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My Architect (2003)

Cast: Nathaniel Kahn, Louis I. Kahn, Harriet Pattison, more...
Director: Nathaniel Kahn
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Studio: New Yorker Video
Genre: Documentary, Biographies, Art
Running Time: 116 min.
Languages: English
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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. ~ Josh Ralske, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Dad by talltale February 23, 2005 - 9:30 PM PST
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful
MY ARCHITECT is the odyssey of a man discovering bit by bit just who his father (world-class architect Louis Kahn) actually was. Nathaniel Kahn has done a yeoman's job of ferreting out so much information on his famous dad (who died when his son was eleven) and putting it together in a manner that renders it both explanatory and opaque. This is a mystery still: how Louis Khan could have created some of the world's most perfect architecture (though not all of his work was that good) and still sire three different families--leaving each of them emotionally, if not financially, bereft both during his life and in the wake of his death. Nominated for best full-length documentary for 2003, it probably should have won. Simply to see and hear some of the world's great architects speak (and so differently) about Kahn's work is worth the time you'll spend here. I suspect "My Architect" will remain eye-opening and worth watching for generations.

Frighteningly insightful by AMicone February 21, 2005 - 12:19 PM PST
2 out of 2 members found this review helpful
When you look at a building, you rarely see the man behind it. For the director, all he can see is the man behind it, because the architecture of his father Nathaniel Khan is all he really knows about him. This documentary is not only about chasing ghosts of the man who fathered him, but is a profound story about the personal in the creative, and the question of personal responsibility against world legacy.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.52)
91 Votes
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Brotherly connections
2003: Jonathan Rosenbaum's recommendations
Recommendations from the year 2003 by Jonathan Rosenbaum

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