The Eames Film Festival 

Wednesday, Sep 27 2006

Husband-and-wife team Charles and Ray Eames remain icons in the history of American design, thanks to a playful aesthetic that illuminated the staid ’50s and still feels fresh. Best known for the Eames lounge chair designed in 1956, the pair also worked in many other arenas, including architecture, exhibition design and film. As filmmakers, they linked the tools of graphic design to moving images, deftly revolutionizing information graphics in ways that continue to reverberate. The pair’s rightfully celebrated Powers of Ten, for example,made in 1968 and revised in 1977, begins with a medium shot of a grassy picnic scene in Chicago. The camera zooms backward, moving away from the earth to show the contours of the city, then the planet, then the Milky Way, until we are 1 million light years away. The camera then zooms speedily back to its starting point, continuing into the interior of a man’s body and into the molecular world. The film is riveting as you sense the rush of weightless travel while trying to comprehend the vast immensity of space and time. Other films include abstract visual explorations like Blacktop (1952), which focuses on the movement of water across pavement, and lovely personal essays such as House: After Five Years of Living (1955), featuring a series of photographs that gradually reveal details of domestic life. With “The Eames Film Festival,” furniture store Design Within Reach pays homage to this seminal work by screening seven Eames shorts showcasing the pair’s contributions to filmmaking and design. Design Within Reach, 8070 Beverly Blvd., L.A.; Thurs., Sept. 28, 7 p.m. (323) 653-3751.

—Holly Willis

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