Teshigahara's Antonio Gaudi
After seeing Guadi's wondrous architecture in late 2002, when I discovered that the maker of the equally wondorus Woman in the Dunes, Hiroshi Teshigahara had made a flick of Gaudi's work and it was playing at our local art-house Pacific Cinematheque, my desire to see it rivalled my desire to see Gaudi's buildings before I went to Barcelona, or my desire to see Woman in the Dunes after I'd read that equally fine novel. Teshigahara's film is one of the peaks in the history of cinema, and few films have taught us more about the possibility of vision. Gaudi is one of two people to have hit aesthetic hat tricks for me. Best house: Casa Batllo, Best park: Park Guell, and Best church: Sagrada Familia. His only rival is Vince Guaraldi for best single, Cast Your Fate to the Wind, best album, Vince Guaraldi at Grace Cathedral, and best soundtrack: A Charlie Brown Christmas and the rest of his Peanuts TV work. The ad mentioned a newly restored 35mm print of Teshigahara's Gaudi so I was expecting better quality footage than that which I shot with a cheap Canon camcorder. And from the master of film-wouldn't be it fantastic?
I had a hard time staying awake. Images that glowed in real life on a sunny day (not uncommon in Spain) paled into tedium rapidly. Where was the director of photography? I thought it would be impossible to make Gaudi boring but Teshigahara pulled it off. OK, it was 85, "long ago" from the digital age, but I've been immersed of late in 8mm footage my parents shot in the 50s and the colour quality was better than in this obviously well-financed, state of the art technology by one of the giants of film. Did the colour corector go to sleep before running this through? Tedium magnified by poor choice of lighting, perhaps Teshigahara had gone blind but no one had bothered to tell him? Gaudi, come back! They can't kill you again. Your work is immortal.
See Woman in the Dunes. Visit Gaudi's buildings. Forget there was ever a connection. Well, there stil isn't.