Between the Folds (2008)
Vanessa Gould wrote, directed and produced this one-hour documentary on origami. Unlike other art forms that add (painting) or subtract material (sculpture), paper folding begins and ends with one square piece of paper, a simple flat surface, and then without any scissors, tape or glue it combines the beauty of art, the complexity of math, and the technical expertise of engineering to create almost any imaginable form, whether representational and comprised of perhaps 200 folds, or purely abstract and limited to a single fold. All paper folding, we learn, is constrained by math. It is thus a "metamorphic" art. Gould interviews many of the foremost paper folders in the world, from the "father" of the art, Akiri Yoshizawa, to Miri Golan in Israel whose origami curriculum helps students to have fun and to visualize geometry. My favorite was Erik Demaine, the youngest professor ever hired at MIT when he was 20, who folds paper for fun but also for complex applications in proteins, telescope lenses, DNA structure, and air bags in cars — all of which are folded in some way, shape or form. This film is fantastic for anyone, but it would make for a very special family film night.