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  • 1.  Make the Invisibles Seen

    Posted 11-18-2017 18:24

     

    The film Visages, Villages (Faces, Places) quite literally shows that buildings and structures are supposed to be about people, a realization of which some architects need to be reminded from time to time. The film's unique relationship of face, place and building is an intriguing instruction for those who deal with places and people.

    In a classic road movie, but set in France, an odd couple drives a box van through France to discover the type of usually invisible people who are constitute the silent majority. One by one, these people which normally blend in, begin to stand out, there faces become large and their stories remarkable.
    Visages,Villages, the miner's widow, larger than life

    Like a good architect the young photographer and Jean Luc Godard wannabe J.R. (always with sunglasses) and his nearly 90 year old companion photographer and filmmaker Agnes Varda, slowly going blind, (which is maybe why she hates those sunglasses) scout locations, landscapes and settings for an appropriate expression for their art (both essentially are playing themselves and their actual lives).

    More importantly, though, they scout for people and when they find them, their art consists of teasing out of them what makes them special, make that specialness visible and literally enlarge their faces in their own places. In a double coup, the two artists use photography to see buildings, places, faces and stories in an all new light, by making buildings the substrate for supersized faces scaling portraits to the size of buildings.
    The film's allusions to the Swiss French film revolutionary...
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    Nikolaus Philipsen FAIA
    Archplan Inc. Philipsen Architects
    Baltimore MD
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