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City Visions: Barbican film season surveys world’s urban centres

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The changing nature of major world cities is the subject of ‘City Visions’, a series of films currently being shown at London’s Barbican Centre

Running until next Wednesday (8 October), the film programme follows last autumn’s film season ‘Urban Wandering’ which explored how London had been depicted on film.

The new series of films cover world cities as diverse as Berlin, Cairo, Istanbul, Lagos, Mexico City and Paris with both narrative and documentary films.

Robert Rider, head of cinema at the Barbican Centre said: ‘One catalyst for City Visions was an astounding statistic which I have been unable to get out of my head. While browsing online, I read that the number of cities in the USA with populations over one million people is nine. I then discovered that the number of cities in China with populations over one million is 156. It’s mind-boggling.’

Mumbai, India. Photo by Mitul Kajaria

Mumbai, India. Photo by Mitul Kajaria

He added: ‘Most people in the West have not begun to understand the sheer scale of urban development that is taking place across the world, as rural populations migrate to the cities in search of economic improvement and security.’

‘With such a vast movement from agriculture to industry, and concomitantly from the agrarian experience to city life, the challenges for cities are social and economic on the one hand, but on the other the challenges in terms of urban planning and infrastructure are immense. City authorities around the world are struggling to cope with the explosion in their populations.’

Highlights of the season for architects include: Precise Poetry (Dir. Belinda Rukschcio, 2014) which explores the legacy of Italian architect Lina Bo Bardi in Brazil; Highrise (Dir. Katerina Cizek, 2009), an experimental film which explores vertical living around the world; Decampment of Modernism Part III (Dir. Heinz Emigholz, 2014) which investigates modernity through architecture; and Life is a Breath of Air (Dir.Fabiano Maciel, 2005) on the works of Oscar Niemeyer and the impact of introducing the curved line to building design.

Film season: City Visions
Barbican Centre, Silk St, London EC2Y 8DS
Until: 8 October 2014


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