IN THE MIDST OF THINGS

IN MEDIAS RES

72min Portugal 2013

a documentary by LUCIANA FINA
texts by MANUEL TAINHA

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“The most solid and substantial role that architecture has always played is that of the construction of the places where people interact with one other, with nature, with other creatures and with inanimate objects. And where space, time and movement are not absolute concepts...”

Manuel Tainha

Departing from Manuel Tainha’s texts and the conversations recorded between 2010 and 2012, Luciana Fina proposes a cinematic reading of the thought and the universe of the architect, a dialogue with his ethics and his poetics.

Embodying his words, his reflections and his sources of inspiration, as well as the constant confrontation with other arts, the film creates a pathway through three of the architect’s works, designed and built between the 1950s and the 1970s, but nowadays experiencing a significant moment of their existence.

Holding a key position in the field of architecture in Portugal and in its relation to modernity, Manuel Tainha launched his studio in the 1950s, and for almost six decades has been working on architectural projects, translating the restlessness of an ‘examined architectural practice’ into the ongoing, parallel activity of writing.

The documentary was made with the support of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in the context of a project for film productions about the great interpreters of twentieth century’s Architecture in Portugal.


Intention Note

Knowing Manuel Tainha’s thought and work is an encounter with Architecture as permanent questioning of his own practice, ethics and poetics. A “craft” practiced along with the resistant exercising of thought, writing and education, throughout six decades of the history of Portugal, from the mid-twentieth century to the new millennium.

The documentary “IN THE MIDST OF THINGS” was not conceived with the intention of realizing a “catalogue raisonné” of Manuel Tainha’s extensive work, or as a documentary about the “architect at work”. With this film I sought a cinematic correspondence with the Manuel Tainha’s thought and word, with the imperative restless feeling of never believing in the world or in knowledge as final and completed products.

Correspondences multiply; cinema, literature and music come often to occupy the core of our conversations: Italo Calvino’s pages, human scenarios created by the whole of our senses, the music of Bela Bartók, modernity in a dialogue with the vernacular, the apple of Magritte and the treachery of images, the cinema of Eisenstein and modern dynamics of vision. From the twentieth century, Tainha summons authors and languages that inspired the dialectical relationship with modernity, the predominance of perception, the dimension of inhabiting with “the whole body”, denying that images should be in the place of things, designs in the place of buildings.

In the film, I let the inspiration sources to be embodied, the images and sounds to be born out of the intensity of the conversations with the architect, in the discontinuous time of the writing, the words and the memory. “Like words, images don’t have a prior existence: rather, they emerge, one after another, as the discourse is made and unmade.”

Cinema, the encounter with the architect and his writing, the perception of places, were an extraordinary opportunity to engage with an idea of Architecture, which is extremely inspiring and summons the whole complexity of reality, which are core matters for both Architecture and Cinema.







The Brooklyn Rail, Leo Goldsmith
“Records, Remnants, and Ruins” Highlights from Doclisboa 2013


With “In Medias Res” (In The Midst Of Things), Luciana Fina offers a cinematic correspondence with the texts of architect Manuel Tainha. Naturally, the film offers the sort of majestic cinematography of inner and outer spaces characteristic of architectural documentaries, but it’s also playful and multiform, drawing upon diverse media of archival material, music, still images, sketches, and scenes from Basil Dearden’s 1963 psychological thriller The Mind Benders. Fina’s film thus skirts the more inert, reverential tendencies of films of its kind, and instead explores architecture’s temporal as well as spatial qualities, contrasting old and new, modernism and post-modernism, the filmmaker’s own point of view with that of her subject. In this way, architecture seems to have more in common with other media after all—walls themselves become mediators, and buildings “an experience of boundaries.”

Prizes
BEST NATIONAL FILM
LISBON Arquitecturas Film Festival 2014



Festivals
2014 | Nov
LISBON Temps d’Images Film on Art Award
2014 | Nov
SEATTLE Nexdocs
2014 | Oct
NEW YORK Architecture Design Film Festival
2014 | Oct
MILANO Design Film Festival
2014 | Sept
LISBON Arquitecturas Film Festival
2014 | May
VIANA XIV Encontros de Cinema
2014 | Mar
LOS ANGELES ADFF
2013 | Nov
DOCLISBOA 13



Other screenings
2014 | Oct
NEW YORK Sonnabend Gallery
2014 | May
FARO Ordem Arquitectos, Cineclube
2014 | May
LISBON Universidade Lusíada
2014 | May
LISBON Panorama, 8a Mostra Doc Português
2014 | May
LISBON Instituto Superior Técnico
2014 | Apr
TOMAR Ordem Arquitectos Abrantes
2014 | Feb
LISBON Cinemateca Portuguesa



TV Broadcasting
2014 | Jun
RTP2 Portuguese Television






IN MEDIAS RES
IN THE MIDST OF THINGS



written and directed by LUCIANA FINA
texts by MANUEL TAINHA


cinematography JOÃO RIBEIRO, LUCIANA FINA
editing OLGA RAMOS, LUCIANA FINA
sound OLIVIER BLANC, ARMANDA CARVALHO
colorist MARCO AMARAL
sound mix ELSA FERREIRA
post production studio SUNFLAG


archives
RTP Programas e notíciarios 1966 -1978
RTP “Sonhos e Armas” Cinequanon 1974
“The Mind Benders” Basil Dearden 1962
“HOPPLA!” - ROSAS 1989
realização Wolfgang Kolb coreografia Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker
musicians Walter Hus, Stefan Poelmans, Mondriaan Quartet


music
BÉLA BARTÓK
Mikrokosmos, Quarteto de Cordas Nº4
Quarteto de Cordas Nº2, Nº5, Sonata para Violino Solo


photographs
família Tainha, atelier Manuel Tainha, Fernando Bagulho, Gil Moreira
pre production support
DUPLACENA
promotion support
TRIENAL DE ARQUITECTURA DE LISBOA


production
LAFstudio | LUCIANA FINA
co-production
RTP

financial support
FUNDAÇÃO CALOUSTE GULBENKIAN



collaboration in New York
SONNABEND GALLERY
ARTE INSTITUTE



world sale contact
lafstudio.lisboa@gmail.com