Mendelsohn’s Incessant VisionsProgram: 04: Visionaries
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10/20 @ 3:00 Q&A with Duki Dror
10/21 @ 3:00 Q&A with Duki Dror
Q&A with Duki Dror made possible with the support of Office of Cultural Affairs, Consulate General of Israel, New York.
In March of 1933, German Jewish architect Erich Mendelsohn fled Berlin, having been stripped of his membership in the Architects’ Union and foreseeing even graver consequences from Hitler’s rise to power. He and his wife, Luise, stepped off the train in Amsterdam and bumped into an acquaintance. Surprised at seeing the head of what was then Germany’s largest architectural firm in the Netherlands, the man asked Mendelsohn what he was doing there. The architect took a pencil out of his pocket and held it in the air.
“I’m relocating my office,” he shortly declared.
It wouldn’t be the last time Mendelsohn would start over in a foreign land.
This revealing anecdote is recounted in Incessant Visions, a seductive and complicated new documentary from Israeli director Duki Dror [a short interview with the director follows this review]. The film melds the story of Mendelsohn’s many triumphs, from his rise as an architectural superstar in Berlin and his triumphant designs in the Middle East and America, to bitter disappointments in all the same places. The personal lives—Mendelsohn and his wife are presented here as equals—of these towering twentieth-century figures are explored, too, beyond the blueprints, from friendships with Albert Einstein and Frank Lloyd Wright to Luise’s affair with leftist German poet-politician Ernst Toller.