Architecture and Film Online: a selection by DADo Film Society of the RBF

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What is DADo Online?

During this unprecedented time of isolation, DADo will be providing you with films that you can watch from home, for free. It’s not the same as watching films at the beautiful Walsh Street, but we hope it will be a good way to share films with you until we can get back to doing what we do best: screening great films and listening to great speakers in a beautiful setting.

How It Works

Every fortnight we aim to share with you 3 films on architecture, urbanism, and design, that you can watch from the comfort of your own home. With each release we will update our social media and add to the list below, with direct links provided to the source of the videos.


Our volunteer work at DADo has been supporting the Robin Boyd Foundation with tickets sold to our events since 2013. While Walsh Street is closed due to COVID-19 we won’t be able to hold the same events nor raise funds through our ticketing, and so we would encourage you to visit the donations page at the Robin Boyd Foundation website if you enjoy this content. We’d love to continue showing our support for the Foundation and hope you will too with a tax-deductible donation here.

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Watch Now

Year: 1927
Run Time: 2h33
Directed By: Fritz Lang

“In a futuristic city sharply divided between the working class and the city planners, the son of the city’s mastermind falls in love with a working class prophet who predicts the coming of a savior to mediate their differences.”

Metropolis, a German silent film released in 1927, features director Fritz Lang’s vision of a grim futuristic society and contains some of the most impressive images in film history.

Often sited as the first great science fiction films, Metropolis continues to inspire and delight almost a hundred years later. Its influence can be seen in many subsequent science fiction films, including Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (1982) and Terry Gilliam’s Brazil (1985). Lang’s eye for magnificent set pieces and special effects resulted in memorable images, notably the immense skyscrapers that dominate the skyline of Metropolis and the scenes in which the robot takes on Maria’s features.

Lang claimed the inspiration for his film was “my first sight of the skyscrapers in New York. I looked into the streets – the glaring lights and the tall buildings – and there I conceived Metropolis.”

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Mon Oncle

Watch On Kanopy

Year: 1958
Run Time: 1h56
Directed by: Jacques Tati

“Monsieur Hulot visits the technology-driven world of his sister, brother-in-law, and nephew, but he can’t quite fit into the surroundings.”

The 1958 comedic gem Mon Oncle was written and directed by and starred Jacques Tati and was the second film in which he played the much-loved Monsieur Hulot – a polite, clumsy and naive character whose creation was influenced by Buster Keaton and in turn influenced Rowan Atkinson’s Mr Bean.

Mon Oncle pokes fun at the absurdities of modern living and society’s growing obsession with technology. The design of the house, much praised and shown off by Madame Arpel, exposes the discomfort of certain modern designs and the pretentiousness of its owners; with its fish-shaped fountain that only gets turned on for important visitors, its garden divided into over-manicured compartments and gadgets so loud they make conversation impossible. The link between the two worlds is Hulot’s nephew Gérard. Bored by his sterile surroundings and impersonal parents, he has much more fun with his Uncle.

HOW TO WATCH: Kanopy is a service that partners with your local library to provide you free films. Sign up to Kanopy using your existing library card and gain access to a huge number of both educational and entertaining content!

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Watch On Kanopy

Year: 1967
Run Time: 2h35
Directed By: Jacques Tati

“Monsieur Hulot curiously wanders around a high-tech Paris, paralleling a trip with a group of American tourists. Meanwhile, a nightclub/restaurant prepares its opening night, but it’s still under construction.”

After the phenomenal global success of Mon Oncle (1958), Jacques Tati was given carte blanche to create his next film. Working meticulously and experimentally over the next nine years, Tati created one of the great works of “architectural” cinema, overseeing the construction of a massive working mini-city on the outskirts of Paris and producing a profound spatial and perceptual comedy of modern humanity, and the places and spaces it constructs for itself. Paradoxically, Playtime acts as both a parody of modernism and one of its great cinematic emblems.

Very much indebted to and gently critical of the legacy of the international style and globalisation, this prescient, brilliantly calibrated and staged comedy on modernity celebrates both the absurdity of the contemporary built environment and the opportunities for “play” and “time” it allows its human occupants. Initially designed to be only screened on 70mm and in optimal circumstances, this grand “folly” was financially ruinous to Tati but has emerged as one of the great visionary and truly modern works of the cinema.

HOW TO WATCH: Kanopy is a service that partners with your local library to provide you free films. Sign up to Kanopy using your existing library card and gain access to a huge number of both educational and entertaining content!

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Belonging – Glenn Murcutt

Watch Now

Year: 2013
Run Time: 21m
Directed by: Aureliano Ramella

A beautifully filmed documentary on the Simpson-Lee house and the Boyd Center by Australian architect Glenn Murcutt. Aureliano pairs an insightful interview with Murcutt with the sights and sounds of the building’s Australian context.

The sounds of frogs, cicadas and whipbirds and imagery of bushfire smoke and morning mist surrounding the buildings elevates the words of Murcutt as he describes the important aspects of his work and the techniques he employs to keep his buildings ‘of place’ and part of the landscape.

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Autopsy On A Dream

Watch Now

Year: 1968 (Restored 2013)
Run Time: 1h24m (+Prologue 27m)
Directed By: John Weiley

“It stands, a frosty, glad symbol of whatever you like. Destroyed by cussedness, betrayed by cowardice, brought to this quietus by the politics that giveth and the politics that taketh away…”

In 1968, John Weiley shot ‘Autopsy on a Dream’ a film on the Sydney Opera House which detailed the construction process of the Opera House, and the politics of Jorn Utzons dismissal. The documentary was controversial, it was screened once, and then John Weiley was told it had been destroyed, literally chopped to pieces. Forty five years later a copy of the film was discovered in the BBC vaults by an ABC producer looking for archive footage of the Opera House. So began the painstaking process of restoring this record of a unique moment in Australian culture to its former glory.

An enchanting film, recently released for free online by the Sydney Opera House group complete with prologue. A highly recommended watch.

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Harry Seidler: Modernist

Watch On Kanopy

Year: 2016
Run Time: 58m
Directed By: Daryl Dellora

The first documentary retrospective of Harry Seidler’s architectural legacy, Harry Seidler: Modernist reveals an intimate portrait of his extraordinary life and internationally recognised work. During a career that spanned almost sixty years he worked in New York, Paris, China, and Mexico, reshaped Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Vienna and prompted architects and artists from all over the world to look to his work as an inspiration.

Seidler typified the practice of mid-century modernism in Australia more than any other. From the moment he arrived in Sydney his private homes were in demand and his uniquely stylised and innovatively engineered tower blocks came to dominate the skyline. International buildings include the Australian Embassy in Paris and the Wohnpark Neue Donau in Vienna. The year of release marked 10 years since the death of Harry Seidler and this timely documentary delivers an exhilarating retrospective of Seidler’s architectural vision.

HOW TO WATCH: Kanopy is a service that partners with your local library to provide you free films. Sign up to Kanopy using your existing library card and gain access to a huge number of both educational and entertaining content!

Eames: The Architect and the Painter

Watch on Kanopy

Year: 2011
Run Time: 1h26
Directed By: Jason Cohn, Bill Jersey

“The husband-and-wife team of Charles and Ray Eames were America’s most influential and important industrial designers. Admired for their creations and fascinating as individuals, they have risen to iconic status in American culture.

‘The Architect and the Painter’ draws from a treasure trove of archival material, as well as new interviews with friends, colleague, and experts to capture the personal story of Charles and Ray while placing them firmly in the context of their fascinating times.”

HOW TO WATCH: Kanopy is a service that partners with your local library to provide you free films. Sign up to Kanopy using your existing library card and gain access to a huge number of both educational and entertaining content!

Richard Leplastrier: Framing the View

Watch on ABC iView

Year: 2020
Run Time: 1h13
Directed By: Anna Cater

“Filmed over 15 years, this documentary [is] a powerful portrait of a seminal figure in Australian architecture.”

The 81-year-old Melbourne-born architect “… is the architect’s architect, refusing to become a ‘starchitect’. And while he designs beautifully crafted houses for his clients, his own lifestyle is closer to camping,” says the documentary’s creator. “Shunning the limelight, he tucks himself away in his one-room home in a remote estuary north of Sydney, only reached by boat.”

‘Framing the View’ follows Leplastrier from his house in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney to the construction of other homes in the city.

Artbound: Masters of Modern Design

Watch on PBS

Year: 2019
Run Time: 56m
Directed By: Akira Boch

“From the iconic typeface of “The Godfather” book cover to Herman Miller’s Noguchi table, the influence of Japanese American artists and designers in postwar American art and design is unparalleled. While this second generation of Japanese American artists have been celebrated in various publications and exhibitions with their iconic work, less-discussed are the effects of the WWII incarceration.”


Free for One Day Only!

Year: 2011
Run Time: 1h25
Directed By: Gary Hustwit
Presented By: Oh You Pretty Things

A documentary about the design of cities, which looks at the issues and strategies behind urban design and features some of the world’s foremost architects, planners, policymakers, builders, and thinkers.


Free for One Day Only!

Year: 2009
Run Time: 1h15
Directed By: Gary Hustwit
Presented By: Oh You Pretty ThingsA feature-length documentary about our complex relationship with manufactured objects and, by extension, the people who design them.


Free for One Day Only!

Year: 2007
Run Time: 1h20
Directed By: Gary Hustwit
Presented By: Oh You Pretty Things A feature-length documentary about typography, graphic design and global visual culture. It looks at the proliferation of one typeface as part of a larger conversation about the way type affects our lives.

Jorn Utzon: The Man and the Architect

Watch on SBS On Demand

Year: 2018
Run Time: 1h30

This is the deeply personal and moving story about the world-renowned architect and his unique gift. Behind him stood the love of his life through 70 years, Lis. His children, close colleagues, and friends share anecdotes and experiences. It is the untold story about the man behind the famous uncompromising architect.

60 Minutes Interview: I.M. Pei

Watch on Youtube

Year: 1987
Run Time: 11m

“The unnecessary amount of times she mentions his Chinese background is astounding” – a comment on this video.

We completely agree, but this interview from 1987 is an intriguing window in time to when I.M. Pei began construction of the Louvre Pyramid.

Buckminster Fuller: Thinking Out Loud

Watch on Youtube

Year: 1996
Run Time: 1h30

A film that looks at the unconventional life of Buckminster Fuller, his innovations, and his radical view of the contemporary world. Best known as the inventor of the Geodesic Dome, Fuller had many other inventions, such as an air-streamed three-wheeled car, and had innovative ideas of how to ‘benefit mankind.’