Between the Folds

27 January 2012 in Reviews


We’ve been checking out a decent amount of movies over the past month or so. Some good. Some bad. Some terrible. But others amazing. Between the Folds falls under the amazing category. This PBS documentary explores the world of origami exposing a bountifully diverse art form, an dynamic educational tool, and an astonishing basis for some unexpected scientific theories.

We were mildly aware of the leaps and bounds origami had made since the slightly abstract paper birds and frogs we made in our youth. We had seen some of the amazingly detailed figures, with impossibly intricate folds, but this was just the tip of the iceberg. An iceberg that contained almost every avenue of traditional art. There were fantastical renderings of trolls and other whimsical characters so finely crafted one could hardly tell they were made of paper. There were highly complex geometric structures that could be pushed, pulled and prodded transforming them into new structures or setting them in an automated motion of metamorphosis. There was even an exploration of abstract origami exploring the possibilities of a self-imposed single fold limit. And this is only naming a few. If I had one complaint regarding the film it would be that it didn’t spend enough time on any of the various forms or individuals exploring these forms.

The film proceeded beyond the world of art and into the realm of education. Here it displayed how origami was being used in Israel to help students learn geometry. The results were astounding. But it makes perfect sense. You’re providing students with lessons that are fun, hands on, and educational. They’re almost not aware of the lesson they are learning as it seeps into their subconscious. They are left with a project—and lesson—that they will repeat outside of the classroom for the sheer feeling of enjoyment and accomplishment they get from reproducing these paper figures.

But the most unexpected avenue of exploration was in the field of science. I won’t go into too much detail—you’ll have to see the film for yourself—but a young genius theorizes the possible uses for origami in the field of disease treatments amongst others. He is a very interesting individual who combines the intelligence of a genius with the curiosity and creativity of a child to develop and explore some very interesting theories in a wide of array of fields of study.

Lindsay and I would both highly recommend this film to anyone with an interest in origami, art, math, education, or science. Or anyone who enjoys staring in agape bewilderment and struggling to wrap their brain around how people convert a flat, dull piece of paper into an astoundingly complex figure or structure merely by folding.

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27 January 2012 Reviews

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