M/A/D | Music/Art/Design
A study of architecture, an adventure in psychotherapy and a marathon of brilliant dialogue, Heinz Emigholz’s film succeeds where so many others fail: in portraying the life of the mind. Performers John Erdman and Jonathan Perel enact long, scintillating exchanges written by the filmmaker and psychologist Zohar Rubinstein. Begun as an analysis of Emigholz’s personal problems—which range from creative blocks to catatonia—the discourse branches out from its central focus, as all great discussions do.
The dialogue alone is reason enough to see this movie: it’s erudite, graceful and penetrating in its depiction of a troubled soul. But there’s more: Emigholz sets his film among rooms and exteriors where the architecture becomes a subject—at times the dominant one. Frequently cutting away from the human figures to show us facades, empty interiors and more, the filmmaker employs buildings as objects of beauty, but also as elements that complicate the spoken words. He turns the physical world into a mystery for us to contemplate; that’s a major cinematic achievement in itself. In Streetscapes, thinking and looking are exalted, aestheticized, held up as both obligations and great pleasures—and that’s exactly what they are to so many of us.