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Screen Online
Film as Film
Sense of Place
Evocation of Place
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Urban film expresses the experience of living in the built world, in the city.

The spread of industrialism and the way this affects the movement of people and nature through the city is expressed in urban filmmaking. It has at its base an aesthetic derived from the industrial as opposed to the pastoral. It often in fact employs ironically the landscape filmmaker's approaches. For instance, Emily Richardson's Nocturne records the mysterious changes of light which transform nightime urban backstreets pointing up in the absence of daylight, the manmade aesthetic of the city.

Urban film also suggests something of the layering of experience in the city. An urban aesthetic has evolved which looks at beauty in alternative places and with the portability of the camera has concentrated on parts of the city caught in the side ways glances of alley ways, back doors and roof spaces. This is filmmaking about navigation and control and about uncovering the layering of meaning inscribed in the cityscape. Ian Bourn's Alfred Hitchcock for instance, brings the glamour of film down to earth as he tours the sites of Hitchcock's early locations in the back of a London taxicab.

Patrick Keiller's films London and Robinson in Space give us a disquieting close up of Britain's capital through the eyes of one of its dissidents. Keiller's eye for detail reveals over-looked aspects of the city during the last dark days of the Conservative government in the 1990s. With films such as Guerrillere Talks, London Suite and New York Conversations, Vivienne Dick creates a no less dystopian but affectionate portrait of urban living through the voices and lives of her friends. Nashashibi's portrait of the life of a Palestinian family shows us a different face of Nazareth in Hreash House, whilst Sutapa Biswas' camera in the double screen Remembrance of Things Past observes the crowded streets and traffic of Toronto, focusing on a bus of school children as they drive away.

Still from Alfred Hitchcock

Alfred Hitchcock

An oblique ode to Hitchcock as a car journey through the part of London where he was born.

Still from Robinson in Space


Patrick Keiller's extraordinary portrait of London re-imagines the city through the explorations of an unseen 'researcher' Robinson and his similarly unseen companion.

Still from Robinson in Space

Robinson in Space

A study of England's economic and cultural geography as suggested by Daniel Defoe's Tour through the Whole Island of Great Britain

Still from Guerrillere Talks

Guerrillere Talks

Guerillere Talks consists of eight unedited rolls of super-8 sound footage.

Still from London Suite

London Suite

London's cultural diversity unfolds as Vivienne Dick portrays her friends, their lifestyles, what they talk about and how they talk.

Still from New York Conversations

New York Conversations

A documentary which is about returning to the city after a 10 year absence.

Still from Remembrance of Things Past

Remembrance of Things Past

Shot in the harbour of Toronto, the subject of the work is drawn from a rather uncanny moment / event that the artist witnessed in 2002.

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