Play Time (1967) by Jacques Tati is a relatively unknown movie. It is a highly sophisticated visual comedy more than two hours long with nearly no dialogue, which probably explains why it was not a big success at the box office. However, the film is the best criticism of modern society that I have ever seen, and is still very relevant today. It is also a sharp criticism on modern architecture, both capturing the ideals of modernism and pointing at its delusiveness.
Tag Archive 'urbanism'
Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959) directed by Alain Resnais is an emblematic film of the French New Wave. Its opening scene showing images of Hiroshima after the atomic bomb is narrated by Emmanuelle Riva, her voice delivering with great sensitivity the screenplay of Marguerite Duras. I could not stop thinking about my study on the appropriation of space when I saw the movie. The female character is from Nevers, a small town in France. The male character lives in Hiroshima, where they met. There is a feeling of placelessness during the whole movie; the past of Hiroshima “had to be forgotten” and the couple seems to be lost in a city without any apprehensible meaning. The two characters are unrooted, they move from one place to another without care and all the settings look impersonal and interchangeable. The paradox is that the film is undeniably about places, described in great details, but from the point of view of painful detachment…
The Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum in Köln recently gave a series of lectures in the context of its Afropolis exhibition. I had the opportunity to attend one of them: “Envisaging New Urban Futures for Kinshasa” presented by Professor Filip de Boeck. It turned out to be somehow connected to a paper I wrote recently, and in which I defend a nomadic relation to space.