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Icarus Film
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Films & DVDs on Urban Studies  Text Size Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size
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    B

  • Beijing Besieged by WasteBeijing Besieged by Waste - Wang Jiu-liang travels to more than 500 landfills, documenting Beijing's unholy cycle of consumption.

  • C

  • Caught in the Crossfire - Chronicles three diverse Arab New Yorkers - a beat cop, a minister, and a high-level diplomatic correspondent - as they wrestle with their place in wartime America.

  • Come Hell or High Water - When the graves of former slaves are bulldozed in Mississippi, a native son returns to protect the community they settled.

  • Cul de Sac - An allegory for a working class suburb in decline, this film investigates the story of Shawn Nelson, who stole a tank and went on a rampage through the residential streets of Clairemont, CA.

  • D

  • DisorderDisorder - Footage from a dozen amateur videographers becomes a symphony of urban social dysfunction in China.

  • Downtown Dream - Five people in a Rust Belt town struggle to reinvent their lives and their dreams in contemporary America.

  • Dreaming of a Tree House - An exploration of the design and philosophy behind a 20 year-old experimental, ecological collective housing project in the center of Berlin.

  • E

  • Electric Signs - Explores the effects of new screen-based advertising sign systems on urban environments and public space.

  • F

  • Finally Got the NewsFinally Got the News - A film about the League of Revolutionary Black Workers, which was, "in many respects the most significant expression of black radical thought and activism in the 1960s." - Manning Marable, Prof. of History, Columbia Univ.

  • Floating - Yang is a 30-year-old itinerant singer with a complicated love life, illegally busking in China's big cities, trying to evade the authorities. Which he does, for a while...

  • Futures Market - A visual essay on cultural memory, urban space, and real estate speculation.

  • G

  • Grand Paris - French President Nicolas Sarkozy wants to turn Paris into the model super-metropolis for the 21st century, and plenty of world-class architects would like the job.

  • Great Expectations - A journey through the history of visionary architecture, a survey of the most significant architectural movements of the 20th century that challenged conventional concepts.

    H

  • The Homestretch - Three homeless teens in Chicago fight to stay in school, graduate, and build a future.

  • Homo Sapiens - Abandoned landscapes of urban decay portend an ominous future in this wordless documentary.

  • The Human Scale - According to revolutionary Danish architect and urban planner Jan Gehl, if we are to make cities sustainable and livable for people, we must re-imagine the very foundations of modern urban planning.

  • K

  • Kochuu - A visually stunning film about modern Japanese architecture, its roots in Japanese tradition, and their relationships to modernist Scandinavian design. With two Pritzker Prize winners, Tadao Ando and Sverre Fehn.

  • L

  • La Sierra - Tracing a year in the life of a neighborhood in Medellin, Colombia ruled by a paramilitary gang, this is a searing exploration of three lives defined by years of overwhelming violence.

  • Lagos / Koolhaas - Renowned architect Rem Koolhaas and students from The Harvard Project on the City explore Lagos, Nigeria, interpreting the chaotic city in an innovative, surprising way.

  • Le Joli Mai - Chris Marker and Pierre Lhomme's legendary portrait of Paris and Parisians at the close of the Algerian war.

  • Living With The PastLiving With The Past - Cairo is one of the few medieval cities in the world that remains relatively intact. This a portrait of Darb al-Ahmar, a neighborhood in the old city now facing a process of radical change.

  • Long Story Short - Over 100 people at homeless shelters, food banks, and job training centers discuss their experiences of poverty.

  • Lost Rivers - Explore the growing movement and innovative projects around the world to uncover once-buried urban waterways.

  • M

  • Madrid - Chilean filmmaker Patricio Guzman's new film, an intimate and sentimental visit to the Spanish capital.

  • Malls R UsMalls R Us - From impressive architectural projects to economic, environmental and social concerns, everything about shopping malls, and more.

  • Meishi Street - Ordinary citizens take a stand against the planned destruction of their homes to make way forthe 2008 Beijing Olympics.

  • Metal and Melancholy - Roving the city of Lima, Peru, Heddy Honigmann meets teachers, actors, professionals, civil servants and many others who have turned to taxi driving to earn enough to get by.

  • Middletown - This classic series, created by Emmy and Academy Award winner Peter Davis, explores both the continuity and the change embodied in the people and institutions of one Midwestern community: Muncie, Indiana.

  • Moi, Un NoirMoi, Un Noir - In this landmark documentary, Jean Rouch collaborates with his subjects to produce a complex portrait of Nigerien migrants in Abidjan, Cote D'Ivoire.

  • N

  • No Loans Today - Fringe banking in redlined, post-riot South Central Los Angeles.

  • Nostalgia - Acclaimed filmmaker Shu Haolun explores the culture and history of his Shanghai neighborhood upon its impending destruction.

  • P

  • Portraits of America - Natalie Bookchin is an artist and filmmaker who, through virtuosic editing and innovative sonic and visual montage, interrogates the American crisis and its increased inequality and polarization.

  • R

  • Red Hook JusticeRed Hook Justice - Profiles an innovative court in a Brooklyn neighborhood plagued by poverty and crime that is at the center of a legal revolution - the community justice movement.

  • Regular or Super - A lovely introduction to Mies van der Rohe, one of the 20th century's most influential architects, and a stimulating examination of modernism and urban environments.

  • S

  • San Yuan Li - Armed with video cameras, twelve artists present a highly stylized portrait of SAN YUAN LI, a traditional village besieged by China's urban sprawl.

  • Seventeen - A group of high school seniors hurtles toward maturity with a combination of joy, despair, and an aggravated sense of urgency.

  • Six Films by Nikolaus GeyrhalterSix Films by Nikolaus Geyrhalter - Geyrhalter’s films are nothing short of startling works of art.

  • Street Life - The hidden lives of homeless migrants who survive in the shadows of one of Shanghai's most affluent and historic streets.

  • T

  • Taking Back Detroit - In the '70s and early '80s Detroit was the site of an unusual development in U.S. urban politics, as voters elected two socialists to citywide office. The film examines these people against the backdrop of a city in extreme economic crisis.

  • Tighten Your Belts, Bite the Bullet - The 1970s fiscal crises in New York and Cleveland.

  • To Be SeenTo Be Seen - A lively study of visual culture, and an exploration of an age-old urban cultural phenomenon, street art. What is art's role in the context of public space and urban culture?

More Films & DVDs on Urban Studies
  • The Case of the Grinning Cat - In his newest film, French cinema-essayist Chris Marker reflects on French and international politics, art and culture at the start of the new millennium.

  • Celso and Cora - A young couple and their two children living in a squatter settlement in the Philippines' capital, Manila.

  • China Concerto - An observational essay about public spectacles in contemporary China.

  • Constant, Avant le Depart - Filmed shortly before Constant Nieuwenhuys' death, this is an intimate glimpse into the life and work of the painter, urban theorist, and influential member of the European avant-garde.

  • Cycling the Frame - A quirky 1988 documentary in which Tilda Swinton tours the circumference of the Berlin Wall on a bicycle.

  • The End of the Nightstick - An eye-opening investigation of institutional racism, brutality, and coverups in Chicago's police department.

  • Guns & Mothers - The contentious debate over gun control, as seen through the eyes of two mothers on opposite sides of the issue.

  • In the Mind of the Architect - From Modernist ideas through the eccentricities of Postmodernism, this 3-part series is an investigation into the eclectic world of architects and their creations.

  • Keeping It Real - A philosophical but often comic investigation of the desire for truly "authentic" experiences, and how the new "experience economy" packages and sells them.

  • Magnitogorsk - The fortunes of three generations living in the shadow of Russia's most breathtaking industrial project of the 1930s. The film was inspired by Joris Ivens'Song of the Heroes. (from the January, 1998 Catalog Supplement)

  • Mayan Voices: American Lives - Contrasts the experiences of Mayan families who came to Indiantown, Florida as refugees fleeing the violence in Guatemala in the early 1980s, with the struggles of those continuing to arrive in search of better lives.

  • The Other Day - Filmmaker Ignacio Aguero's gentle exploration of home, family, history and Chilean society.

  • Paris Ring - The story of the road round Paris, the most significant 'redevelopment' project in Paris since Haussmann's time.

  • Paris, 19th Century - Architectural historian Francois Loyer, an expert on 19th-century Paris, examines the foundation of the modern city in Georges-Eugene Haussmann's massive "renovation" of the 1860s.

  • Renzo Piano - An intimate working portrait of the world-renowned, non-conformist architect, designer of the Pompidou Center in Paris, the Menil Collection museum in Houston and the Kansai airport in Japan.

  • Resist - Chronicles the history and mission behind The Living Theatre, one of the most significant companies in the history of American theatre and the avant garde.

  • Robert, Mary, and Katrina - The astounding story of how one elderly couple faced and survived Hurricane Katrina. "[Their] story of struggle and survival from the wrath of Katrina grips the audience's emotions." - Educational Media Reviews Online

  • Santiago Calatrava's Travels - A fascinating portrait of world famous artist, engineer, architect and urban studies scholar Santiago Calatrava, and an interdisciplinary reflection on the perception and impact of architecture.

  • Sotsgorod: Cities For Utopia - Uncovers the secret history of Western architects who moved to the Soviet Union in the 1920s and 30s, to design the huge new industrial cities being built across Siberia and the steppes.

  • Under Construction - In Santiago, Chile, a neighbor lives through the demolition of the house next door and the construction of a large building in the same place, over a two-year period.

  • Zaire, Cycle of the Serpent - Chronicles five weeks of life in Kinshasa, revealing the disparities in the capital city's social fabric.

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