View Full Version : Louis Kahn- DS interview with son

November 18, 2003, 12:16 PM

A touching film. Even if you are not an art buff but for Bangladeshis this man is responsible for a remarkable landmark in an otherwise ever-increasing dismal architectural scene.

My Architect is a tale of love and art, betrayal and forgiveness-in which
the illegitimate son of a legendary artist undertakes a five-year, worldwide
exploration to understand his long-dead father. Louis I. Kahn, who died in
1974, is considered by many architectural historians to have been the most
important architect of the second half of the 20th century. A Jewish
immigrant who over came poverty and the effects of a devastating childhood
accident, Kahn created a handful of intensely powerful and spiritual
buildings-geometric compositions of brick, concrete and light-which, in the
words of one critic, "change your life." While Kahn's artistic legacy was an
uncompromising search for truth and clarity, his personal life was filled
with secrets and chaos: He died, bankrupt and unidentified, in the men's
room in Penn Station, New York, leaving behind three families-one with his
wife of many years and two with women with whom he'd had long-term affairs.
In My Architect, the child of one of these extra-marital relationships,
Kahn's only son Nathaniel, sets out on an epic journey to reconcile the life
and work of this mysterious, contradictory man.

The riveting narrative leads us from the subterranean corridors of Penn
Station to the roiling streets of Bangladesh (where Kahn built the
astonishing National Capitol), and from the coast of New England to the
inner sanctums of Jerusalem politics. Along the way, we encounter a series
of characters that are by turns fascinating, hilarious, adoring and
critical: from the cabbies who drove Kahn around his native Philadelphia, to
former lovers and clients, to the rarified heights of the world's most
celebrated architects-Frank Gehry, I. M. Pei and Philip Johnson among them.

In My Architect, the filmmaker reveals the haunting beauty of his father's
monumental creations and takes us deep within his own divided family,
uncovering a world of prejudice, intrigue and the myths that haunt parents
and children. In a documentary with the emotional impact of a dramatic
feature film (including an original orchestral score), Nathaniel's personal
journey becomes a universal investigation of identity, a celebration of art
and, ultimately, of life itself.

[Edited on 2-12-2003 by oracle]

November 19, 2003, 11:11 AM
I have to watch this.

December 1, 2003, 07:41 PM

Nat kahn interview with DS.

It has been mentioned in reviews, in the New York Times, in Variety magazine. Many people have never seen the building before which means there's a PR problem. People need to know more about these buildings. But they cannot get over the building and the people who we encountered in Dhaka. Their vision of Bangladesh is floods literally and then they see this and they say, oh, my god, that's the capital of Bangladesh and Kahn built that? And that's what it looks like? I want to go[/b]. Their response really is what a spiritual building, what an incredible place, what beautiful people. We want to go, how do we go? And their response also is how my father was thwarted in his dreams in America. They say we missed out and Bangladeshis got the cream of the crop. I wish we'd done it.


[Edited on 2-12-2003 by oracle]

December 1, 2003, 07:45 PM
that is my mission to try to find out who my father was. Many people in America treated me as "here comes this nearly middle-aged man...get over it" and their response is in the film. Not all of them were that way. There was more openness with people in Dhaka. It's almost as if for a Bengali it's completely normal that you should try to find out who your father was and you should honour the quest... When people watch the movie they say, you really found him there, didn't you? You found him in Dhaka. You looked for him all over the world and you got pieces of him but you found him there. And I say in the movie if my father was going to be anywhere, he was here (in Dhaka). My father has a grave outside Philadelphia. It's in a cemetery with a lot of other people. I know that his body may be there but his heart was in Dhaka.

[Edited on 2-12-2003 by oracle]

December 2, 2003, 11:19 PM
After reading the interview, I can't wait to see this!

December 3, 2003, 12:09 AM
good luck trying to find the movie. I couldn't find it anywhere in chicago, even in the art houses. It played briefly in the chicago film festival a couple of months ago, but I didn't know it was playing and only had time to catch ritupurno ghosh's chokher bali. oh well, need to wait for the dvd unless the distributors have a change in heart... i wonder if it will play in dhaka - do they even show decent english movies in dhaka anymore?

December 3, 2003, 12:54 AM
I saw the movie in its world premier last March in New Directors/New Films Festival, New York City. The same festival showed Matir Moina. I went to get the tickets for Matir Moina and saw this filmís ad in the flier that featured the Jatiya Sangsad Building. Right then I decided I got to see this film. The surprise was - that show was the world premier of the film and the director Nathaniel Kahn was present and after the show there was a very lively Q&A session. Nathaniel is a great guy, a very likable person.

Now my expectation was around Bangladesh. Though the 'second capital' is probably Louis Kahn's best creation and I thought it will be shown all over. I was wrong. The Movie is a wonderful story of a son discovering his father through his works. When Louis Kahn died, Nathaniel was only 8 years old and hardly knew his father. Throughout the movie he traces his fatherís footsteps and discovers his thoughts and his extended family. It is a wonderful story of a father-son-family relationship that gets discovered in a journey. And it has many other layers too. How do you interpret someoneís work and artistry? How does it affect the man and his family? Overall I went to see Bangladesh in the film. But I came out discovering a great story about human relationships. What a wonderful surprise.

I highly recommend the film. I thought this was probably one of the best documentaries that I have ever seen. Watch out for an nomination in the coming months..

Rafiq Bhai, They are going to show the film in Chicago in Landmark Century Center starting Feb 20th. Folks in New York can catch the film right now in Film Forum (in the village area) I hope I didnít give away too much..

December 3, 2003, 01:11 AM

January 31, 2004, 12:46 AM
My Architect gets nominated in the best documentary category.


January 31, 2004, 01:26 AM
Great news! Just checked few reviews. Waiting to see it on DVD.