Watchlist: Curators' Picks: Architecture on Film

Man walking down a glass corridor
26 May 2020
4 min read

Architecture Foundation curator, Justin Jaeckle, selects his top picks that explore Architecture on Film.

Since 2008, Architecture on Film has been exploring how architecture and the city are represented in cinema. Whilst the season is on pause, the present situation adds a variety of extra and surprising resonances to some previously screened titles, illuminating different ways of reading the world beyond our currently shut front doors.

Rat Film (2016, Theo Anthony) on Amazon / Apple / Vimeo
As rats plague Baltimore, this mesmerising and innovative documentary dissects the city’s efforts to ‘socially distance’ its undesirable elements. Through a radical set of connections, the rat becomes a metaphor, revealing the traps a city lays for its residents, with social and racial consequences.
Watch the trailer

Code 46 (2003, Michael Winterbottom) on Amazon / Apple
A love story set in a world of locked down megacities, where all travel is fiercely policed through prized genetic passports, against a backdrop of climate catastrophe and Orwellian surveillance… Right now Winterbottom’s near future sci-fi feels more prescient than ever.
Watch the trailer

Read the Programme Notes by Geoff Manaugh and watch the Q&A between Director, Michael Winterbottom, Production Designer, Mark Tildesley, and Geoff Manuagh.

Columbus (2017, Kogonada) on BFI Player / Amazon / Apple
For housebound architecture fans searching for a hit of mid-century Modernism, this stunningly shot fiction transports you to its American mecca. In this delicate coming of age story, full of visual and metaphorical symmetries, the actors and buildings both star.
Watch the trailer
Read the Programme Notes by Catherine Ince

Dark Days (2000, Marc Singer) on Apple / Google Play / Vimeo
Shining light on an underground community living in the tunnels beneath NYC, this doc offers literal ‘underground cinema’. As we search for how to survive in the city, the inhabitants’ elected isolation from life above ground resonates ominously.
Watch the trailer
Read the Programme Notes by James Attlee

Koolhaas HouseLife (2008, Ila Bêka and Louise Lemoine) on Vimeo
An antidote to media depictions of ‘starchitecture’, this behind-the-scenes tour of the Rem Koolhaas’ designed icon, Maison à Bordeaux, is made through the eyes of its cleaner. After months of dealing with your own home’s domestic demands, perhaps you can relate.
Watch the trailer
Learn more about the house and read an essay by Sam Jacob

Architecture on Film is curated by The Architecture Foundation in partnership with the Barbican.

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