Attention Chicagoland, Rosenbaum documentary at the Siskel

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Post by peterm »

Mildred was hospitalized for a year in 1953, and according to Jonathan, had multiple shock therapy treatments. I have read some of her letters to the family, and she seemed lucid, though Jonathon said that it affected her memory. The interview with her in the film was so short that it was difficult to gauge anything from her demeanor.

David shot himself in the early 80s. The surviving sons from oldest to youngest are Alvin, Jonathon and Michael.

Introduction, page 259 ... 2_SL-5EpcC

Paul Ringstrom
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Post by Paul Ringstrom »

peterm wrote:I don’t think it’s available yet on dvd, but surely will be soon.
Did you find out anything regarding the DVD?
Owner of the G. Curtis Yelland House (1910), by Wm. Drummond

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Post by Rood »

An image of the Rosenbaum House, designed and built by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1939. It is located in Florence, Alabama and is the childhood home of renowned Chicago film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum. (Gene Siskel Film Center)
“A House Is Not a Home: Wright or Wrong� (Jan. 18 & 20):

Sometimes a place just takes root in your imagination. For director Mehrnaz Saeed-Vafa (who teaches film studies at Columbia College), that place is the childhood home of friend and renowned Chicago-based film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum, who grew up in Florence, Alabama in a house Frank Lloyd Wright built for his parents.

There’s a cumulative power to the documentary, which gradually reveals its preoccupations with memory and disappointment, and how our lives are sometimes literally shaped by the walls around us. Saeed-Vafa is repeatedly drawn back to the house, initially filming it during a 1995 visit � in hindsight she remembers the humidity and the smell of the wooden walls overpowering her and making her sick � and again decades later when the house has been turned into a museum and open to the public.

She is consumed not only with the home’s architecture � a labyrinth of right angles and horizontal lines clad in wood and brick, none of it designed to optimize air flow in a Southern climate � but also with the family that once lived within those rooms. Inevitably this leads Saeed-Vafa to thoughts (and the mixed feelings) she has about her own fractured family and her upbringing in Tehran.

All families have their dysfunction. Sometimes our surroundings exacerbate that dysfunction. Stan and Mimi Rosenbaum would raise four sons in that home, which was built in 1939 with money (and land) gifted to them upon their marriage. “There was a bit of snobbery, always a lot of snobbery in our family,� says one of their sons. “Stanley maybe a little less so than Mimi. but the house was always part of that snobbery.�

Neither Stan nor Mimi seemed fully equipped to be parents, according to their sons, which created all kinds of strange dynamics in a home where (thanks to Wright) form always won over function. There are no windows and doorways at the front of the house, for example. “His idea of the perfect life was turning your back on the community,� Jonathan says of Wright. “That’s the design of the house. I grew up inside of a fortress.�

Saeed-Vafa finds real poetry � both visual but also in her voiceover murmerings � in her obsession with this house and the lives it once contained, always circling back to something more personal.

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Post by SDR »

And so we turn from newly-published semi-fictional works probing Wright's persona and personal history, to ones second-guessing his architectural decisions and choices ?

I thought that was my job . . . 8)


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