For the past two decades Didi Contractor has been passionately implementing her architectural visions in North West of India combining rural traditions with modern requirements. This poetic documentary introduces us to her creations – houses built from clay, bamboo, slate and river stone, constructed in tribute to their natural surroundings.

„Didi Contractor – Marrying the Earth to the Building“
a film by Steffi Giaracuni

Trailer

SYNOPSIS

For the past two decades Didi Contractor has been passionately implementing her architectural visions in North West of India, the Kangra Valley, at the foot hills of the Himalayas combining rural traditions with modern requirements. This poetic documentary introduces us to her creations – houses built from clay, bamboo, slate and river stone, constructed in tribute to their natural surroundings.

At the age of 86, Didi Contractor pursues her vision working day and night – dreaming her designs then designing her dreams. She sketches roughly, then proportions with pinpoint accuracy – the blueprints for economically and ecologically sustainable, bright and well-ventilated buildings.

We meet people who live in the visions realized by Didi Contractor and share in their enthusiasm to carry forward her fascinating ideas. Students from all over the world come to learn traditional building practices and find out how architecture can become a part of the ecosystem.

„Landscaping is really a key to this thing of marrying the earth to the building. There is a deeper connection which should than strengthen our own connection.“

Didi Contractor

ABOUT DIDI CONTRACTOR

Didi Contractor was born in 1929 in America. Her German father, Edmund Kinzinger, and American mother, Alice Fish Kinzinger, were both Expressionist painters, associated with Bauhaus group of the 1920s. Although she always felt drawn towards architecture, she studied art. As a young woman coming to adulthood in the middle of the twentieth century, she was not encouraged to study architecture.

In 1951, she met a young man from India and fell in love with him. They married and Didi Contractor happily set out to begin a new life in distant India with her husband, Narayan Contractor, a Hindu student of civil engineering. They raised a family and Didi immersed herself in her new home and its cultural patterns, turning her training in art to design and architecture.

INTERVIEWEES

DIRECTOR’s STATEMENT

For the past 20 years, Didi Contractor has been building in adobe, addressing herself to such complex challenges, as climate and cultural change, the energy crisis and pollution, while opposing conventional roles, persistent paradigms of colonial history and modernization along Western lines.
I am thrilled by her architectural vision, admire her ideals, her bravery and strength of character, and want to explore her creative ideas, which differ from everything that I had assumed in my life so far.
Her houses are convincing evidence of a possible alternative way of life. In order to understand how daily decisions can influence our environment,

For the length of a film, in the darkness of a movie theater, I would like to take the audience through the fascinating world of Didi Contractor and with this film I would like to inspire people to explore and to support their own unusual imaginative ideas.

– Steffi Giaracuni

FESTIVALS

CineEco Seia 2018 – Festival Internacional de Cinema Ambiental da Serra da Estrela

Film and Architecture 2018  – Festival filmů o architektuře a urbanismu, Prague

CINETEKTON! 2018 – Festival Internacional de Cine y Arquitectur

NaturVision Filmfestival Ludwigsburg 2018

FIFA 2018 – 36e Festival International du Film sur l’Art / International Festival of Films on Art

ALIIF 2017 – All Lights India International Film Festival

Kasseler Dokumentarfilm- und Videofest 2017

BIFED 2017 – Bozcaada International Festival of Ecological Documentary

AFFR – Architecture Film Festival 2017 – “film • city • architecture

Fünf Seen Festival – Filmreihe ODEON 2017

CayFilm 2017 – Cayman Islands International Film Festival

Deauville Green Awards 2017
(International Festival for Audio-visual Productions on sustainability and eco-innovations)
SILVER AWARD in the category “Health and living environment

10. LICHTER Filmfest Frankfurt International, 2017

11th International Film Festival on Art & Artists / Focus: Architecture, Bhubaneswar, 2017

5th Dharamshala International Film Festival, 2016