My Architect

Overview

My Architect is filmmaker Nathaniel Kahn's intimate exploration of his father's life. Louis Kahn, the renowned architect, was found dead in Penn Station in 1974. He died in massive debt. His obituary in The New York Times mentioned Kahn's importance to modern architecture, but did not mention that he had a son. As it turned out, very few people knew that Louis Kahn led a kind of double life. He had a wife and daughter, but he also had two other children by two mistresses. Nathaniel traces his father's past, from ...
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Overview

My Architect is filmmaker Nathaniel Kahn's intimate exploration of his father's life. Louis Kahn, the renowned architect, was found dead in Penn Station in 1974. He died in massive debt. His obituary in The New York Times mentioned Kahn's importance to modern architecture, but did not mention that he had a son. As it turned out, very few people knew that Louis Kahn led a kind of double life. He had a wife and daughter, but he also had two other children by two mistresses. Nathaniel traces his father's past, from his childhood to his prominence in the world of architecture. He interviews Louis' peers, including Frank Gehry, Philip Johnson, and I.M. Pei. He also interviews his own mother and his two half sisters. The filmmaker tries to reconcile his father's prestige with his financial ruin, and his passion for his work with his insensitive treatment of the women in his life and the children he fathered. He also travels the globe examining his father's legacy -- the buildings he designed throughout the world. My Architect was shown at New Directors/New Films in 2003.
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Special Features

Closed Caption; Question and answer with director Nathaniel Kahn including extra scenes and rare historical footage of Louis Kahn; Original theatrical trailer; Scene selections
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Josh Ralske
Nathaniel Kahn's My Architect is a fascinating and moving document of the filmmaker's quest to understand his father's life and work. As Kahn's father was the historically important architect Louis Kahn, the film's exploration offers both a valuable look at late-20th century architecture and a deeply personal search, as Nathaniel tries to fathom why his father lived the way he did, forsaking his personal and financial responsibilities. Far from a hagiography, My Architect is critical, not only of the way Louis lived his life (not just his home life, but his inability to work well with others) but of some of the architect's heralded buildings as well. However, as Nathaniel travels the country, and the world, filming his father's buildings, and interviewing his associates, we get a clearer sense of the man's genius. From both an emotional and architectural standpoint, the film's highlight is when Nathaniel travels to Bangladesh to see the monumental, genuinely awe-inspiring capital his father designed for the impoverished nation in Dakha, which was not completed until nine years after Louis' death. As Bangladeshi architect Shamsul Wares tearfully explains to Nathaniel, "He gave us the institution for democracy." Louis Kahn's great work does not excuse his personal failings, but his story makes for an absorbing and thought-provoking film.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 2/15/2005
  • UPC: 717119901547
  • Original Release: 2003
  • Rating:

  • Source: New Yorker Video
  • Aspect Ratio: Pre-1954 Standard (1.33.1)
  • Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo
  • Language: English
  • Time: 1:56:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Nathaniel Kahn Voice Only
Louis I. Kahn
Edmund Bacon Interviewee
Philip Johnson Interviewee
Esther Kahn Interviewee
Sue Ann Kahn Interviewee
Harriet Pattison Interviewee
I.M. Pei Interviewee
Alexandra Tyng Interviewee
Anne Tyng Interviewee
Shamsul Wares Interviewee
Technical Credits
Nathaniel Kahn Director, Producer, Screenwriter
Susan Rose Behr Executive Producer, Producer
Andrew Clayman Executive Producer
Darrell Friedman Executive Producer
Robert Guzzardi Executive Producer
John Hochroth Associate Producer
Harold Honickman Executive Producer
Lynne Honickman Executive Producer
Phyllis Freed Kaufman Associate Producer
Sabine Krayenbuehl Editor
Judy Moon Associate Producer
Eddie O'Connor Sound/Sound Designer
Robert Richman Cinematographer
Joseph Vitarelli Score Composer
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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Beginnings...
2. Looking in Philadelphia
3. Heading West
4. The Immigrant
5. Dreams of a Better City
6. Going to Sea
7. The Truth About the Bastard
8. The Nomad
9. Family Matters
10. The End of the Journey
11. Credits
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Menu

Side #1 --
   Play Feature
   Scene Selections
   Q&A With Director
      Are There Scenes You Didn't Use?
      The Structure of the Film
      Penn Station
      Did Your Mother Like the Film?
      The Archival Footage
      What Surprised You Most?
      Balancing the Personal Story and the Architecture
      Documentary Filmmaking
      Are There Buildings You Couldn't Include?
      More About Dhaka
      The Last Question
   Information
   New Yorker Films
      My Architect: Play Trailer
      Tibet - Cry of the Snow Lion: Play Trailer
      Promises: Play Trailer
      Distant: Play Trailer
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