Trienal de Arquitectura de Lisboa

Which Arquitecturas 2017 award-winning films will be on tour?

After the 5th edition of the Arquitecturas Film Festival (running between 11 and 15 October 2017), under the theme ‘Let's Get Physical’, co-organised by Do You Mean Architecture and the Triennale, it is now time for the award-winning films to start a tour to other destinations. Already confirmed are screenings at Archicine in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), between 22nd and 26th of November, and at the Florence Architecture University (Italy) within the scope of Media Arq, on the 27th and 28th of November.

But Évora, Madeira and Azores are also some of the locations where a selection of five award-winning films will be shown. Still at the stage of its early development, the Triennale is open to invitations/proposals of Theatres, Cinemas, Art Centres or Universities, among others. The Itinerant Circuit of this Cinema Festival aims at opening these cinematographic works to new audiences in a perspective of cultural decentralisation.

For the different categories, these are the five winning films and an honourable mention, which will be presented in several cities, in Portugal and abroad, through the Itinerant Circuit:


Best Experimental Film
“Il Grande Cretto Di Gibellina”, 14’ by Petra Noordkamp, Netherlands, 2017


There are times when citizens shape the city and there are times when the city does not let itself be shaped by its citizens. In “Il Grande Creto di Gibellina”, we are shown the old town of Gibellina (central Sicily, Italy in the Province of Trapani). Having been destroyed by an earthquake in January 1968, its citizens and influential people, decided that they wanted to rebuilt it, both as land art and memorial. And so it was. The new city was rebuilt 11km away from the original town of Gibellina but this documentary focuses on the work of Italian artist Alberto Burri (1915-1995) who has conceived how should the memory of the event be preserved and how should the old city look like. The design is unexpected and moving.


Best International Film
“Square Vs. Circle”, 28’ by Kristina Leidenfrostova, Slovakia, 2016


In Slovakia, in “Square Vs. Circle”, we find Ivan Matušík (b.1930), an architect who played a significant role in the 1960s with buildings that strongly embody the communist development in Slovakia but that since the end of Communist rule in Czechoslovakia in 1989, and after the separation between the Slovak Republic and the Czech Republic, in 1993, are at risk of being unpreserved. Should the work of architects done during the communist era be preserved or should a country’s past be destroyed in order to renew itself?


New Talent Prize
“Today” 4’ by Marcel Ijzerman, Netherlands, 2016

To the sound of seven recorded conversations collected in The Province House of North Brabant (NL) we are shown in “Today” the iconic building’s engine that keeps the structure running. The original design by Hugh Maaskant (1907-1977) was recently renovated by KAAN Architecten hoping to harmonize the old and the new. The spectator is only allowed to passively witness the building’s monumentality.


Audience Prize
“It’s All a Plan”, 73’ by Joana Mendes da Rocha and Patrícia Rubano, Brazil, 2017


“Architecture is human desire”. The one uttering these words is Brazilian architect, Paulo Mendes da Rocha (b.1925), whose work has been mainly conducted in Brazil, particularly in São Paulo. He was awarded the Mies van der Rohe Prize (2000), the Pritzker Prize (2006) and last year we earned the Venice Biennale Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement. He is the most renowned living Brazilian architect and this documentary is about his life and work. The main character is Mendes da Rocha himself, who through his own words tells his own story, while being interviewed by his daughter. The architect shows a genuine availability to reflect on the practice of architecture and to evaluate the role of the architect in society, to the point of, sometimes, giving his own work a secondary role. At 88 years old, he shares his ideas on urbanism, nature, humanity, art and technique, always maintaining a dialogue with his daughter, creating a mise en scène that is playful, intimate and biographical.


Honourable Mention
“Brasília – Life After Design”, 88’ by Bart Simpson, Canada/Brazil/United Kingdom, 2017


An understanding of what is at stake in Brasília. Having been founded in 1960, so that Brazil could have a more central new capital city, Brasilia’s principal architect, Oscar Niemeyer (1907-2012) and Brasília’s urbanist, Lúcio Costa (1902-1998), were privileged enough to fulfil the modernist architecture’s dream and build, from scratch, an entire city. Around 60 years later, up to what point was Brasília’s strategy (master plan) successful and which tactics have its inhabitants created, in order to be able to continue to live in Brasilia?

Sofia Mourato is the art director of Arquitecturas Film Festival, which presents documental and experimental films about architecture. The 2017 edition proposed a reflection around ‘What does it mean to be an architect?’, highlighting four great personalities: Rem Koolhaas, Álvaro Siza, Jane Jacobs and Bjarke Ingels. The sessions were on at the Fórum Lisboa and Cinema City Alvalade, and 20 films were presented to competition, including two world premieres.