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Radical Attitutudes: The Architecture of Douglas Cardinal

One glance at any of Douglas Cardinal’s architectural achievements, and ‘radical’ is no exaggeration. Get set for an hour’s worth of the most stunning architecture that any Canadian architect has ever produced.

Director Jim Hamm and writer PJ Reece have created a remarkable 45 - minute story of an outsider artist struggling against the establishment to change the course of architectural history. Here is a program rich in graphic images on the one hand, and a compelling human story on the other. Taken separately or together, Radical Attitudes is a memorable testimony to one man’s courage.

Douglas Cardinal is one of Canada’s most iconoclastic architects and philosophers of architectural space. That his ancestry is part First Nations should explain why he was forced from the get-go to think outside the box. This documentary follows his controversial career – from bursting onto the architectural scene in the mid 1960s with his radically curvilinear St. Mary’s Church in Red Deer, to an unparalleled architectural controversy over the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian that continues to unfold within the shadow of the American Capitol in Washington, D.C.

No other architect has so boldly expressed in brick and mortar, his attitudes and approach to life. Cardinal’s language is ‘organic’, and his particular dialect, ‘curvilinear’. While detractors have a hard time digesting his architectural statements, Cardinal might say that, for fast and efficient relief, they need only look to Nature, and to our Canadian landscape in particular.

Cardinal’s Canadian Museum of Civilization in Hull, Quebec, best reflects the spiritual liaison he has with the land. In Cardinal’s own words:

“It speaks of the emergence of this continent, its forms sculpted by the winds, the rivers, the glaciers. It speaks of the emergence of man from the melting glaciers, of men and women living harmoniously and evolving with the forces of nature.”

Douglas Cardinal has raised eyebrows and tempers. Along the way he has also raised the bar of excellence and innovation in the world of architecture. Any film on Cardinal, therefore, contains more than one story. While it celebrates art in architecture and spirit of place, it can’t help but be a story of an outsider who has had to fight for his radical designs every inch of the way.

Radical Attitudes received the Leo Award for Best Documentary – Arts / Performing Arts, celebrating excellence in British Columbia film and television.

Key Credits:
Producer & Director – Jim Hamm
Writer - PJ Reece
Editor - Deane Bennett
Cinematographer - Mark Edwards
Narrator - Tom Butler
Music Composer - Anne Leader

Corporate Credits:
Produced by Jim Hamm Productions Ltd., in association with Bravo Canada, a division of CHUM Ltd., Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, Knowledge Network, Saskatchewan Communications Network and Canadian Learning Television. Produced with the participation of the CTF: Licence Fee Program, Canadian Heritage: Canadian Studies Program, Canwest Western Independent Producers Fund, Canadian Museum Of Civilization, Canadian Film and Video Tax Credit and Film Incentive BC. © 2004 Closed Captioned

For further information and Home Video sales contact:
Jim Hamm Productions Ltd.
P.O. Box 211, Bowser, B.C. V0R 1G0, Canada
(778) 424-1110

Libraries, Organizations, Educational Institutions contact:
Moving Images Distribution
606-402 West Pender St, Vancouver BC V6B 1T6
(604) 684-3014

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** photo to the left is by Wayne Cuddington

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