M.C Escher himself once said “I fear that there is only one person in the world who could make a really good movie about my prints: myself”. My reckoning is that this film gets as close as possible, converting the visionary graphic artist into symbolic director, and exploring his artistic universe through his own eyes. Based on a myriad of personal documents from the artist’s own pen, Robin Lutz’s documentary was another goodie on the NZIFF circuit.
Narrated in first person by Stephen Fry, we hear Escher’s internal musings on his life, family, love, politics, and his constant pursuit of wonder, topped with a sometimes excessive dose of self-criticism. Including interviews with two of Escher’s sons, and musician Graham Nash, throughout the film a peculiar man emerges from the shadows of a hermetic lifestyle.
The camera takes us to the places that were of great inspiration to Escher. A 1922 visit to the Alhambra was his induction into the world of geometric Islamic tiles, igniting his mania with the idea of expressing endlessness in a limited plane. From this, the father of modern tessellations was born.
Admittedly some of the editing is a bit naff and reminds me of a Boomer using PowerPoint transitions for the first time (no shade to my lecturers…), but I’m willing to look past: I got to see an animated version of the curl-up creature a.k.a Pedalternorotandomovens centroculatus articulosus and I’m all about it.
7 /10: Just like alt-j, M.C Escher wants to tessellate