City of Dreams

Marion Mahony and Walter Burley Griffin were a husband-and-wife team of architects born in Chicago who trained under Frank Lloyd Wright and whose fame in Australia was assured when they won a 1912 international competition to design the nation's capital city, Canberra. This routine documentary affords some basic biographical information about the pair, who went on to design the spectacular Sydney harbor suburb of Castlecrag. Underwhelming effort is a thin festival item but will be of interest to historians and architecture buffs when screened on the small screen.

Marion Mahony and Walter Burley Griffin were a husband-and-wife team of architects born in Chicago who trained under Frank Lloyd Wright and whose fame in Australia was assured when they won a 1912 international competition to design the nation’s capital city, Canberra. This routine documentary affords some basic biographical information about the pair, who went on to design the spectacular Sydney harbor suburb of Castlecrag. Underwhelming effort is a thin festival item but will be of interest to historians and architecture buffs when screened on the small screen.

Director and co-writer Belinda Mason employs often loosely related archival material, vintage home movies and, less successfully, re-enacted scenes. Actors Merridy Eastman and Jeremy Sims portray the couple in dramatized segs, and a bunch of rather gloomy on-camera academics provide dry commentary on the importance of the pair. Pic pays particular attention to Mahony, who has enjoyed a far lesser profile than her husband. She is here described as the world’s first woman architect. Technical credits are all fine.

City of Dreams

Australia

Production: A Film Australia production, in association with the Australian Broadcasting Corp. (International sales: Film Australia, Sydney.) Produced by Gaby Mason. Executive producers, Mark Hamlyn, Dasha Ross. Directed by Belinda Mason. Screenplay, Belinda and Gaby Mason.

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