Trailer Link: http://firstrunfeatures.com/
Directors: Jason Cohn, Bill Jersey
Cinematographers: Ulli Bonnekamp, Andrew Dryer, Vicente Franco, Thomas Hurwitz, Ed Marritz and more.
Editor: Don Bernier
Composer: Michael Bacon
Cast: James Franco
Running Time: 83 minutes
Charles and Ray Eames, husband and wife, respectively, are widely regarded as America’s most important designers. Perhaps best remembered for their midcentury plywood and fiberglass furniture, the Eames Office also created a mind-bending variety of other products, from splints for wounded members of the military during World War II to photography, interiors, multimedia exhibits, graphics, games, films and toys. However, their personal lives and influence on significant events in American life — from the development of modernism to the rise of the computer age — has been less widely understood. Narrated by James Franco, Eames: The Architect & the Painter is the first film dedicated to these creative geniuses and their work.
This beautifully rendered documentary draws extensively from a trove of archival material, visually stunning films, love letters, photographs and artifacts produced in mind-boggling volume by Charles and Ray with their talented staff during the hypercreative 40-year epoch of the Eames Office. Interviews with family members, including Charles’ insightful grandson Eames Demetrios, and design historians guide the viewer on an intimate tour of the Eames era, while junior designers who were swept into the 24/7 world of “The Eamery,” as they called it, flesh out a fascinatingly complex blueprint of this husband-and-wife powerhouse.
The film’s subtitle contains a grain of irony. Ray was a trained painter who rarely painted, and Charles was an architecture school dropout who was never licensed to practice. Contemporary design historians may argue about how to delineate Charles and Ray’s respective roles in the prodigious Eames design output, but this documentary reveals how Charles, Ray and the other Eames Office designers themselves actually dealt with these endemic questions of authorship and control. The film shines a light on the genuine legacy of Eames design, which elevates the marriage of aesthetic refinement and functionality to a higher plane.