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5 Reasons Why You Should See The Documentary: 'REM' by Tomas Koolhaas

Los Angeles, California; Home to many great things: Celebrities, unique restaurants, Hollywood, The Lakers, Beverly Hills... and to add to the list--Home of director and cinematographer, Tomas Koolhaas.

The DesignBloc recently visited Los Angeles and seized the opportunity to catch up with Tomas since our last interview in August 2015. A year has passed, and this time we had the opportunity to dive deeper in Tomas' soon to be released film: REM, a documentary about his father, Rem Koolhaas.

Tomas Koolhaas, Director and film maker of "REM"

Tomas Koolhaas makes a film about his father, the Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas releasing this Fall (2016)

We met at a quaint coffee shop in Downtown LA, and almost immediately we realized (even more than ever) that REM isn't going to be your typical documentary or architecture film. Although we could go on about all of the great things we learned about this upcoming release, we managed to narrow it down to 5 reasons why you should see REM this Fall.

Here are our top 5 reasons you should go see REM:

1.) The Subject

For those outside the world of architecture and design, Rem Koolhaas is a Dutch architect, architectural theorist, urbanist, and Professor in Practice of Architecture and Urban Design at Harvard University. Koolhaas is the founding partner of OMA, and is widely regarded as one of the most important architectural thinkers and urbanologists of this generation. In 2000, Rem Koolhaas won the Pritzker Prize (highest architectural award), and in 2008, Time Magazine put him in their top 100 list of The World's Most Influential People.

While interviewing Tomas Koolhaas, we quickly discovered that this documentary is not merely an extended Wikipedia article of Rem Koolhaas' life; 'REM' does just the opposite. Spoiler Alert: this is not merely a father and son film. In fact, Tomas doesn't appear in the film once; This film has taken on a broader approach.

While filming, Tomas searched for unpredictable ways to share Rem's philosophy by humanizing him and allowing us to intimately observe his life and his architecture. He wants to break the mold of Rem just being seen as a "Starchitect." He wants the viewer to understand him on a deeper level--as a creative human being.

2.) The Narrator

Tomas best describes his "narrating" style in this film as non-linear, psychological, and to be viewed while in a stream of conscience. He wants you to be the one filling in the gaps throughout the film; To connect the scenes through your sub-conscience. "Show don't tell" he says. He believes that this strategy is more powerful than narrating ones life word for word, and so do we.

3.) The Music

The soundtrack, created by musician Murray Hidary, takes on a creative twist. Just as Tomas wants the viewer to unwrap the storyline through their sub-conscience, the music throughout the film mimics this free-thinking concept by means of musical improvisation. He met Murray Hidary at his live interactive performance called Mind Travel: A Music Meditation, and from there, he knew his musical style would be a perfect complement within the film.

While watching 'REM' allow your mind to wander as the music enhances the film experience and promotes a sense of active meditation.

4.) The Storyline

Throughout the film, Tomas wants the viewer to experience his father's architecture in ways we may not have the opportunity to experience. He explains to us that in an architectural magazine or online publication, one can view the floor plans, sections, photos, and details of a building, but you can't experience the space fully. He chose to un-sterilize this common approach by guiding us through the his father's buildings through non-traditional interactions within the space.

One example of this interactive approach is witnessed during a parkour scene in the film--yes, an action-packed parkour scene--fully equipped with runs, jumps, and flips throughout Rem's Casa De Musica in Porto, Portugal. It's like an architectural roller-coaster that you just want to keep riding.

5.) The Director: Tomas Koolhaas

Everyone told Tomas that he couldn't do it; That he shouldn't do it-- unless the film was done a specific way. They told him that he should stay within the box....and what did Tomas do? He stepped outside of the box--and rightfully so.

This is Tomas' first big venture into directing. He tells us he's usually works on other people's projects as a cinematographer, so for more reasons than one, this film is near and dear to his heart.

We asked Tomas, "Are you happy with how it turned out?" Although a difficult question for a creative-type to answer, Tomas summed up his opinion in the best way we could have imagined. He shared a quote by Leonardo Da Vinci: "Art is never finished, only abandoned." As many artists and designers could relate, we are constantly trying to make our work better until we finally realize that it's time to let go. Through his letting go, it is clear that Tomas is happy with the results.

The Premiere: Stay Tuned!

REM will premiere at the 73rd Annual International Film Festival in Venice this September (2016). Following the premiere in Venice, Tomas plans to tour the world, sharing his film with design communities, architecture schools, firms, festivals, and many other types of venues. Stay tuned!

For release details and more information:

-The DesignBloc Team

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