©1997, a film by Susan Froemke, Bob Eisenhardt
and Albert Maysles, 100 mins
Filmed over the course of twelve years, Concert of Wills
chronicles the conception, construction and completion of
the most eagerly anticipated architectural undertaking of
this century. The film offers a rare look at a creative
process in action, where different aesthetic philosophies
meet head on and are passionately defended.
The Getty Center, a sprawling, six-building hillside complex,
fourteen years in the making, was to be the architectural
vision of renowned architect Richard Meier -- famous for
his grand, minimalist white buildings. So when Concert of Wills
(with the emphasis on wills) begins with a cantankerous
community meeting at which the neighborhood residents insist
a white building is out of the question, the architect takes the
first of many hits.
Meier's many run-ins with San Diego artist Robert Irwin,
commissioned to design the central garden (and to "shake
things up a bit," in the words of one Getty VP), with French
architect Thierry Despont, brought in to add color and warmth
to the museum interiors, and with Getty executives themselves,
who fear that "Richard seems almost to have a hostility toward
comfort," make for mesmerizing high drama. With unflinching
honesty, the film shows the heated debates, some of which
resulted in significant design changes, even after the concrete
foundations had been poured.
"Fascinating throughout, both for the ultimate beauty and
scope of the project, and for the ability to watch grown and
successful men protect their turf from one another and from
the Philistines without."
- Todd Everett, VARIETY, December 15,1997
"Mesmerizing, artful. You needn't be art-smart to get a big
kick out of Concert of Wills and its spirit of openness.
(Its) ultimate achievement is in capturing the creative process -
at once torturous and exhilarating - through which the container
emerges as art along with the contents."
- Howard Rosenberg, LOS ANGELES TIMES, December 17, 1997
"·Itself a fine and painstaking work of art· (it) conveys the
tension and drama of creation."
- Lawrence Van Gelder, THE NEW YORK TIMES, August 26, 1998
"This massive undertaking is enhanced by the clever editing and
a superior musical underscore by Joel Goodman."
- Irv Letofsky, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, December 16-22, 1997
Best Reporting Prize, Montreal Festival of Films on Art 1998
Official Selection at Amsterdam Documentary Film Festival
Sydney Film Festival (Australia)
ViewPoint Film Festival (Belgium)
Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival (Arkansas), Doubletake Film
Festival (North Carolina)
Festival of Films and New Media on Art (Greece)
Festival of Films on Architecture (New York)
Environmental Film Festival (Washington, DC)
Theatrical premiere at New York's Film Forum 1998