Award-winning independent filmmaker Tom Weidlinger discusses his extraordinary family biography, The Restless Hungarian: Modernism, Madness, and the American Dream. A revolutionary, a genius, and a haunted man . . . The story of the architect-engineer Paul Weidlinger, whose colleagues called him "The Wizard," spans the rise of modern architecture, the Holocaust, and the Cold War. The revelation of hidden Jewish identity propels the author to trace his father's life and adventures across three continents.
A Hungarian Jew whose inquiring spirit helped him to escape the Holocaust, Paul Weidlinger became one of the most creative structural engineers of the twentieth century. As a young architect, he broke ranks with the great modernists with his radical idea of the "Joy of Space." As an engineer, he created the strength behind the beauty in mid-century modern skyscrapers, churches, museums, and he gave concrete form to the eccentric monumental sculptures of Pablo Picasso, Isamu Noguchi, and Jean Dubuffet.
In his private life, he was a divided man, living behind a wall of denial as he lost his family to war, mental illness, and suicide. In telling his father's story, the author sifts meaning from the inspiring and contradictory narratives of a life: a motherless child and a captain of industry, a clandestine communist who designed silos for the world's deadliest weapons during the Cold War, a Jewish refugee who denied he was a Jew, a husband who was terrified of his wife's madness, and a man whose personal saints were artists.