Art on Screen Databasetm Full Record

© 1985-1997 Program for Art on Film, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Data: 16 min. col. video
Year: 1989
Country of Prod'n: United States; France
Language: English
Producing Agency: Program for Art on Film, a joint venture of The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The J. Paul Getty Trust; Media France Concept
Sources: Program for Art on Film; Films Incorporated Video; Museum of Modern Art Circ. Film Library
Int'l Sources:
Director: Nadine Descendre
Executive Producer:
Camera: Guy Chanel
Editor: Catherine Gouze; Alain van den Berg
Music Composer: Rene de Wael; Eric Bonnefond
Art Consultant: Barry Bergdoll
Addl Credits: Steadicam Op.: Jean-Jacques Brehier; Still Photographs: Alain Morillon; Translation: Mark Gore; Prod. Mgr.: Sylvie Monier
Synopsis: An exploration of the church of Sainte Genevieve in Paris, also known as the Pantheon, designed in the 1770s by French architect Jacques Soufflot (1713-1780). The camera follows two specialists in eighteenth-century architecture, Barry Bergdoll of Columbia University and Jean-Pierre Mouilleseaux of the Caisse Nationale des Monuments Historiques et des Sites, as they explore the building, including the rarely seen area between the unusual overlapping domes. Conversing extemporaneously, they investigate the building's complex structure which combines the majestic simplicity and harmony of Greek architecture with the lightness and structural audacity of Gothic form. Concludes with an analysis of the place of the Pantheon in the architectural history of the dome. A video by filmmaker Nadine Descendre and architectural historian Barry Bergdoll.
Genre Film: Documentary
Aud./Grade Level: General
Suggested Uses: General Information
Subject Headings: Architecture -- Neoclassical; Churches; Domes -- Europe -- France -- Paris -- 18C 1770D
Design -- Architectural design -- Europe -- France -- Paris -- 18C 1770D

Assoc Concepts: Symbolism; Space
Artist's Name: Bergdoll, Barry (20C), American architecture historian; Mouilleseaux, Jean-Pierre (20C), French architecture historian; Soufflot, Jacques (1713-1780), French architect
Artist on Camera: No
Evaluation: Gives the sense of eye-witnessing and of the narrators experiencing the building at the moment of showing it to us. Their on-camera informal dialogue is easy to follow and, as a way to present didactic material, has engaging possibilities. (For several evaluators, however, the conversation felt too rehearsed, self-conscious, painful.) Puts the church and Paris in context, including the multiple functions of the building over the centuries and its mixture of styles. The shooting of the church itself is generally well done; includes graphics and kaleidoscopic effects. Interesting, often fresh and original, but also with moments that are cliched or precious. Technical quality good. Content and programming potential both good to very good.

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