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Perret in France and Algeria

PERRET IN FRANCE AND ALGERIA (Perret in Frankreich und Algerien) Heinz Emigholz, D 2012, 110 min

Decampment of Modernism – Part II / Photography and beyond – Part 20 / Architecture as Autobiography

World Premiere: 65. Festival del film Locarno (August 1 - August 11, 2012)
German theatrical release date: 11/29/2012
NOW on DVD and Bluray!

"Best Undistributed Films of 2012" (FILM COMMENT)

The film PERRET IN FRANCE AND ALGERIA presents thirty buildings and architectural ensembles of the French architects and construction engineers Auguste and Gustave Perret. Auguste Perret has masterfully refined concrete construction in the implementation of his projects and instilled in them a classical expression. Working in parallel to the execution of numerous construction projects in France, Perret was building under conditions of colonialism in North Africa. The film traces this division chronologically. The buildings erected in Algeria from 1912 until 1952 are for the first time the subject of a film, as are the ones built in France. The edifices of Perret in France and their continued existence in the present are thus juxtaposed to his projects realized in North Africa. A differentiated interaction with the "architectural heritage" in diverging cultures thereby becomes visible. The fate of Western architectural modernism along with its symbolic value and sustainability in the everyday interaction with its resulting products in varying social conditions and landscapes comes into view.

Auguste Perret
Auguste Perret (1874-1954), son of a constructor, studied architecture in Paris where together with his two brothers he took over his father's company in 1905 under the name  "Perret Frères". Like Louis Sullivan, he gained recognition with his early constructions utilizing an open configuration of nogging walls and facades of scaffold-like reinforced concrete (Apartment house in the Rue Franklin, 1903). The eye-catching use of concrete skeletons in his buildings made him a decisive representative and developer of new structural forms made possible through concrete construction methods (Théatre des Champs-Elysées in 1913).  His architecture achieves sensational results with an unusual connection of stylistic elements from Art Nouveau and neoclassicism with creative externalized construction frames and his bold experiments with concrete. The works he executed show extreme versatility - from houses and apartment buildings, studios, workshops, production facilities, warehouses, theaters and churches to the planning of whole city districts. He was the French pioneer of Modernism and is a constant source of inspiration for Modern Architecture. His influence on Le Corbusier, who worked for 10 years in his office, is unmistakable. The award of the International Union of Architects for "Architectural Technologies" is called the Auguste-Perret-Prize in his honor. He was the first to build modern churches with distinctive support frames and window lattices out of concrete (Notre-Dame du Raincy, 1923, Montmagny, 1926). Spiral staircases (Musée des Traveux Publics, 1937), style defining multi-story buildings in Amiens and Le Havre (1947) and the reconstruction of the city centre of Le Havre after the Second World War with the Saint-Joseph church (1954) belong to his masterful later works.

PERRET IN FRANCE AND ALGERIA was shot from March 2011 to June of the same year in France and Algeria. It will include the following buildings:

Immeuble d'Habitation Rue Franklin (1904), Paris
Cathédrale d'Oran (1912), Oran, Algerien
Théâtre des Champs-Élysées (1913), Paris
Église Notre-Dame-de-la-Consolation (1923), Raincy
Maison Gaut (1923), Paris
Église Sainte-Thérèse (1926), Montmagny
Maison Cassandre (1927), Versailles
Résidence-Atelier Mela Muter (1928), Paris
Salle Cortot de l'école normale de musique (1929), Paris
Chapelle de la Columbière (1929), Chalon-sur-Saone
Chapelle (1929), Arcueil
Résidence Atelier Chana Orloff (1929), Paris
Studio Dora Gordine (1929), Boulogne-Billancourt
Maison de l'Agriculture (1932), Algier, Algerien
Villa Arakel Nubar Bey (1932), Garches   
Immeuble d'Habitation de Maurice Lange (1932), Paris
Immeuble d'Habitation Rue Raynouard (1932), Paris
Bureaux du Gouvernement Général d'Algérie (1934), Algier, Algerien     

Maison de Charles Mauduit (1934), Sceaux
Hopital Sétif (1934), Sétif, Algerien
Mobilier National (1936), Paris
Hopital Civil de Mustapha (1939), Algier, Algerien
Immeubles de Studios (1939-48), Algier, Algerien
Musée national des Travaux Publics - Palais d'Iéna (1948), Paris
Hopital Barbier-Hugo (1936-55), Algier, Algerien
Gare Maritime (1948), Algier, Algerien
Tour d'Amiens (1951), Amiens
Yacht-Club (1934-1952), Algiers, Algerien
Reconstruction du Havre (1945-55), Le Havre
Église Saint-Joseph (1954), Le Havre


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