NPR logo Friday Movies: 'Sketches of Frank Gehry'

Friday Movies: 'Sketches of Frank Gehry'

Architect Frank Gehry and director Sidney Pollock in Sketches of Frank Gehry. Sony Pictures Classics hide caption

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Sony Pictures Classics

NPR movie maven Bob Mondello weighs in on the new documentary about Frank Gehry:

I missed the screening of The Break-Up, the only big movie opening this week, but I caught up with a film that premiered a couple of weeks ago in New York and Los Angeles. It's opening up around the country now, and is about as engaging a portrait of an artist as I've seen in a while.

Sketches of Frank Gehry: For his first documentary, Sidney Pollock decided to profile his buddy, architect Frank Gehry, whose singularly intriguing — some say, "weird" — designs, from his crumpled-paper museums, to his unconventional houses have fired the imaginations of a generation of builders. They've also transformed a patchwork of urban landscapes around the world. Pollock isn't trained in architecture, so the questions he asks his friend tend to be questions you or I might ask if we met him, and because both of them are engaged in trying to create art in disciplines that are mostly about commerce, they find plenty of common ground. The portrait of Gehry is a friendly one, loose and sort of shambling as filmmaking, but studded with illuminating moments — Gehry's shrink talking about the architect's relationship with his family and how that relates to his creativity — that an entirely disinterested observer wouldn't have gotten. And the design work is fascinating, as you watch sheets of silvered poster-board get cut and shaped into models of what will ultimately be crafted in steel, then watch Pollock meld the models with the real buildings.