Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
21 May 2009
What is industrial design? How do inanimate objects invoke emotional responses? What makes good design? Do we really need more things? What about the environment?
In interviews with a star-studded cast of designers (including the legendary Dieter Rams and the elusive Jonathan Ive), this film attempts to address those questions. Does it have a clear message? Not so much. In the post-screening Q&A session at the Boston premiere, director Gary Hustwit acknowledged that his goal was to raise as many questions as he answers—this is a film for thinking people. As with his previous documentary, Helvetica , the propulsive force of Objectified is the passion of the designers. This energy, woven together with superbly shot B-roll footage and a pleasantly unusual electronic and indie rock soundtrack, makes a remarkable and enjoyable film.
Hustwit was completely at ease on stage. His answers to questions were witty and well-considered, but I most appreciated learning the secret of his interview technique: his enthusiasm for the subject closely matches that of his interviewees. I can’t wait for the unveiling of the still-secret third film of his “design trilogy.” Until then: go watch Objectified!