An insightful docu that brings modern architecture alive even for non-professionals, “The Line: Lucio Costa and the Modern Utopia” sketches the career of one of Brazil’s loftiest architects and urban planners. Costa, the designer behind the futuristic capital city, Brasilia, drew upon the talent of great contemporary architect Oscar Niemeyer when he perceived the latter’s work was better than his own. This respectful bio, containing interviews with Costa, Niemeyer and others, also incorporates Super-8 footage shot by Costa himself, making it invaluable for modern art shows. Colloquial style also fits upscale TV programmers.
Opening and closing on the 1960 inauguration of Brasilia, Costa’s masterpiece of urban design, the film immediately dives into his personal life with his emotional account of the car accident that killed his wife. Film clearly explains how he interpreted European modernism (primarily the work of Le Corbusier) in Brazil, anchoring his designs in the natural environment as he sought an architectural language for his time. Costa humbly notes his failures, concluding that “social and architectural renewal are not the same thing, as we believed.” Caca Machado’s musical comment is subtle and sensitive.