Victoria Film Festival: The Visual Language of Herbert Matter

The documentary delves into the life of Swiss-born Herbert Matter, a highly influential mid-century modern designer.

(USA/Switzerland, 2010, 78 min.) The documentary delves into the life of Swiss-born Herbert Matter, a highly influential mid-century modern designer. Through its own clever use of imagery, the film shows how Matter won international acclaim for his pioneering use of photo-montage.

The film may not be for those without an acute interest in commercial design or the use of photography and design in earlier days. Although it shows how Matter was both pioneering and avant garde in his use of graphic and photographic elements through images of his work and interviews, it begins at a snail’s pace, with narrative that borders on becoming monotonous.

Fortunately, the pace soon picks up and the viewer is whisked away to the 1939 World’s Fair for which Matter designed the Swiss pavilion. Interviews with Matter’s son Alex and graphic designers John T. Hill and Jessica Helfand, both students of Matter, give both life and depth to the man, who by all accounts was quiet and introspective.

7:15 p.m. Feb. 7, Capitol 6 Theatre