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Mau – Hot Docs 2021

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Bruce presents his philosophy about the world of design in Mau. Over the course of his career, Bruce Mau has come to be known as not only one of the Earth's great designers, but also one of the world's great thinkers. Believing that you have the power to redesign your life, Mau shares his key design principles and a general sense of optimism about the future. From coming up with new slogans for Coca-Cola to designing the future of Mecca, Bruce Mau's projects have revolutionized traditional approaches to design.

Directed by Benji and Jono Bergmann, Mau is a portrait of a man who came from humble beginnings in Sudbury, Ontario to become one of the foremost figures in the world of design, beginning with “S,M,L,XL“, the “design bible” he wrote in 1995 with Rem Koolhaas. The bulk of the film depicts Bruce Mau against a white backdrop, giving what can be seen as the equivalent to a TED Talk lecture about his philosophy behind the world of design. This is accompanied by a look back at the many projects Bruce Mau has partaken in, ranging from the “Guate Amala” social movement in Guatemala or his exhibition Massive Change, which explores the future of global design.

I'm going to jump right to the point about my thoughts on Mau. If you have any interest in either Bruce Mau or the general world of design, then I am sure this film will be a fascinating and interesting watch. However, for everyone else, Mau comes across like a university lecture that you are forced to sit through. While I'm sure Bruce Mau's contributions to the world of design have been quite substantial, however, it is honestly not a subject that really interests me.

Mau is streaming as part of the 2021 Hot Docs Film Festival, with a Big Ideas live-streamed Q&A on Wednesday, May 5, 2021, at 7:00 PM


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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
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