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The documentary by Rem Koolhaas’s son Tomas finds the film-maker racing to keep up with his 71-year-old father and struggling to achieve objectivity
One minute Rem Koolhaas is striding across sand dunes in Qatar, the next he’s contemplating cows in a field in the Netherlands. In between, he’s surveying the horizon of Beijing from a rooftop helipad, wandering the frozen streets of New York and escaping mobs of fans in Venice, before jumping in the sea to catch a moment of blissful solitude. “In a very compressed period, I am typically confronted with a literally unbelievable multitude of different contexts,” says the Dutch architect, as the camera follows him in quick succession from car to plane to boat.
You can say that again. As this new hour-long documentary jumps between the numerous locations where this globe-trotting 71-year-old is busy conjuring buildings from the ground, it sometimes feels like a feature-length commercial for a frequent flyer club.
Set to premiere at this year’s Venice film festival in September, Rem is the culmination of film-maker Tomas Koolhaas chasing his busy father across time zones for four years, from taxi to departure lounge to construction site and back again, forming a whirlwind travelogue-portrait of the world’s most talked-about architect.
Filmed, produced, directed and edited by the 36-year-old Koolhaas, and partly crowdfunded by a Kickstarter campaign, the documentary continues a tradition of filial homages to famous architect parents. It comes after Nathaniel Khan’s celebrated 2003 movie, My Architect, about his father Louis Kahn), and Jim Venturi’s (as yet unreleased) documentary about his parents Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown, Learning from Bob and Denise. As you might expect, the Koolhaas creation attempts to reinvent the format altogether. […]