art not only because of the art itself but also because of the avant-gard, rebellious, environment of sophistication and good taste that surrounds it. Thus, I am in the target category of people who may be prejudiced against an old nun talking about art as that brings to mind images of conservativism, total obcession with old religious paintings, preaching, unworldlyness, lack of technical knowledge, etc, etc. Nothing of that is true of Sister Wendy. In fact in this DVD she will tell you that Matisse is her favorite painter (surprised that is not Giotto?), she will provide all the technical details and context like an Ivy league professor and she will gp beyond that by pouring her heart out about the emotions that the paintings originate in her, and you will be surprised to know that is not all about piety. The best DVD I have ever seen about art and I have an extensive collection with more traditional sources as narrators (museum directors, NY art critics, painters, etc) which aren't nearly as good.

4-0 out of 5 stars She's out there but she's cool...
Making great works of art accessible to everyone is a worthy enterprise. Sister Wendy sets out on this daunting task with her interesting lisp and her often offbeat analysis of these greats works. Her enthusiasm is infectious. People really are intimidated when they see this stuff. Afraid to "get it wrong". Sister Wendy is here to sort of lead you into looking at art yourself with that same childlike enthusiasm. With an open mind. She likes to show you how to dump preconceived notions of what is and is not great art and just look. Enjoy the act of looking. Sister Wendy is a bit of a hedonist that way. I find her analysis very strange at times. I don't always agree with her but she is so much fun I can forgive her anything.

For a fun little game, try to count the number of times she says "Ewotic" in a given episode. The makings of a great drinking game there.

5-0 out of 5 stars Get it much cheaper at
So what happened to your little button asking if we had a cheaper source? Doe the truth hurt? ... Read more

6. The Impressionists - The Other French Revolution
Director: Bruce Alfred
list price: $39.95
our price: $35.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00005MKOP
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 8742
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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This epic documentary does a wonderful job of recapturing the revolutionary impact the impressionists made while providing a historical and artistic context for this extraordinary group of painters. The work of Monet, Degas, Morisot, and their fellow impressionists has now become so familiar that its power to shock has all but disappeared.

Young and resolutely modern, these artists threw off the shackles of academic art to capture everyday life in paintings that were iconoclastic in both style and subject. At first they struggled to survive because their work was rejected by the conservative Paris Salon, but those with independent means helped those without (Monet in particular was frequently rescued from poverty by his friends), and gradually they became impossible to ignore. Bruce Alfred's script thoroughly explains the development of the impressionists' approach to art and reveals fascinating aspects of their individual personalities, while a combination of dramatic reconstructions, period photographs, and the paintings themselves creates a rich and informative visual tapestry. Anyone with an interest in the history of art will find much to enjoy. --Simon Leake ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars magnifique!
My wife and I love Impressionism. We have several art books on the topic, and we saw the massive exhibit in Washington, D.C., in 1986 (from which we're still recovering!), and a more recent one at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth.

BUT ... we learned so much in this DVD set (which I gave to my wife as a Christmas present) that we had not read/learned anywhere else: there is a lot of information about the artists' personal lives, family problems, quarrels with each other, their failing health and deaths, etc., that is almost as fascinating as the paintings themselves -- which are simply LUMINOUS in this presentation.

The only disappointment is the limited "extras" and the limited number of paintings in the gallery extra -- perhaps a reason to downrate this to 4 stars. But ... I'll keep it at 5. ... Read more

7. Downtown 81
Director: Edo Bertoglio
list price: $29.99
our price: $26.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00006GF6H
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 12474
Average Customer Review: 3.88 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (8)

4-0 out of 5 stars The extra star is for the Time Capsule.....
Movie is really a "loose term" here, there's not much of a linear story going on, but it is excellent for capturing a exciting time period for NYC.

Enjoyed seeing the different groups, Kid Creole and Deborah Harry a/k/a Blondie in their respective primes. I bought it for Basquait, but it was decent. Yeah, the dialogue sucked, watch it on mute and turn up the musical #'s... I don't blame the filmakers though, apparently the original sound was lost.

4-0 out of 5 stars KID CREOLE ROCKS
This movie is totally not what I expected, and I am very glad it is not! It is a funny story with good screen shots of Jean-Michel and his co-stars. Not a documentary but a movie worth watching again and again. You will be pleased.
one might take notice of the Kid Creole performance...looks very familiar to the Talkin Heads "stop making sence" concert performance video of 1984. well, Creole did it in 1981! David Byrne obviously saw it and got away with it...till now! Kid Creole ROCKS!!!!

4-0 out of 5 stars A trippy almost surreal peek into the 80s New York art scene
If you can bypass the bad,out of sync dialogue(It seems the original master audio might have been lost and recreated solely for the re-issue)this is a really good ,dare I say it, art movie. It's a rare treat for anyone to see classic No Wave bands like DNA,Tuxedomoon & James White and the Blacks on film,hands down. And who can ever say even one bad word about the Japanese band the Plastics? My only slight beef with the film was that it sometimes tried to drive the point too much in the premise that "This is New York,baby!!! We're the center of the world!" Also,it vacillated between Basquiat,his syntax art and the bands so often you weren't sure what was the film's true focus. Still,for a 21 year old lost movie(that survived only by the master negative being locked away and forgotten)it's a gem of a period piece. The special appearance by Debbie Harry makes things even more quirky. Very definitely an excellent companion video to the Basquiat biopic.

4-0 out of 5 stars a time and a place
important film for documenting a great time and place. the music scenes make it worthwhile as well as getting to see basquiat in action, only downside is the kid creole stuff which was is and shall always be awful. if they could delete kid creole i'd give it 5 stars. the extras are pretty good.

4-0 out of 5 stars A look back...
A window into NYC in 1981 and the short, fast life of Jean Michel Basquiat. The movie is choppy, edgy, and sometimes just weird, but so were the times. The music scenes at the Mudd Club (Max's KC) were great!
If you know his art, and are interested in the period of time, Downtown 81 is a good illustration of what the scene was like. ... Read more

8. Life of Leonardo Da Vinci
Director: Renato Castellani
list price: $39.99
our price: $35.99
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Asin: B0000950XR
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 4816
Average Customer Review: 4.25 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (12)

5-0 out of 5 stars Priceless Video
Of all the video studies I have seen this one is most accurate and most priceless, taking the viewer on a tour of the artist's life from his illegitimate birth to his death at a very old age. Orginally produced in Italy with Italian and British actors, this movie which spoke Italian has the same dialogue well translated into English, allowing the viewer to understand the true depth, drama, wry wit, and humor of Italians.

Leonardo Da Vinci was a tragic figure to whom painting came as natural as breathing, giving his portraits a life like quality that was niether equalled nor excelled even by his contempory, Michaelangelo. Da Vinci's fascination with mechanics, anatomy, the weather, flight, and all are well presented in dramatic fashion, allowing the viewer to share in his inpiration and lament in his sorrow at not having accomplished all he had hoped to with his brilliant mind. Leonardo Da Vinci's competition with Michaelangelo is all well documented.

Questar's presentation is well worth the money spent on it. In my opinion it is priceless and should be viewed by all who love and study the Renaissance and Leonardo Da Vinci.

5-0 out of 5 stars For all Fans of the Maestro
How can anyone capture the complexity of such a staggering and legendary figure as Leonardo da Vinci? This massive docudrama gives its all, and will probably never be surpassed. It is an excellent treatment of Leonardo's tulmultuous life, both highly informative and entertaining. The device of having the narrator himself step into the scenes to give context and anecdotal information works very well in counterpoint to the dramatic illustrations of episodes in his life. The narration makes a point of separating the legends (started by Vasari and others) from the facts, the acting is good, and there are many added, startling touches that are fantastic.

5-0 out of 5 stars Perfect
Made in Italy in 1972, with superb acting from Philippe Leroy and supporting cast. What is most fascinating, however, are the reconstructions of Leonardo's many artistic and mechanical masterpieces, some of which have been lost. The costumes, the sets and camera are all flawless. One of the best documentaries of all time.

1-0 out of 5 stars I've seen better...
After reading The DaVinci Code, I wanted to watch a biography about DaVinci, so I purchased this movie. It was made sometime in the 1970's and the screen quality (even on DVD) is horrible. What's worse is the awful overdub. At the beginning of the movie an announcer explains that there is not a lot of information on the childhood of Leonardo DaVinci, but this is what could have happened...and they create little childhood for DaVinci. I thought this would have had biographers and mini dramatizations on DaVinci's life...not a full movie recreating his life.

4-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating!!!
This DVD is focused more on the historical aspect of Da Vinci's life. It is very comprehensive and will give you great detail about his life. I really recommend this DVD to any Renaissance fan or anybody that want to witness our true potential as human beings. Da Vinci invented the parachute before people could fly or even thought about it...
I was in particular fascinated about the extra material in this two DVD package, offered a more artistic information about his masterpieces.
Any Da Vinci fan will love this DVD although I think it still does not truly reflect the maestro's legacy. ... Read more

9. The Way Things Go
Director: Peter Fischli, David Weiss (II)
list price: $19.95
our price: $15.96
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Asin: B00005UW7W
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 3477
Average Customer Review: 4.48 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (25)

4-0 out of 5 stars Young children love it but it is for all ages
The video is approximately 30 minutes of non-stop motion showing cause-and-effect. The background is an old factory and there is no music score or narration, just the real sounds of the fire lighting, of things dropping down and rolling, etc. A very active imagination (or imaginations) thought up the ideas of what would roll, drop, ignite, etc. to make the next thing happen. The recording is a bit amateur and sometimes the lighting is a bit dim, but the content is so fantastic and real but it doesn't matter to our family because we love it.

My family began watching this when our youngest was nearing two years old and my oldest was four: both were glued to the screen. My husband and I enjoy it as well. Our four-year-old was so inspired he wanted to create a similar and large set-up (with fire and everything) in our home! I was able to convince my son that we could not do a large set up with fire, etc. so while I was busy makign dinner, on his own he made a chain-of-events set-up out of wooden unit blocks and wooden cylinders, and toys that would roll. He called me to see his demonstration and then we had discussions about ideas of what would work, tried them and then brainstormed other ideas when it did not work. I was surprised at the creative thinking this video inspired in my four-year-old.

I am just amazed at the creativity and imagination at work in this video and that such a huge project was set up and obviously practiced many times to ensure that it would work as it was being filmed.

This is entertainment and education rolled into one. This is a welcome change for children to watch from the usual children's video programs that are available (although it is for people of all ages).

2-0 out of 5 stars a poorly filmed collection of 6th grade science experiments
This film was NOT done in one take like some reviewers here might imagine. This film is almost 30 minutes, made up of about 20 or more short segments of film showing some simple chain reactions. I think it would be impossible for any viewer to miss the cuts and transitions as one segment ends and the next begins.. This film is not mesmerizing - it is repetitive and amateurish. Events are duplicated, and the same props used in previous segments are reused. This film holds some interest as a student film, but there is nowhere near enough substance to justify putting it alone onto a DVD, and it is not worth the same price as top of the line movie classics.. If this DVD had five additional student films of similar quality to this one on it might be worth a little.. If you buy this don't say I didn't warn you.. (P.S., if you've never played with fire, dry ice, baking soda and vinegar, balloons, or balancing and rolling things then perhaps you would be more amazed at this film. But probably you will find looking out the window more interesting than watching this.)

5-0 out of 5 stars 6th grade science review
If you've read the other reviews you already know what this video is about. What I'd like to add is that I am amazed every year that my sixth graders watch this video, with no dialogue or music, and are enthralled with it for the full 30 minutes. I show it after we've done an extensive motion and energy unit and simple machines unit. Before watching it I explain 3 or 4 reactions that they may not get on their own, which piques their interest. It is the one video they remember years after leaving 6th grade!

3-0 out of 5 stars Is this for real?
I remember watching this film late on television
one night after the pubs shut back in my student days.
I remember watching and thinking "THIS IS AMAZING", as did my housemates .
After recently buying a copy and watching it again it is still
a great 30 mins entertainment.

There are obvious cut scenes that sceptics will pick up on.

One minute it's daylight, the next it's DARK! MMmmm....

Why didnt they have an overhead camera to prove that this was
all done in one take!

Scepticism aside. This is worthy of being in your eclectic DVD
collection. It's worth the money.

5-0 out of 5 stars Simply amazing
You really have to see this one to believe it. The spinning bag unwinds its tether and gradually descends. At some point, it reaches down to a balanced tire, and gives it a gentle push ...

For about the next half hour (it seems like a lot more), each object in the chain bumps into the next, pulls the support from under it, launches a bottle-rocket into it, or somehow kicks off the next step in the chain. There must be hundreds of steps, involving flame, weighted cylinders rolling up hill, and a few episodes of oozing spooge.

The presentation is very plain, just the documentary of this incredible sequence chaining cause to effect. There is no sound track except for the noises made by the parts of this wild "machine". Even the parts themselves look like nothing special: teapots and tires, soda bottles and sugar cubes. It's the action that counts, and the time and creativity that brought it into being.

Perhaps the creators cheated at a few steps. There are some cuts in an otherwise continuous stream of action. If some purist lets that interfere with their enjoyment of the spectacle, it's their loss. If someone wants a "point" to the sequence, that's not my problem. It just is, and it's wonderful. ... Read more

10. Beefcake
Director: Thom Fitzgerald
list price: $34.99
our price: $31.49
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Asin: B0000541AD
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 8229
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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"Beefcake," Thom Fitzgerald's (The Hanging Garden) provocative blending of fiction and documentary, tells the story of Bob Mizer, the pioneering founder of the Athletic Model Guild, a company which produced still photographs and short films extolling the beauty and chiseled physiques of men. The fiction story follows photographer and enterprising businessman Mizer, who teamed up with his mother in 1945 to film his beefy star-wannabes around his sun-drenched pool. It is here that Neil, a naive, right-off-the-bus teen is lured into using his handsome looks to become a model. The wide-eyed Neil soon learns about the world of sex and prostitution. But a police raid and ensuing criminal trial soon threaten both of the men's worlds. Interspersed with the story are rare archival footage and interviews with former co-workers, customers and models. ... Read more

Reviews (19)

2-0 out of 5 stars Phony baloney!
The most frustrating thing about this film is the lackadaisical way it moves back and forth between engaging interviews and authentic 50s/60s film footage and the silly, flacid narrative about a physique magazine photographer who involves his unwitting (?) family in the creation of benign bordello/porn factory. Clearly, the beefcake pictoral magazines depicted were intended to be erotically provokative in an era of censorship when postal regulations prevented anything more graphic from being distributed. But the filmmaker seems devoid of a point of view. The film is little more than a blown kiss to a blessedly bygone era. Any perspective setting comes from the talking heads, the former models (like Joe Dallesandro and Jack LaLanne) and photographers who reflect on what it was like to be in the business back then. Also, frustrating was the failure to address the issue of the prevailing double standard; at a time when Hugh Hefner was taking female nudity into the middleclass mainstream, why was the male body such a persistant taboo? As clever as the intercutting of new and vintage footage is, the vintage films are best appreciated when run in their entirety as DVD "extras" (there are six in all, including one involving alien spacemen with antennas!). Watching them provokes a lot of questions. But alas, the viewer is left to come up with his or her own answers. This could have been the "Atomic Cafe" of gay erotica, but instead it's an after-school special with a little eye candy thrown in.

4-0 out of 5 stars Please Pass the Beef
First of all, for those of you out who like straight-forward plot lines with twists and turns throughout, object to male nudity and get bored if something doesn't blow up in the first 15 minutes - then do not watch this movie.

As for the rest of us, who can appreciate intelligent mock-u-mentory styled films, "BeefCake" is a fabulous way to spend a Sunday evening. Through flashback sequences, photo clips and interiews with ex-hustlers/models from the 1950's, we receive the story of Robert Henry Mizer and his Athletic Model Guild. The movie jumps around a bit between Mizer's history with his pulp art magazine, his legal troubles for running escorts as well as the interviews, which makes one wonder how scatterbrained director Thom Fitzgerald really is. But the acting is good, the scenes are funny/interesting and there's plenty of male nudity to go around. Where can you go wrong?

3-0 out of 5 stars Just OK.
An interesting film, respectful and with a touch of humour. Not a "must see" material but nothing I felt sorry after buying it.

5-0 out of 5 stars With a title like Beefcake... don't expect Shakespeare! But what you do get is an incredibly entertaining look at the birth of gay society's fascination with the male form. If the viewer can tear his attention away from the bountiful eye-candy he/she will also get a glimpse into the hardships and very real dangers that these seemingly cheesey photographers and publishers went through just to give us a glimpse of the body beautiful. Part movie, part documentary...all delightfully delicious!

4-0 out of 5 stars Nudity galore!
Beefcake is a light-hearted, semi-documentary about the life and times of a muscle-magazine, Physique pictorial. Published during the puritanical 1950ies, it made quite a stir.

PP was the original hunk-o-rama, with hundreds of smiling, tanned and muscled young men flashing their goods at you. Of course, it was not strictly a nude-mag (the models wore small pouches in front of you know what..) but the gay readers had a field time anyway! The publishers also made short films featuring their hunky stars. It was all marketed as "promoting health and physical fitness in young minds"

Looking back at those "innocent" times from this liberal day and age, we can only smile at the cunning and bravery that went into it. The brains behind PP, Bob Mizer, was actually jailed and fined several times on charges of renting out his models as escorts to rich men. Still, the mag continued into the 60's and 70's.

Watching Beefcake is like flipping through those pages of PP, stopping occasionally for some reconstructed dramatic scenes. But the best parts are watching the guys modelling, doing some amateur acting in front of Mizer's camera and generally horsing around. Great fun!

There are several interviews with the guys who posed for the mag, one of them, Joe Dallesandro, apparently did his posing mostly nude! There is, in fact, copious nudity in Beefcake, and the men are all fabulous looking.

There are some great contemporary songs on the soundtrack, as well. A good time movie for the (mostly) gay crowd. ... Read more

11. Artmind - The Healing Power of Sacred Art with Alex Grey
Director: Jay Weidner
list price: $19.95
our price: $19.95
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Asin: B0002HDH1K
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 11346
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During the course of this exquisite mind expanding DVD, renowned teacher and visionary artist Alex Grey discusses his artistic vision, life experiences, metaphysical journeys, sacred teachings, and painters that have influenced his work . While exploring the sacred art of spiritual traditions from around the world, he offers insight into the power of sacred art to assist us inrevitalizing our health and sense of well-being so that we may open the doors of our perception into the luminous nature of reality, and discover our divine potential.

Included are scores of his paintings and sculptures going back over twenty years of creation.

Is it possible that art has the power to heal? Could it be that the sacred paintings, sculptures and monuments from ancient civilizations around the work were created to evoke more than just beauty alone? Do they also have the power to heal and enlighten us, expand our visionary capacity and bring us face to face with divine reality? Join Alex Grey as he takes us on an amazing transformative journey into his unique artistic and spiritual vision.

This DVD also includes the Alex Grey Gallery Special Feature! ... Read more

12. Maya Lin - A Strong Clear Vision
Director: Freida Lee Mock
list price: $24.95
our price: $22.46
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Asin: B00008PHD1
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 5381
Average Customer Review: 4.09 out of 5 stars
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This Academy Award winner reveals the contentious origins of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and tells the story of its creator, a 21-year-old architecture student whose plan was selected from over 1,000 different designs, beating out some of the most prest ... Read more

Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars poetry of the design process
This documentary film is a unique experience for which it is difficult to find a comparison. On a basic level, the film discusses several projects of artist/architect Maya Lin, a young Chinese-American woman who unexpectedly won the design competition for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial while a Yale student. Her design, a departure from conventional expectations, is now famous, and is the most visited memorial in Washington D.C. Some of the strong feelings that the Vietnam War elicits in people, especially its veterans, is touched upon in moving live scenes at the Memorial and in the controversial hearings that were held in the wake of the design's selection. The experience put Maya Lin in a national spotlight and forced the student to mature very quickly addressing the grievances of veterans and others. In the end, with some minor site additions, the Memorial stood as designed, with the names of all the veterans of Vietnam etched in its simple polished, reflective granite. Other works of Maya Lin, including the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Alabama; the Yale Women's Table; and others demonstrate a similar simplicity and poetry that is both moving and powerful. There are moments in the film, as simple as when the artist is working at her drafting table, that suggest something both beautiful and spiritual, providing a deep insight into the creative process of this noted public artist.

5-0 out of 5 stars Masterful Tale of An Extraordinarily Gifted Woman
Maya Lin, designer of the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial in Washington DC was a college student at Yale when she won a national competition for the Memorial Design. This video is a moving story of her presence and strength in her struggles against the political forces and angry, biased people who challenged her design. It traces the subsequent early professional years of this remarkable young woman, including a beautiful presentation of her design of the Civil Rights Memorial at the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama. This video is a must for anyone with a young daughter looking for an inspiring video about women's creativity, sensitivity and strength. A great gift for aspiring woman architects and sculptors.

5-0 out of 5 stars Evocative!!
Maya Lin is a great designer, and this respectful film shows us her well mannered approach to art and architecture. I'll especially note her tactile abilities in her work process, and her perfection and concerns for the built environment in this film. This DVD of Miss Lin is a down to earth inspiration to a self starting person like myself.

3-0 out of 5 stars Maya Lin
Narrative and Thematic Summary
At the age of 20 and still a student at Yale University, Maya Lin won a national design competition for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Mock recounts through interviews with Lin, the veterans who organized the memorial project and the complicated, politically messy process that led to erecting the famously moving piece. After much public protest (mainly from Vietnam War veterans), hearings were held to consider ways to incorporate more traditional images in the monument. Somehow, all the details were worked out. Throughout the entire controversy, Lin stood up to her critics with an intellectual integrity that ultimately aided in the persuasion of the construction of the monument.
Lin's continued growth as an artist and as a human being is the real subject of this film. Mock shows Lin working on other soon-to-be famous designs such as her Civil Rights Memorial in Alabama, another large engraved stone piece. She also shows Lin visiting sites of other sculptures and buildings she would design. It is clear how strongly she relates to the earth and to the ground on which her structures will stand, and how directly her natural surroundings determine the direction of her work.
Overall, the film is a fitting tribute to an artist who has had a wondrous career for someone so young, and has a long great career ahead.
Technical Evaluation
The cinematography in "Maya Lin" is somewhat unadorned, as it is with most documentary films. It is more on a realistic level that is concerned with content rather than form or technique. Due to this realistic style, however, the film does a decent job in portraying the intense size of the Vietnam Memorial, the political symbolism of the documents against the Memorial and the artistic symbolism behind Lin's design drawings. It also does a good job in displaying what future generations will consist of and how they will be affected by segregation decisions of blacks in the Civil Rights movement.
Another aspect of the film in which the cinematography comes into play would be the scenes where various documents and designs were scanned by the camera. Throughout the period of the film that involved the Vietnam Memorial controversy, there were numerous shots of various documents related to the issue. One notable document was the one that stated that there should be revisions to the existing design (such as using a white wall instead of black and having a statue if Vietnam soldiers included in the design), otherwise the Fine Arts Committee would stop all further progress in the implementation of the design. The official document that described the above statement was filmed from a high-angled close-up shot to make it look like we, the viewers, were the actual members of the Fine Arts Committee (or some other body) looking down at this document and trying to make a decision as to the continuation or termination of the design. The shot also focuses on certain words within the document (words that described the memorial as being a disgrace, etc) in order to symbolize that protestors did not understand the art of the design and were instead focusing more on political issues dealing with it. By focusing on these political issues within the shot, the film shows that there is somewhat of a "political smear" in the Fine Arts Committee in that the committee, as well as other protestors, would rather stress political issues (ie- using a white wall instead of black) instead of appreciating the design for what it truly was.
The sound in "Maya Lin" does a good job in displaying maturity levels, emotions, and symbolic meanings in terms of the Civil Rights movement. The levels of maturity, for example, are expressed in the different sounds and voices of the players. A good example of this concept would be the way Lin sounds in her younger years opposed to the way she sounds in her adult years. The scene where Lin was standing at the podium (when she found out that she had won the contest for the Vietnam Memorial) revealed her immaturity. At this point in her life she was an undergraduate student of about 22 years of age. Her constant giggling was a way of releasing tension and nervousness because she knew that she had beaten many other famous, well-known architects. Also, the fact that she still did not quite understand that she had won the contest displayed her immaturity. This first step of success for Lin was a certain clash with her success as a mature, successful artist that we see throughout the rest of the film. The mature, successful Maya Lin that we see in many interview clips (possibly ten years after she won the Vietnam Memorial contest) are due to the calm, confident sounds of her voice when she speaks. Her mature sounds present her as an intelligent individual who has learned a lot from her work over the years.
Lastly, the music in "Maya Lin" does a decent job in portraying certain symbolic meanings. A notable scene that would support this concept would be the scene where the blacks saw the completed Civil Rights monument. As the black people (including Rosa Parks) walked toward the monument for the first time, the famous Civil Rights Movement Anthem played in the background. This anthem was titled "We Shall Overcome." This song did a great job in describing the endless efforts of the blacks for social equality. The words "we shall overcome" alone have powerful meaning in that the blacks would eventually overcome the social and economic oppressions against their race.

4-0 out of 5 stars Eye-Opening
Very interesting documentary about the artist who designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Shocking to watch her have to endure racist slurs from people who were presumably fighting for freedom, equality, and democracy in this foreign conflict. ... Read more

13. I.M. Pei - First Person Singular/The Museum on the Mountain
Director: Peter Rosen
list price: $24.95
our price: $22.46
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Asin: B00009P1M7
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 17730
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Featuring two full-length documentaries, this special edition DVD grants the viewer unfettered access into the mind and artistic philosophy of one of the greatest living legends in architecture: I.M. Pei. Pei’s childhood, education, and experiences reveal a life dedicated to the mystery and poetry of structural geometry in First Person Singular, while The Museum on the Mountain tells the intriguing story of the conception, design, and building of Japan’s majestic Miho Museum in the mountains near Kyoto.The disc also features a project archive with detailed photos, drawings, and descriptions of twenty I.M. Pei structures. ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Lasting DVD!!
This DVD is good, in part with Mr. Pei's direct work in a visually rich art and architecture project:The Museum on the Mountain is a very applied film about Mr. Pei's Japan project. The film is very well done. Would have liked footage of the tough site entrance purchase and groundbreaking, which is discussed in the conversations with I.M Pei book. The First person singular film follows an anthology of Mr. Pei's life and work. Mr Pei inspires the viewers with a round table type of instruction with his modest scope about architecture. This very good film tells a lot about Mr. pei's architectural experiences and philosphies-including inspirations from LeCorbusier,Mies,Aalto,Gropius,Breuer, and many others...Thanks to all.

5-0 out of 5 stars a remarkable value for lovers of architecture
J. Carter Brown, the late curator of the National Gallery of Art, called "First Person Singular: I. M. Pei", the finest film on architecture ever made. This DVD not only contains the full 86 minute story of I. M. Pei's life and work -- told by the architect himself -- but also the details of one of the most intriguing works of his life, the magnificent museum hidden in the hills near Kyoto which contains one of the world's finest collections of Asian and Near Eastern antiquities. In addition, this DVD or the VHS version contains a gallery of photos of Pei's most significant buildings. If you have any love for architecture, it's a must have for your personal collection, and a vital necessity for any institution that is interested in the field. ... Read more

14. War Photographer
Director: Christian Frei
list price: $29.95
our price: $23.96
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Asin: B0000C825I
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 4171
Average Customer Review: 4.75 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (12)

4-0 out of 5 stars Well-Made Documentary about the Acclaimed Photographer
As other reviewers say, James Nachtway is one of the most celebrated and respected war photographer in the world. This documentary follows his steps all over the world, giving the authentic feeling of the places such as Kosovo where he works hard to convey the misery of the humans there.

As I have little to add to the reviews before me about Mr. Nachtway's career and works, I will concentrate on talking about the film itself. The filmmakers must have been warned against the idea of making this documentary, as Nachtway knows the war photographer's job is extremely dangerous. So, as a kind of solution, they decided to attach a mini-camera to the one Nachtway carries, so that the film can show how he sees things in the battlefield. In some of the scenes, you get the sense of confusion of the place almost like first-hand experience.

The film's title is, however, very misleading, so let me correct it. Nachtway's works extend much more than being "war photographer." He travels around many countries where the war is not going on, but does not fail to report the sadness of some people. In a certain nation in Asia, he meets a family living by the railroad track, and reports the life of them. As a result of sleeping at this dangerous place, the father lost his limbs, but still has to survive, providing his family with what little momey he can earn.

The film is NOT about Nachtway himself. He does not speak much, and always maintains calm attitude. I don't know whether it is a good thing or not, but the film refuses to go inside the personality of Nachtway. (Maybe that is because he has nothing to hide from us, and his photos are his life itself.) Some interviewees talk about him, but what we know is not particularly unique, thus making a great contrast with Robert Capa.

My 4 star rating comes from the last point. It's not defect, but I always expect some personal things from any documentary, and this does not reflect my attitude toward his astounding works.

The most impressive scene of the film is, to me, the sulfer mountains where the local workers have to take out the chunks of yellow rocks without using any modern machines. And James Nachtway is there, without protecting himself from the deadly smokes of the ore except a towel around his mouth and nose. It will remain in your mind forever.

5-0 out of 5 stars In the Eye of a War Photographer
James Nachtwey is regarded as one of the best war photographers in the world. His calm attitude in the war field is really remarkable. What I also liked about this DVD is that a tiny camera connected on top of his still camera enables viewers to see exactly what Nachtwey sees during the action. The movie include Nachtwey's great photographs from Bosnia, Ruanda, Middle East and Far East. I recommend this DVD to all photograph enthusiasts and professional photographers.

4-0 out of 5 stars The world's misery through the eyes of this photographer
This 2001 film is a documentary about James Nachtwey, a war photographer whose camera has documented much of the horror in the world during his 20 year career. He was in Nicaragua, Rwanda and Bosnia during some of the most profound episodes of violence and his photos have won acclaim worldwide.

He's a slim, quiet and determined man and he is totally devoted to his craft. He risks his life and brings the agony right onto our television screens and magazines. Christiane Amanpour narrates some of the film and we see video clips of her as well as our photographer, covering the story of a huge mass grave that has been dug up in Bosnia. Because is through their eyes that the rest of the world will learn these stories, she talks about the tremendous responsibilities that they, as journalists, face.

I sat there, transfixed by one terrible image after another. There's death, destruction, crippling poverty and crippled people. And the there are the grieving relatives. It was awful. So awful, in fact, that I actually fell asleep. Perhaps that was because all this horror was too much to handle in one sitting.

I'm glad this film was made. It's a testament to one man's dedication to his profession. It's just that it's really hard to watch. And so my recommendation is limited to only those hearty souls who are willing to catch a glimpse of the world's misery.

5-0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended
A fascinating glimpse into the work and work ethic of the world's most renowned War Photographer.

5-0 out of 5 stars Honest, real and challenging
I watched the war photographer by chance whilst travelling through the Netherlands. It captured me from the first second and 2 years later it still remains one of the most profound experiences i have ever had through watching any sort of media. James Nachtwey's struggle to be ethical and powerful as a voice for the voiceless, astounded me and brought me to tears. I rarely shed a tear in any sort of film, but this hit me like i was there. May all people who see this film begin to understand more, the preciousness of life and the tragic waste of it that comes through war. ... Read more

15. The Life and Times of Frida Kahlo
Director: Amy Stechler Burns
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Asin: B0007NFM5I
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 11952
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Frida Kahlo was more than a great painter: her life and art reflected the maelstrom of revolution and culture that defined the first half of the twentieth century. She was at times a socialist, a communist, and a revolutionary. This program presents her extraordinary life as a reflection of her cultural history, her art and the times in which she lived. The film combines Kahlo's artwork with photographs, archival films and interviews. ... Read more

16. How to Draw a Bunny
Director: John W. Walter
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Asin: B0004Z31M0
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 18813
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (5)

1-0 out of 5 stars Interesting subject...poor documentary style
Ray Johnson is a virtually unknown figure of the Pop Art scene and his story is filled with interesting figures from New York at the time. Additionally his suicide puts a tragic spin on his biography. I was disappointed though once I saw that 'How to Draw a Bunny' was not going to let the viewer at the information so easily. What you do get is interesting enough but it comes with an soundtrack consisting of drum riffs that is engineered at the same level as the interviews which proved to be very distracting. About 30 minutes into the film I realized that I had yet to see any of Johnson's work in the film. When it does appear it is quickly cut, cropped, or shown in bits.

'HTDAB' does not suffer from lack of information. After a while, I got the feeling that the filmmaker had almost too much information and interviews often stray off unrelated to each other. I was left to wonder why some anecdotes went on for five minutes while other more interesting ones were cut off to quickly.

At times too much of a 'personal touch' interferes with the film. Why for instance do we need to see a re-creation of a valentine xerox work of Johnson? Was the filmmaker concerned that it might serve to undermine the actual work? Its not too much of a get the point of the film -and Johnson's collage and xerox work- rather quickly but the details that are supposed to be the meat of any documentary are downplayed by the garnish.

5-0 out of 5 stars enjoy the ride
I just watched this fascinating film twice and I have rarely been this engaged in a film about an artist's life. I do not feel it is constructive to hold it up to conventional documentary standards. It never claims or attempts to be a comprehensive biography of the life of Ray Johnson. Instead, it attempts and succeeds in capturing the enigma that this man was in the NY art scene.

The film is all about the mystery and unfathomable charisma ofpop collage artist Ray Johnson, also known as the father of mail art. He never attempted to be an "art star" and did everything possible to both interact with and at the same time circumvent the conventional gallery system. It makes perfect sense that he was difficult to know since his focus was never about being well known. He was all about making art and mischief. People seem as confused about the film as they were about Ray Johnson and that is a good thing. To want the mystery solved and the details revealed is simply missing the point.

Ray Johnson is jokingly referred to as "the most famous unknown artist" and in a sense it is true. He seemed to have interacted with many of the more famous artists and dealers and quite a few of them purchased his work. He quietly and thoughtfully lived an authentic artistic life and he had an influence on the more prominent members of the art world. Everyone has a story about Ray. He was an artist's artist, a trickster, and a true subversive. He lived his life as art and possibly his death as well.

There are always authentic creative people out there doing their thing but very few of them manage to weave their way through the modern art world on their own terms. Ray Johnson was a hoot and he was a true original. This film is highly recommended to anyone who is interested in modern art and pop culture. The mystery is never solved but the experience is enjoyable and well worth the exploration. Since that's what Ray Johnson seemed to be all about, I think this film is an appropriate tribute.

3-0 out of 5 stars You start with a circle....
Interesting look at enigmatic and isolated artist Ray Johnson.HOW TO DRAW A BUNNY opens and closes with scenes shot at Sag Harbor, where Johnson died by drowning in 1997 in what the coroner ruled a suicide.In between these scenes the movie, through interviews with a number of contemporaries and the use of old photographs and 8-mm home movies and videotapes, attempts to paint the portrait of the self-described "Most Famous Unknown Artist in America."
I haven't any background in art history, and little talent for art appreciation, but I was intrigued by Johnson's feetings (collages built around line drawings of people's feet), moticos (the term he used for his collages), mailings, and videotapes of his performance pieces.Concerned more with personality than events, the film doesn't give you a clear sense of Johnson's career - like, for instance, how he was able to support himself as an artist.Who were his clients, etc?Instead is included a number of interviews with friends and contemporaries.Unfortunately, Johnson seems to have been unusually elusive and evasive, so even for those who were friends for decades the general consensus is "I don't really know what he was like."Fair enough, but slim fodder to build a documentary on.
I blush to admit it, but I rented this one solely on the basis of its title - I knew nothing about the artist and don't have an overwhelming curiosity about the art scene.Although HOW TO DRAW A BUNNY didn't bowl me over, it didn't bore me, either.The dvd also contains a commentary track with director John Walter and cinematographer Andrew Moore - okay without too much additional material.There is also thirty minutes of outtakes and deleted scenes and a short, five-minute "Ray Johnson Memorial Show" video.

5-0 out of 5 stars Ray Johnson's Last Big Riddle
On Friday, January 13th, 1995, Ray Johnson checked into a Sag Harbor hotel, drove to the 7-11, then walked to the Sag Harbor Bridge, where he jumped to his death. This action, like most of his life, was foreshadowed by a number of clues, numerical coincidences and puns. When police entered his house, they found, among his belongings, a complex suicide note presented as a box full of small, beautiful collages. When they started investigating, the stories told by people who knew him each seemed to describe a different individual. This film is a quest to discover more about the mystery that was Ray.

I saw this film at Film Forum in NYC and it's criminal that it didn't receive wider distribution. Ray Johnson lived his life as a performance piece, improvising puns and jokes into everything he did. His artworks are complex zen riddles with punchlines, with collaged paper sanded like round rocks, all put together with elmer's glue. He was the eternal prankster, and the wonderful interviews relate many "Ray stories" from the likes of his art dealer, patrons and fellow artists (including Roy Lichtenstein, James Rosenquist, Chuck Close, and Christo). Far from being someone who tried to become famous, he worked to avoid it, shunning publicity and pranking the art world, and mailing his work out for free to people around the world. I was one of those people.

The film is brilliantly assembled, hilarious at times, and absorbing... and the Max Roach score is a great bonus (complete with some footage of Max playing the drums). If you are interested in art and love a good story, this film is for you.

4-0 out of 5 stars How to be an artist
I watched this film at the Guild Theater in Portland, Oregon. It retraces the events surrounding the mysterious death of artist Ray Johnson, with interviews of close friends and contemporaries, like Christo. Johnson was a performance andcollage artist in the era of Lichtenstein and Warhol. In the tradition of Basqiat and art house documentaries, this film gives you an impression of the man behind the artist. (...) ... Read more

17. Picasso: The Man and His Work - Part 1 (1881-1937)
list price: $29.98
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Asin: B00007F8OA
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 26529
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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V.I.E.W. VIDEO is proud to present this enhanced video anthology of Pablo Picasso, considered by many to be the greatest painter of our time, and perhaps of all time. This unique film and the many bonus features reveal many unknown aspects of his work and personality and contains over 600 of his works, many never seen in public. Furthermore, these are the last pictures ever taken of Picasso during his lifetime.

Edward Quinn, photographer and filmmaker, had the complete collaboration of Picasso, at work and at play. Filmed where Picasso lived and worked, Quinn was allowed to do as he liked, provided that Picasso was free to do what he wanted. Using intimate and exclusive home movies and photos, Quinn has created a screenplay showing Picasso as if he were going through the scrapbook of his life. With many flashback sequences showing the mutations and evolution of his work in progress, we chronologically follow his works and the episodes of his life in parallel.

PART 1 (1881-1937)
Starting in 1896, when he was only 15, we trace Picasso's artistic development, exploring his work as a youth, from the Blue period to the Pink period and his first steps into Cubism in 1906. Then we discover the Chrysteline period where he went from analytical to synthetic Cubism until entering his Neoclassical period in 1918. Part 1 culminates with the painting of his masterpiece "Guernica" in 1937. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Made with the complete collaboration of Picasso
Picasso: The Man And His Work is a two volume DVD anthology that painstakingly researches and portrays the life of revolutionary modern painter Picasso. Part 1 covers 1881-1937 and Part 2 covers 1938-1973. Originally made with the complete collaboration of Picasso himself, this artistic presentation unfolds in flashback format, alternately showing scenes of Picasso's life, and in turn displaying how his life experiences deeply affected his work. An absolute "must-have" for fans of Picasso's pioneering style, Picasso: The Man And His Work: Parts 1 & 2 is very highly recommended viewing. A core addition to art school and community library Art History collections, each DVD biographical documentary is in black-and-white, with a running time of 45 minutes plus 60 minutes of bonus features including art galleries, director's memoirs on Picasso, bonus music, and more. ... Read more

18. The Mystery of Picasso
Director: Henri-Georges Clouzot
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Asin: B00007ELEI
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 4441
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Just as visual artists understand the relationship between positive andnegative space in their work, France's master filmmaker Henri-Georges Clouzot(Diabolique) understood--and set about demonstrating via The Mysteryof Picasso--the relationship between creation and destruction in theartistic process. In 1955, Clouzot teamed with his friend Pablo Picasso tocapture as many aspects of the brilliant painter's working methods as possible.Clouzot innovatively placed the camera in front of Picasso while the latterworked, thus capturing astonishing reverse images of brush strokes and"bleeding" inks in volatile motion. The result is that Clouzot's film--thescreen, the frame--become Picasso's canvas, and we find ourselves inside hisprodigious genius as works of beauty spontaneously burst forth and are instantlycrushed beneath the weight of new images, new ideas. A viewer would be forgivenif, more than once, he felt like screaming at such nonchalant carnage. --TomKeogh ... Read more

Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Brought Life To My Eyes
I was completely awestruck by the absolute wondrous way in which Picasso constructed his paintings. It was one of the most beautiful essays of an artist on film. I still can't believe the magic that Picasso weaved with his brush, transforming the painting from one image into another. Funnily enough, I saw "Surviving Picasso" a week ago, and this made that film seem completely and utterly ridiculous. I am so thankful that a film such as this, is available. Just imagine having a movie of Da Vinci or Raphael, well this is it! The true genius of the twentieth century in all of his glory. I was just blown away by his astounding confidence yet there was none of the ego-maniacal ways that I have read about. This puts that all to rest. This is a lasting testament to a mans greatness. Thank you Picasso!

5-0 out of 5 stars MASTERFUL!
This film is a real treat, as gives us an insight into the work of Picasso by literally allowing us to see the master at work and how his simple brush strokes incredibly evolve into masterpieces, in some instances even metamorphosing before our eyes from a figurative piece in to a cubist expression of the same. This is a film that I was pleasantly surprised to see my 5-year-old son sit through shearing my amazement as Picasso worked for the camera. It's a definite "must have" for those that like Picasso and who, after viewing this movie, will appreciate his work even more!

5-0 out of 5 stars Facsinating Film on Picasso
This is a nice DVD edition. The images are clear and the color is rich and natural. The commentaries are also quite good. Peggy Parsons talks about the film as a film and about Picasso's showmanship, and the commentary by Archie Rand analyzes the paintings and is quite insightful. His commentary is a bit dry, and since he is a professor, he's a little too into himself and his big words. One annoying aspect to his commentary is his constant reference to Picasso's "courage" in the act of creating art. No, sorry! Someone suffering from cancer and living through hellish treatments shows courage, not a wealthly perfectly healthy artist in a studio making a painting! But overall I found both commentaries insightful and added to my understanding and appreciation of this film and Picasso.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Eye Molds the Canvas
A Fabulous film showing how an artist- in this case Picasso- takes a blank sheet of paper or canvas and transforms it into a work of art. Thru a special process that lets the inks bleed thru to the wrong side of the canvas where a camera captures the developement of a drawing from the first placement of a brush stroke to the final completed drawing/painting. Sometimes it is truly amazing to see what comes forth from the humble beginnings. We also are able to follow the developement of paintings as well with the aide of stop motion photography. I wish I were an art teacher so I could share this with my students! An enjoyable film for anyone with an interest in art!

5-0 out of 5 stars Unforgettable
I once saw this film on television, late at night. This was at least ten years ago, and despite having seen it only once, many of the images are still fresh in my mind. Along with Paul Cox's "Vincent", an extraordinary documentary about the life of Vincent Van Gogh, this is probably the best portrait of the work and life of an artist. Worth every penny. ... Read more

19. Francis Bacon
Director: David Hinton
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Asin: B000059H8G
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 18404
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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This South Bank Show interview of the artist famous for depictinga screaming Pope and bloody bodies begins with him walking the streets ofLondon, visiting the fruit market and such, while interviewer Melvyn Bragggives a brief overview of Bacon's childhood and early career. Then Braggenters the picture, questioning the leather-clad, slightly paunchy Bacon in a series of his pet haunts: the Tate Gallery storeroom looking at slides of his work and others that inspired him, his messy studio, his favorite restaurant, a drinking club, and a gambling casino. Despite his fondness forpainting slabs of meat, syringe-stuck bodies, and the like, Bacon describeshimself as an optimist and, indeed, his manner is quite cheerful as he denouncesthe work of Pollack and Rothko, criticizes some of his own paintings, and museson the inevitability of death and nothingness. Of his filthy studio he explains"I work much better in chaos," and, while happy to talk about the things thatinspire him, he refuses to tell the story of any particular painting: "It isitself and it's nothing else." Filmed in 1985, seven years before his death,this 55-minute documentary is revelatory, amusing, and--like its subject-- ultimately quite charming. --Kimberly Heinrichs ... Read more

Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars an old fashioned gesture
this 50 minute piece produced by BBC follows the great painter Francis Bacon around from the streets of london, to the Tate Gallery, to a drunken lunch, to the painters studio at 7 Reece Mews, to the reknown Colony Room - a drinking club Bacon frequented for 40 years, and finally to a late night casino. very interesting portrayal and the comments from Bacon are in great form. A perfect introduction to the painter and for those quite familar with Bacon you will most likely recognize many of his statements - he often says the same things over and over (more or less) but its still very interesting to see him in action. in addition the paintings and close-ups they show during the video are so much more fulfilling the reproductions. i saw some paintings in a completely new light.

5-0 out of 5 stars Francis Bacon
Words cannot express how great this interview was to see. It was so exciting to see the great oil painter revealing his technique and views on life in this documentary. If your that interested in Bacon to read this review you should get it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Francis Bacon hides nothing fools noone
This video is recommended viewing for all die- hard Francis Bacon fans. You will get to see his infamous hang outs, his friends and foes. He is also quite frank about his likes and dislikes in the art world (i.e. He hated Rothko!). Also, he talks at length about his theories and sources of his art. ... Read more

20. Frank Lloyd Wright - A film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick
Director: Ken Burns, Lynn Novick
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Asin: B0002JP4W8
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 5170
Average Customer Review: 4.21 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (19)

5-0 out of 5 stars A great documentary of an architectual genius (and odd guy)
Ken Burns (the primary contributor to this film) did a awesome job capturing the beauty and magnificence of Wright's various creations. The first half of the film talks about Wright's early creations -- the second half focuses on the most productive time of Wright's career (after his 60s ). The Waterfall house, the Johnson Wax building, the Gugenheim...wonderful footage of wonderful places. The most illuminating part of the video, however, is the look into Wright's personal aspect of Wright that is often glossed over.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Exploration of the Life, Trials, and Accomplishments
I only got to see the last hour of the movie, but overall, it was well written. I especially like the aspect of the movie that deals with Frank Lloyd Wrights flaws in his buildings. It shows that no matter how much genius a person has, they still make mistakes. It gives a very factual account of his visions and buildings, including the acclaimed "Fallingwater." The movie intertwines his architectural accomplishments as well as his personal life, making this a very interesting combination. Anybody who watches this film will get a good idea of how Frank Lloyd Wright operated throughtout his more than 9 decade lifetime. I would strongly recommend that anyone interested in art or architecture watch this movie!

2-0 out of 5 stars Did Jerry Springer make this film?
This was very disappointing. There was way too much information on the personal failings of Frank Lloyd Wright and way too little on the architectural themes. Yes, you will see all the obvious structures: Fallingwater, the Guggenheim, the Johnson Wax building and the Japanese hotel. But Usonian structures receive about 2 minutes out of 2-plus hours. Yes, Frank Lloyd Wright was a jerk. We get it, Ken. I didn't need dozens of examples on why this was true. My feeling is that if Jerry Springer had done 2-plus hours on Frank Lloyd Wright, it would have looked a lot like this. Two stars for the little architecture we did get a chance to see.

You will learn much more about this subject with the A&E tape called "The Homes of Frank Lloyd Wright".

5-0 out of 5 stars The Greatest American Architect
This biography of Frank Lloyd Wright is a fascinating story. He was the most celebrated American architect of his day. He felt a house should be one with nature, to compliment it. His homes gave a distinctive feeling of spaciousness; and he believed an architect's primary purpose was to build dwellings that people delighted in living in - and not just looking at.

Scandals tainted his "first life" and probably contributed to his lack of major commissions. But his career took flight when, at sixty-two, he married a woman who, for once, was his intellectual equal. She was totally devoted to him and had him write an autobiography and begin a school of architecture. The exposure led to new clientele - and to his most significant creative achievement - the Guggenheim Museum in New York, which took thirteen years to build, and was completed six months after he died.

Frank Lloyd Wright thought very highly of himself, of his own abilities, and of his contribution to the advancement of mankind's existence. His self-confidence drove him to push the edges of the envelope - for his entire life. His vision was infectious. Clients would recall fondly that working with Mr. Wright, while he was designing and building their homes or offices, would be the highpoint of their lives.

Mr. Wright's accomplishments are a testament that life - and living - are not bounded by age; and that divine ability can sometimes lead to greatness.

This is easily one of Ken Burns' best works, and I couldn't stop watching it!

3-0 out of 5 stars Strong on the personal, light on the professional
This is an entertaining and informative program. However, those who hope to get an overview of Wright's architectural genius may find it lacking. I watched it before spending the weekend with one of his former apprentices, and I felt myself wishing for more historical perspective on what FLW had to offer in the way of new ideas in architectural design. I am pleased to learn more of his personal history, and it probably was important in his professional development. And I guess that abstract design principles will always lose out to People Magazine type coverage in entertainment value. But this series gave me only a bit of what I had hoped for. ... Read more

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