Hot Docs 2021: “Mau”

Rating: 4 out of 5.

We know things yet may not know their true names. We want changes but may not be able to define precisely what. We see the beauty around us yet don’t understand the true meaning behind it. The life we live, we expect it to improve. But do we do something about it?

From directors Benji Bergmann and Jono Bergmann, “MAU” is about a famous designer Bruce Mau, his life, career and astonishing achievements. He is an educator and philosopher who looks at his art and his way of creating his design through a vision only known to him. With unique charisma, intelligence and approach to his work, Mau opens up about his difficult childhood and shares his profound thought on why “Designers see the world upside down – the bigger the problem, the bigger the opportunity,” as he provides a detailed explanation for all of us to learn.

When the film opens, whether you are interested in subject matter, in art or design altogether, the creative approach of filmmakers (as if they were competing with Mau’s genius mind) will grab your attention instantly. It starts with Bruce Mau opening up about his father, who happened to be extremely violent. However, despite the struggles in childhood and youth, he somehow finds his voice and prevails over misfortune.

After that, it gets straight to the most important part – who Mau is, his work and why his designs are so different. In his own words, he provides a master class through this documentary, almost like you are a pupil who must follow every piece of advice given by the teacher. From creating Coca Cola’s global sustainability platform to rethinking Mecca’s long-standing plan to improve, helping Guatemala to redesign its social movement to helping MoMA to get a better design, Mau’s work is like an anthem for every designer who wants to learn the craft in the only way possible – to see the world the same way as Mau – upside down.

The documentary itself is so entertaining you won’t find yourself bored. It has so much interesting detailed information you will probably be busy taking notes every time Mau has something important to say. Through this film, Bruce Mau connects with his audience and interacts with them by helping create a connection through the small or big screen. More importantly, after watching it, you will try to redesign your day, if not life itself. Because after “Mau” is over, you will never be the same.

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