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REM, a Tomas Koolhaas Film

Presented as part of the LSA Lecture Series

14 February 2019

The London Society of Architects will be screening the documentary REM as part of their lecture series. The lecture will provide 1.5 hrs of structured OAA ConEd hours.

Time: 7:00 PM | Thursday, February 14, 2019

Location: Museum London, 421 Ridout Street North, London, ON

Free admission | Open to the Public | Refreshments Provided


Architecture is usually filmed from the outside, as an inanimate object.The few depictions of interiors are usually limited to still or static images of an empty building, reducing it to no more than an icon or sculpture. ‘REM’ uses an unconventional approach by combining the human stories and experience of both the architect and the users of his architecture. The film explores Rems life, working methods, philosophy and internal landscape, from a never seen perspective of intimacy and immediacy. The result is having the feeling of being ‘inside’ his head. This perspective allows the viewer to understand Rem’s ideas in a way they couldn’t otherwise. These ideas are not merely explained as intellectual concepts but the viewer also sees these ideas in practice -the reality on the ground. They see how these ideas come to fruition in concrete and metal. The film shows how these structures, sommassive and some small -dotted all around the globe- affect every aspect of the lives of the people that build them, use them and live inside them. 

Director's Comments:

When you make a film about your father the first thing people ask you about is objectivi, or more specifically your lack of it. Without getting too philosophical about it I believe no human being is cap-ble of true objectivity, but it is true that being Rem’s son I’m even less objective than an outside filmmaker would be. Instead of seeing this as an obstacle to be overcome I decided to use my specificsubjective perspective as an attribute to be utilized to give the audience insight into aspects of Rem’s work, life and way of thinking that no one else could. Most documentaries consist (in terms of narra-tive) of an outside narrator who mediates the information for the viewer using talking head interviews with critics, with a mix of critical and positive views on the films subject. This attempt at balance and therefore “objectivity” seems futile and contrived to me, and ends up giving the film a far-removedthird person perspective. I decided to forgo these issues by using an immediate, un-mediated and in-timate first person perspective. My goal with the film was to show things that have never been showbefore, in a more evocative and visually dynamic way than most architecture films. I also wanted thefilm to be more than just an aggregator of cerebral information, talking head interviews, renderings,technical drawing and architectural shop-talk. I believe all of that information is available elsewhere and a film can do so much more than just convey intellectual information. I wanted to use the formatto its full potential. I wanted REM to connect with the viewer on a deeper subconscious level rather than just a purely cerebral one, to show the buildings in a more alive and dynamic way, to show Rem in a fuller and more visceral way and importantly to show a ground level perspective of the human stories that span the history of the buildings, from the design process to construction to many years post-occupancy.

View the trailer here: