If you only know Charles and Ray Eames by their mid-century plywood and fiberglass furniture, you may be puzzled by the title – Eames: The Architect and the Painter. Charles Eames was originally trained as an architect, but he dropped out of school and was never licensed to practice architecture. Ray Eames studied painting under Hans Hoffman, abstract expressionism painter, but she rarely painted. If you are an established Eames fan and have already known these facts, you are probably also familiar with their other creations beyond their furniture.
Whether you are an entry-level or a hardcore Eames fan, you will enjoy the new documentary film “Eames: The Architect and the Painter” by filmmakers Jason Cohn and Bill Jersey. This fascinating documentary covers the career of Charles and Ray Eames, including the insightful personal account behind the designs and the nature of the collaboration of two of America’s most important designers (design pioneers). Narrated by James Franco, this is the first film dedicated to the couple since their deaths.
I sometimes find documentary films rather boring, but there is never a dull moment in this 84-minute film filled with a wide array of archival materials and interviews with individuals who had close proximity with Charles and Ray Eames. It is very well-crafted in presenting how the couple defined postwar modernist aesthetic through not only with their furniture designs but also with their other projects such as films and exhibitions.
In addition, the film reveals more intimate and emotional side of the couple’s lives which remained very private while they were alive. If you ask me about what I think of including Charles’s love affair in the film – I’d say “that’s a little TMI.” All these years, I sort of “romanticized” about the couple’s relationship – their partnership seemed so perfect in work and life. However, what I have learned about the couple in this film doesn’t change anything about how I admire them – actually I see them as more “real people” than just the “design legend.”
If you are fairly new to the world of Charles and Ray Eames, “Eames: The Architect and the Painter” will give you a wealth of information well beyond their furniture design. If you are a big Eames fan like me, this film will let you fall in love with the Eameses all over again for sure!
Now playing at selected theatres – find playdates here.
Filmmakers – Jason Cohn & Bill Jersey
Studio – First Run Features
Run Time – 84 minutes
Language – English
Format – Digital
Year – 2011
Genre – Documentary
Will be available on DVD on December 13th, 2011. Preorder available at First Run Features and many other retailers: