Sketches of Frank Gehry (PG-13)

Documentary 83 May 12, 2006
By Rob Nelson
This enjoyably breezy portrait of genius architect Frank Gehry is drawn doodle-style by first-time documentarian Sydney Pollack, a Hollywood player with ready access to impartial testimony from patron-saint moguls (Barry Diller, Michael Eisner) and a close friend of Gehry's for 30 years. Narrating in the first person, Pollack claims identification not only with the architect's artistic anxiety ("avoidance, delay, denial"), but with his challenge to achieve personal expression despite commercial restraints (i.e., the monumental Guggenheim in Bilbao is Gehry's The Way We Were, the Santa Monica Place Mall his Havana, Sabrina, Random Hearts, et al.). The friends tread lightly on one another's soft spots, and the admiration becomes infectious in the visual exploration of Gehry's perverse body of work, whose curves and crevices Pollack's camera caresses like a lover. Even the talking heads begin to appear sculpted, while both men change shape to suit their moods: Gehry as the Cubist hockey fan, alternately arrogant and shy, bossy and passive; Pollack as equally privileged and ordinary, neurotic and gregarious.
Sydney Pollack Philip Johnson, Sir Bob Geldof, Barry Diller, Michael Eisner, Dennis Hopper, Michael Ovitz, Milton Wexler Ultan Guilfoyle Sony Pictures Classics