Sydney Pollack's briskly entertaining documentary is a tribute to his extremely bright architectural friend Frank Gehry.
Sketches of Frank Gehry features the acclaimed director and sometimes actor into much conversational pieces with the kindly, outgoing titular figure. It may come across to some as self-indulgent, but acquires much fascination from an individual out to defy physics.
In looking at his unusual pencil outlinings, Gehry tells Pollack of the fear of starting something from scratch. Then, Pollack cuts to his friend's striking Bilbao, Spain located masterpiece, the Guggenheim Museum. The unique building is framed with walls that remind one of a dynamic tsunami, and the film probes into how his signature touch comes to fruition.
Gehry's modesty is worn on his sleeve, yet there is a competitive streak deep within. The converging process to realize his vision has an old-school approach, though technology underlines the genius in finishing then mastering the models. Digitization of the design work ensures what is physically possible can be constructed. Gehry, never prone to using computers, is concerned about much being lost during the process with simple models and computers to implement what is perceived to be way-out, but cutting-edge.
Besides chatting with Gehry, Pollack has time to speak with other artists and celebrities who have the utmost praise for someone who manages to do much more than build big boxes. Sketches of Frank Gehry also has a nice travelogue quotient to it, difficult for one not to long to escape to places where his beauteous imagery exists. The mind of someone highly critical of himself becomes captivating even for those unknowing of an artist ironically proclaims the wonder of it all.