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Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman

  NR HD Closed Captioning

Eric Bricker

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Plot Summary

Narrated by Dustin Hoffman, VISUAL ACOUSTICS celebrates the life and career of Julius Shulman, the world's greatest architectural photographer, whose images brought modern architecture to the American mainstream. Shulman captured the work of nearly every major modern and progressive architect since the 1930s including Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard Neutra, John Lautner and Frank Gehry. His images epitomized the singular beauty of Southern California's modernist movement and brought its iconic structures to the attention of the general public. This unique film is both a testament to the evolution of modern architecture and a joyful portrait of the magnetic, whip-smart gentleman who chronicled it with his unforgettable images.

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews


  • Reviews Counted: 17
  • Fresh: 16
  • Rotten: 1
  • Average Rating: 7.0/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Fresh: Architecture aficionados, and design mavens in general, will have an agreeable time with Visual Acoustics. – Andy Webster, New York Times, Jun 24, 2010

Fresh: Visual Acoustics is nominally about the life and career of landmark Southern California architectural photographer Julius Shulman, but it's more about the buildings he photographed than it is about him. Which is probably the way he'd like it. – Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times, Jun 24, 2010

Fresh: Just about everyone in Eric Bricker's festschrift seems to love Julius Shulman, including (adorably) the unstoppable old gent himself. What's not to like? – Ella Taylor, Village Voice, Jun 24, 2010

Fresh: The Shulman we see is a man of sharp humor, with an ego to match some of the architects he worked for. He's been slowed down by time, but relishes all the attention lavished on him as a living master. – Walter V. Addiego, San Francisco Chronicle, Jun 24, 2010

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews

Oh, the wonderful world you see though Julius Shulman's eyes.

Eric Bricker's glowing portrait of Shulman uses its subject's photos to persuade the viewer that one picture is worth a thousand architectural masterworks. This is great! This is fascinating!!

Interesting documentary, but flawed....

There's no doubt that Julius Shulman is an outstanding photographer and that he's a very engaging storyteller. For a man in his mid 90's when this was filmed (if I'm correct), he has a fabulous memory for all the details of the various shoots he did and the interaction with all the legendary architects who's work he photographed so beautifully. And there's the rub. He's the subject of this film because of all the beautiful photographs he made.... but the photographs are never shown in any detail in the film! Most are on the screen in a rolling filmstrip, never longer than 3 seconds, so it's impossible to connect the images to the stories he's telling unless you're very familiar with his work. On one set of images there's a bizarre cartoon of a photographer, or I suppose it's Shulman, marching across the images for some unknown reason. All in all it's an interesting film, but I really think Shulman's images are the main event and they should have been given more respect and featured more.

Julius Shulman is a Genius

His images defined an era. His eye for composition is perfect. His work and vision is so relevant you can't speak of it tne the past-tense!

Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman
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  • $9.99
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Released: 2008

Customer Ratings