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7 films we can’t wait to see at Resene Architecture & Design Film Festival

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The brilliance of luminaries from around the world will be celebrated at the 2018 Resene Architecture & Design Festival – Here’s what you need to see

7 films we can’t wait to see at Resene Architecture & Design Film Festival

One of the highlights of the 2018 Resene Architecture & Design Film Festival is the very beautiful Five Seasons, The Gardens of Piet Odoulf, which celebrates the work of the Dutch garden designer, much of which was shot in his own garden in Hummelo, The Netherlands. As director Thomas Piper says of Odoulf’s garden: “It seems like a kind of laboratory for his most radical design ideas”.

Why are there five seasons in the film?
It’s actually quite literal. The film follows Piet and his gardens across five continuous seasons: fall, winter, spring, summer, and then fall again. It seemed necessary to reveal just how intentionally Piet designs a garden for every season. And by starting with fall, I liked how it perverted the normal anticipation of a garden’s progression. Instead of starting with the first hints of spring and peaking with a florabundant summer, the movie spends its first 30 minutes celebrating the plants dying. The big finish is when fall has finally come back around again, which, clearly for Piet, is the true peak of a garden.

It has been said that Piet plants like a painter. What do you think that means?
I don’t really think of his plantings as painterly – more that Piet works in complete isolation, alone in his studio, sketching by hand… The aesthetic quality of his work was what drew me to him as a subject in the first place. All I really sought to do was try and recreate that ineffable experience of being in one of his gardens, which to me is similar to looking at astounding art – you can’t really describe why it’s so moving.

Why are his gardens important?
Piet is part of a lineage of ‘rediscovering’ plants, mostly perennials that were out of fashion or considered invasive or noxious, and reconnecting gardens to more natural ecosystems. I think it’s testament to how his designs really speak to people in some profound way. He’s combining an almost unparalleled knowledge of plants with an intuitive and very personal sense of composition.

We hear he’s closing his garden, which has been open to the public.
It’s sad news. Hummelo is really a singular place in all of his gardens but he has an incredible number of large public projects underway – I think he’s just looking to relax when he does get home. As he told me, in the beginning it was friends and a few curious neighbours who’d come to visit after the nursery was closed. Understandably, the pilgrimage has become very popular.

Resene Architecture and Design Film Festival
3 May to 11 July
Find out more more here: resene.co.nz/filmfestival

Our top film picks

Samurai Architect: Tadao Ando
Beginning with a terrific sequence of scenes of the minimalist master shadow boxing in a Tokyo park, Samurai Architect is an incisive look at the self-taught architect over a year as he grapples with a new project in China, delving simultaneously into his sharp tongue, unique sense of humour – and, of course, his extraordinary designs.

Harry Seidler: Modernist
“I like architecture to be a crystal-clear sculptural proud thing,” Harry Seidler once said in an interview. This is an affectionate look at the Australian modernist, who built singular houses for everyone from sign writers to very wealthy patrons and apartment developers – and his own parents, the home which launched his career.

Integral Man
After Euclid, Toronto’s Jim Stewart is the most published mathematician in the world and is as obsessed with music as he is maths. The result is Integral House, designed by Shim-Sutcliffe Architects and said to be – as well as a beautiful place to live – one of the best performance spaces in the city. The film is a carefully crafted portrait of Stewart and his home.

Albert Frey: The Architectural Envoy
Part one of a two-part documentary on the unpretentious Swiss-born architect, who brought Corbusian-influenced modernism – blending desert landscapes with industrial materials – to the United States. The film explores his early life and work, and move to New York in the 1930s.

Living in the Future’s Past
Contemplative, poetic and thought-provoking, this beautifully shot film presented by Jeff Bridges analyses humankind’s place in nature and the environmental challenges we face.

Moriyama-San
Spend a week in the life of Moriyama-San, a hermit who lives in one of Japan’s most extraordinary modern houses, designed by Ryue Nishizawa. Blending architecture, experimental movies and noise music, it’s a unique contemplation on a different kind of domestic life.

Resene Architecture and Design Film Festival
3 May to 11 July
resene.co.nz/filmfestival

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