CIFF - The Infinite Happiness

How can architecture affect our psyche and the way we live?  These are questions poised by Paris-based artists turned filmmakers Beka&Partners, Ila Bêka and Louise Lemoine, who since 2005 have used cinema as a way of exploring architecture.  The 85 minute movie playing at the 51st annual Chicago Film Festival features the 8 House in Copenhagen, so-called because of its shape.  About 500 residents live in the sort of social experiment/modern commune which features everything from a volunteer handyman to on-site butcher, complete with their own cattle farm, to a restaurant and a blind piano tuner.  Approximately 20 short stories from various residents including a child's birthday party complete with haunted treasure hunt, to a family who leave their doors wide open to show the safety of the building, and a dog who befriended the crew and gently challenged the filmmakers to a game of fetch.  Some of the downsides to the seeming social utopia are the many birds who get injured or even die after flying into the building's glass walls, and one resident who showed the never-ending parade of tourists, approximately 1700, that would pass by his house marvelling at the architecture and view.  The stress this caused lead him to have a heart attack and is now moving out of the 8 building.  "The Infinite Happiness" is a charming, insightful and thought-provoking film which through its many microcosms shows the overall view of how architecture affects how we think, the way we live our lives and also how it can be even be deadly (to animals).  One of the film's drawbacks is a lack of depth, however, as is the problem when showing many short stories instead of having a main protagonist in a documentary.  Still, it will be sure to please audiences and those who watch it won't walk away disappointed.  

Rating: 4/5