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Maclean's Magazine

Brian D. Johnson
September 13, 2010 | p.g 72-74

Lightbox Fantastic

Maclean's Magazine journalist Brian D. Johnson profiles the Bell Lightbox in the September 13th issue:

"Lead architect Bruce Kuwabara’s rectilinear design is radiantly cinematic; every wall and window looks like a potential movie screen. The Lightbox may be “this ocean liner that takes up a city block,” says Kuwabara, “but TIFF wanted a building that represented the complexity of film itself, and wasn’t monolithic.” Creating open, light-filled vistas within the building became a priority. “When you come out of the cinemas,” he adds, “you should be aware of the city and the light. The building celebrates not just film, but the act of watching film.”

Angled with reflective and translucent surfaces, the ramps and staircases invite people-watching; like the festival, it’s a social network. Kuwabara says TIFF left him free to follow his vision—the architect as auteur. It was his idea to crown the roof with a cinematic conceit—an amphitheatre modelled on Capri’s Villa Malaparte in Jean-Luc Godard’s Contempt.

Amid so much talk about the death of cinema in the face of digital technology, the Lightbox lands as an epic resurrection, animating its ghosts in a carnival of new media. Two weeks ago, while test-screening his carny sideshow of projected phantoms, Guy Maddin said, “It’s just a little come-hither haunting to make people aware there’s something going on in there.” Inside the Lightbox, he has created a Hauntings exhibit made up of 11 wispy fragments of lost masterpieces—faux-vintage scenes that he filmed from scripts that were never shot, or movies that vanished."

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