The year was 1950. Madhubala and Dilip Kumar were all the craze, Nehru’s socioeconomic development was well underway, and India was finally settling after decades of instability, conflict and suppression. It’s also the year that Punjab was faced with an imperative post-partition question: what will the state’s new capital look like? The planned city of Chandigarh would stand for newly imagined ideas of democracy, progress, and faith in the future.
Architects from the West were called upon – first Albert Mayer, and then the Swiss-French architect Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, also known as Le Corbusier.
Le Corbusier’s vision for Chandigarh is explored in this critically acclaimed documentary, The Power of Utopia: Living with Le Corbusier in Chandigarh. Directed by Swiss filmmakers, Karin Bucher and Thomas Karrer, this film explores the state of contemporary Chandigarh – the paragon of Le Corbusier’s architectural imagination.
This documentary has been previously featured at ADFF New York, Toronto, the Film and Architecture Festival Prague, Czech Republic (2023), the Architecture Film Festival Rotterdam, The Netherlands (2023), Architecture & Design Film Festival, USA & Canada (2023/2024), and even won the “Best Film” Award at the Venice Architecture Film Festival, Italy (2023).
About the Film
The Power of Utopia celebrates the 70th anniversary of Le Corbusier’s Chandigarh, through a cinematic deep-dive by Karin Bucher and Thomas Karrer. By accompanying residents on their journeys through the city, the film seeks out settings and scenes that reveal the inspiring interplay of the utopian and the everyday. Celebrated artists, actors, architects, performers, and even the Le Corbusier Centre’s director, all contemplate on their life in the nation’s best planned city. Residents also offer their valuable insights as the film traverses daily life that has evolved around the Centre.
Go to www.thepowerofutopie.com, for the film in German, French and English.
About the Filmmakers
Thomas Karrer has spent the last 30 years making numerous video portraits and short documentaries for educational institutions, non-profit organisations, museums, cantons and municipalities, as well as for the online platforms of the University of St. Gallen. His first cinema documentary Zwischenwelten had its world premiere at the Solothurn Film Festival in 2020 and enjoyed great success in Switzerland despite pandemic restrictions.
Karin Bucher has been developing exhibition and theatre projects as a freelance scenographer since 2002 for renowned cultural institutions, theatres and museums. This also includes free site-specific projects such as audio walks, theatrical tours and installation exhibitions in collaboration with creative artists from all disciplines. With Thomas Karrer she has realised a wide variety of film projects, most recently the cinema documentary “TWILIGHT ZONES“.
The film’s protagonists are local cultural workers: artists Diwãn Mãnnã and G.S. Channi, architects SD Sharma, Deepika Gandhi and Siddhartha Wig, along with Narinder Singh, printmaker Manjot Kaur, dancer Navtej Singh Johar, advocate Manmohan Sarin & Bharat B Sharma, and restaurant owner Sudhir Talwar. Together, they contemplate on how their contemporary urban life in Chandigarh is sustained by Le Corbusier’s vision and meticulous planning.
The film screening and panel talk are scheduled for the ID Symposium in collaboration with
Join us for the screening at the 12th India Design ID Symposium,
When: from 15-18 February 2024
Where: NSIC Grounds, Okhla, New Delhi.