The city has long been an important location for filmmakers. Visually compelling and always modern, it is the perfect metaphor for man’s place in the contemporary world.
In this provocative collection of essays, films as diverse as The Man with the Movie Camera, Annie Hall, Street of Crocodiles, Boyz N the Hood, Three Colors Red, and Crash are examined in terms of the relationship between cinema and the changing urban experience in Europe and the United States since the early twentieth century. Peter Jelavich, for example, links the suppression of the creative, liberal Weimar Berlin in the 1931 film Berlin Alexanderplatz to the rise of the Nazi regime and the end of one of the great eras of modernist experimentation in German visual culture; Jessie Labov considers Kieslowski’s treatment of the Warsaw housing blok in Dekalog in terms of Solidarity’s strategy of resisting totalitarianism in 1980s Poland; Allan Siegel examines the motif of the city in a broad range of American and international cinema to demonstrate how film and society since the 1960s have been driven by the fading of mass political radicalism and the triumph of privatization and capital; Paula Massood uses the socially illuminating theories of Mikhail Bakhtin to examine the representation of the ghetto and urban underclass in recent African-American films such as Menace II Society; and Matthew Gandy examines the focus on disease in Todd Haynes’s [Safe] as a metaphor for social and spatial breakdown in contemporary Los Angeles.
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Published March 1, 2003
Humor & Entertainment.