It takes a particularly strong conviction for two people to entrust both their intimate and public lives to each other. “Eames: The Architect and Painter” tells a neat story of Eames design, and of untidy workplace relationships; not only of the main protagonists but also those colleagues and clients that manoeuvred around them.
The Eames office is shown as an unorthodox circus of free-flowing collaboration (“understanding is the only thing that cannot be delegated”) though we learn how Charles was unwilling to share the design-credit with his staff. His hand is presented as simultaneously paternalistic and child-like. Time is wasted on naïve experiments on films made with toys and handmade models, and major corporations are happy to work with gentleman’s agreements. Meanwhile, Ray writes detailed instructions for absolutely everything on cigarette cards, devises colour palettes and collects objects. Charles has an affair with a young academic. Ray sticks with him. Charles dies. Ray dies precisely ten years later in tribute to Charles.
I find films like this depressing. Young talented people in love survive an exhilaratingly rush to their tragic ends within the space of ninety minutes. Is life really that short?