Available Australia and New Zealand only, from 5 Sep 2023.
'The Fifth Facade' documents the history of the Opera House, from the selection of the site at Bennelong Point to the official opening. All facades are fully explored, and these exterior sequences are blended with scenes of the Opera House at work. Included are rehearsals of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, excerpts from Sam Wanamaker's production of Prokofieff's opera War and Peace and scenes from The Threepenny Opera. The structure of the film is based upon some 40 sequences showing the building's varying moods, from a grey dawn through the light and shadow and colour of a typical Sydney summer day to the blazing brilliance of the Opera house at night. The resulting documentary has been called The Fifth Facade - a reference to the roof which is the building’s most distinctive feature.
The commentary of Jorn Utzon, the Danish architect who won the worldwide competition for the original building design, offers insights into his vision for a construction appropriate to the site it occupied and the functions it was to serve. He details the unique structural and aesthetic problems that had to be solved to make his vision a reality. As Utzon says in the film, ""One could not design a building for such an exposed position without paying attention to the roof - one must have a fifth facade."
From the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia. (Stream Premiere)