Years of Construction
MAD | Music/Art/Design
The subgenre of the architecture film achieves new, scintillating form in Years of Construction, the latest from German director Heinz Emigholz. A former VIFF guest, last in town with the stimulating Streetscapes [Dialogue] (VIFF 17), Emigholz has trained his camera on architectural landmarks all over the world for over two decades. Here, he turns his eye to the Kunsthalle Mannheim - a contemporary art museum in western Germany - documenting the five-year construction of the institution’s lavish new wing, which was completed in 2018.
Spare and rigorous, but never dull, Years of Construction doesn’t just capture the changing face of a city, but also takes a detailed look at an artistic institution in transition. (Local audiences familiar with the ongoing move of the Vancouver Art Gallery will find much to appreciate.) Built exclusively from dialogue-free, flawlessly composed frames, this film serves as a fascinating complement to institutional portraits like Frederick Wiseman’s National Gallery (VIFF 14). Most documentarians show a viewer new things. By examining the changing spaces in which we live and interact, Emigholz’ film challenges viewers to see differently.
"Years of Construction is… a film of marvelous psycho-geography, using the confluence between the two-dimensional cinema screen and the audience’s experience as a worksite at which to dismantle and reconfigure the world." - Daniel Kasman, MUBI Notebook