Film and TV

Between the Folds: Vanessa Gould's Origami Documentary to Screen at FilmBar

Academic types talk a lot about the intersection of art and science -- about how artists can add depth to their work using scientific concepts and vice-versa. 

But few fields are built on the sole premise of merging imagination and calculation. Origami, documentarian Vanessa Gould argues, is one of them. 

Her 2008 documentary Between the Folds, which screens this Monday, Feb. 27, at FilmBar, she explores modern origami beautifully and seriously, paying reverence to the ancient paper-folding art and its creations, whether crafted by masters in the field or by children in a classroom.

The film features interviews with the world's leading origami artists, including Eric Joisel, a French sculptor whose delicate pieces ranged from the dramatic and ornate to the downright cheeky. Joisel died of lung cancer in October 2010.

Then there's Michael LaFosse, an origami artist with a background in biology. He's been designing his own paper since the '70s. Another interviewee, MIT professor Erik Demaine, specializes in computational origami. 

He believes that exploring the science of folding can help fight diseases. Our DNA, after all, is a series of folds.

The film also goes far beyond traditional origami, bringing in the postmodern artists ("one fold only") and the anarchists, who folded wildly and whimsically without a plan.



Each artist interviewed is as ardent about origami as the next. It's nerdy, yes, but the documentary puts the focus on the artists' passionate virtuoso -- not their geeky obsession. The style of the film, in fact, feels otherworldly. 

Maybe it's the calm music or Gould's NPR-ready narration, but the tone of the film is in sync with the transformative, magical nature of origami. The cinematography is as dreamy as the pieces it highlights.

Monday's screening is hosted by AIGA Arizona as part of the group's monthly film series. The film starts at 7:30 p.m. and runs just under an hour long. Tickets are $5 at the door.

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