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  • Film programme "Architecture film series" | W 29.02 Time 18.00

    Oscar Niemeyer: Life is a Breath

    Oscar Niemeyer: elu on hingus | Oscar Niemeyer: A Vida É Um Sopro

    Director: Fabiano Maciel

    Country: Brazil

    Year: 2007

    Length: 90'

    Language: In Portugese with English subtitles

    Introduction by Peeter Pere.

    Oscar Niemeyer is one of the most important geniuses of the 20th century. Taking inspiration from Le Corbusier, and essentially building up the whole city of Brasilia, his style not only defined modern Brazilian architecture, but became a milestone from a global perspective.

    The film is based on face-to-face conversations with the Brazilian architect, with an in medias res beginning and a ’spontaneous’ ending: “The interview is over, isn’t it?” asks Niemeyer, when they begin to talk about women as everyday pleasures for the 100 year-old architect. Besides a wide range of the architect’s mostly public buildings in the biggest Brazilian cities, and also in France, Italy and Algeria, director Fabiano Maciel tries to show us the post-war intellectual and political atmosphere in Brazil, and Niemeyer’s relation to it. We also get to know him as a fighter for social justice and about his role in the construction of Brasilia as a symbol of the workers’ movement in the fifties.

    The film doesn’t mention Niemeyer’s friendship with Fidel Castro and other Soviet leaders, and it touches only superficially on his exile in Europe during the military dictatorship in Brazil. Hints from Niemeyer’s words and from the archive material explain a little about this, but it would be advisable to read a biography in order to understand everything.

    The film can teach us two main things about the Brazilian master. One is the coexistence of different art genres in Niemeyer’s work (architecture together with literature and music) – with the help of interview footage with fellow contemporaries (musician Tom Jobim, poet Ferreira Gullar, etc.). We also get a comprehensive, piece-by-piece picture of his oeuvre.