Coming to theatres this Friday, November 18: EAMES: THE ARCHITECT AND THE PAINTER
Producers Jason Cohn and Bill Jersey premiered their portrait of couple Charles and Ray Eames at the Denver Film Society at the end of September before bringing the film to a handful of other festivals and museums prior to its theatrical release. It opens at NYC’s IFC Center and LA’s Lemmle’s Music Hall this week, with more engagements through the end of the year.
The influence and impact of Charles Eames on design might be more than enough to explore in a documentary project, but that’s not the only thing focused upon by producers Cohn and Jersey (strangely, no director appears to be credited). While it doesn’t provide a comprehensive biography, the film does offer a focus on and appreciation of not only the well-known Charles but also of the quieter Ray. By deliberately underscoring the relationship between the married business partners, the film is elevated beyond being a simple hagiography or consideration of an artist/celebrity. Often relegated into the background due to societal mores, Ray emerges here as a pioneering business woman and creative force in the studio the couple conceived and ran in Venice Beach. The studio itself, represented by some of its former designers and especially by a wealth of archival material – one of the strengths of the doc as a whole – is another area of concentration that offers a fascinating window into the Eames’ creative process. Between the more personal aspects of their story, and the history of their design work, the doc manages to work at once as both a portrait of individuals and of their aesthetic philosophy.