Filmmaking Resume Segments of Documentaries Shot over the Course of Several Years

This documentary is titled Filmmaking Resume as a reference to short bits of architectural footage shot over the course of several years, and published in Architecture Awareness, Cultural Weekly and in this website.


Although I have also created short films on art, politics, and cultural events, my focus here is on architecture-as-space, the essential language of architecture. This short documentary illustrates fragments on the works of twenty recognized contemporary architects. As such, it expresses how good design can resonate on a much deeper level and lead to a higher quality of life.


In dealing with the human condition in the 2020 decade, some of my future films are likely to focus on topics such as housing, sustainability, and open urban spaces.

As We Saw It – Part 7: Emotional Rome Streets, People, Architecture: A Personal Journey

Coming back to Rome is always emotional. It triggers pleasant memories of our days as students of architecture, of lifelong friendships, of great teachers, of great art, architecture, lifestyle.

To link the central theme of “As We Saw It,” ‘what makes a city great,’ with what we chose to document through film and photography, we focused on ‘the city’s emotional intelligence’ and its connection to our own emotions. To do that, we decided to record streets and piazzas rather than buildings, with few exceptions, such as the Pantheon, the MAXXI and the church of Sant’Andrea Della Valle.

View of Rome – Piazza di Spagna

Piazza navona

Formative Past: Architecture and Cinema

We were “adopted” by Bruno Zevi soon after we joined his History of Architecture class. Besides tutoring our theses, he also invited us to his home to have lunch with Carlo Scarpa and connected us with Edgar Kaufmann Jr. in New York, who opened for us the gates of Wright’s Fallingwater.

Our relationship with Pellegrin was also unique. He co-tutored our theses, and we worked for him on important projects: many competitions for schools, the University of Barcelona, Goree Island’s master plan in Senegal, Palazzo Aldobrandini’s restoration in Rome, and research on futuristic habitats.

Professor Bruno Zevi – Photo: Elisabeth Catalano

Architect Luigi Pellegrin









When we moved to Rome to continue our studies in architecture, going to the movies was an essential way of learning Italian fast. We were also lucky. In the vicinity of where we first lived, in the Parioli neighborhood, there was a cinema club at a church that showed every week movies followed by a Q&A with the directors. Among many others, we treasure having listened to Roberto Rossellini (Rome, Open City; Paisan; Stromboli ) and Gillo Pontecorvo (The Battle of Algiers; Kapò; Burn!)

After graduation, we moved to Rome’s Historic Center, minutes away from the Trevi Fountain and from Pellegrin’s studio. Our same-floor neighbor was Adriana Chiesa, who, at the time worked at La Medusa, one of Italy’s leading film distributors. We were friends when Adriana met and fell in love with cinematographer Carlo Di Palma (Divorce Italian Style, Red Desert, Blow-Up, Hanna and her Sisters, Radio Days.)

Carlo had a rich experience with directors like Michelangelo Antonioni (he shot Antonioni’s first color film, Red Desert) and with Woody Allen. He also worked for Bernardo Bertolucci, Lucchino Visconti, Roberto Rossellini, Francesco Rosi, and Pier Paolo Pasolini. I remember his comments about Igmar Bergman (“he worked like a scientist”) and about Federico Fellini (“a magician; he ‘hypnotized’ his actors, shooting without sound and talking to them while shooting.”)

The MAXXI – Museo Nazionale delle Arti del XXI Secolo

Coincidentally with our visit, Zaha Hadid’s-designed MAXXI held two exhibitions that we wanted to see: one dedicated to Zevi’s 100th birthday, titled “Zevi’s Architects. History and Counter-History of Italian Architecture 1944-2000.” The other, “Tel Aviv the White City,” dedicated to the Bauhaus architecture in the city.

As a historian and critic of architecture, Zevi’s influence in Italy during the second half of the 20th Century was impacting. He published several pivotal books, such as Architecture as Space, The Language of Modern Architecture, A History of Modern Architecture, Erich Mendelsohn, was the editor of the magazine L’Architettura for over fifty years, taught history of architecture in Venice and in Rome, and was militant in the Radical Party, which he represented in the Chamber of Deputies from 1987 to 1992.

Zevi brought Frank Lloyd Wright’s ideas of Organic Architecture to the Italian peninsula, which influenced many architects, such as Carlo Scarpa, Luigi Pellegrin, Paolo Soleri, Marcello D’Olivo, Giovanni Michelucci and Aldo Loris Rossi, to name just a few.

The exhibition on Tel Aviv’s Bauhaus architecture, although very compact, provided an idea of the city’s rich past, which includes over 1500 buildings of the period.

Rome’s beauty is the ultimate urban beauty because it has been shaped by time, uninterruptedly, over more than two thousand years.

And The Winner Is… Q&A with the five Foreign Films directors nominated for the Golden Globes Awards 2018

“And the Winner Is…” brings segments of a Q&A with the five Foreign Films directors nominated for the Golden Globes Awards sharing their thoughts and experiences on the making of their latest films. Angelina Jolie, Ruben Östlund, Andrey Zvigagintsev, Sebastian Lelio and Fatih Akin sat next to each other at the American Cinematheque’s Egyptian Theater and answered questions posed by the moderator, Mike Goodrich, on their films: FIRST THEY KILLED MY FATHERTHE SQUARELOVELESSFANTASTIC WOMAN AND IN THE FADE respectively, dealing with contemporary themes addressing the world today.

The day preceding the Golden Globs Awards night we sat at the American Cinematheque’s Egyptian Theater in Hollywood surrounded by a public of creative people from the filmmaking community. The Q&A was moderated by Mike Goodrich. The directors, in spite of being competitors, were friendly and unassuming. Although my preferred film among the very good five was Ruben Östlund’s The Square, whom we had encountered the preceding day at the Aero Theater in Santa Monica, I was very impressed by the humanity, eloquence and thinking of Angelina Jolie, well beyond her beauty and talent as an actress. Being acquitted with Cambodia’s genocide – back in 2008 we were commissioned to design a memorial in Long Beach, which has the largest Cambodian community outside of Phnom Penh – I thought that They Killed My Father First was important to raise the public’s awareness of the Cambodian tragedy.  The film was well crafted, besides its content.

Why was The Square my preferred film? Because I saw it as one of those films that mark a “before and after” point of reference, like La Dolce Vita in the 1960’s. It is a breakthrough in filmmaking, and I am glad that the Cannes Festival acknowledged that by awarding it the Palme d’Or. Many professional critiques disagree, and in fact, contrary to my predictions, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association did not award it, neither did it award Jolie’s film, which I considered the second best. The critique is that it is “disjointed.” Sure, and that’s the point. Östlund is perfectly coherent in the way he presents his social critique in a language consistent with the message. In a way, its satirical aspect reminded me the films of Luis Buñuel and the plays of Eugene Ionesco.

Fatih Akin’s input at the symposium was genuine. In the Fade is a very good thriller, but I agree with him that he would not have been there without the participation of Diane Kruger’s fabulous acting. The importance of this film dealing with terrorism and neo-nazi racism is that it focuses on the victim, rather than on the terrorists or the police investigators.

In Fantastic Woman, Sebastian Lelio confronted a difficult subject in telling the story of a transexual as a social message, to a great extent thanks to the performance of its star, Daniela Vega. He acknowledges that before the film he had had many prejudices about the subject, and only after long research he changed his mind.

Last but not least, Andrey Zviyagnitsev’s Loveless develop a theme that, unfortunately, it is quite universal: the victimization of children from an ugly divorce. The filmmaking is masterful in a  classical cinematographic way of painting a drama, but, like In the Fade, it is essentially a thriller.

Why would a filmmaker of architecture documentaries step on the field of feature films’ critique? An easy answer is ‘why not’? But the truth is that I see architecture as the ultimate expression of life itself, and it is nourished by all the arts and sciences. In many ways, I find that architecture and filmmaking have a similar process. As a personal note: in my first year at the School of Architecture of the University of Buenos Aires, we had a course named “Cultural Integration,” taught by Jorge Romero Brest. As part of the course, we had to go to watch assigned good cinema (Fellini, Antonioni, Tati, Kurosawa) every Saturday morning, and write a review by Monday. It was the way the school saw how to develop critical thinking in students that didn’t know a jota about architecture.

“And The Winner Is…” Obviously, YOU!