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Reichsautobahn (U*)

Architecture on Film

A long stretch of motorway

Hartmut Bitomsky's piercing essay film narrates its web of images to critically excavate the reality, symbolism, myth and legacy of Germany's "biggest edifice”: 3,870km of Nazi-built autobahn.

Initiated in 1933 as an agent of employment and national unification, a “cultural monument” to modernity, purpose and progress, the socio-political Autobahn project needed selling to a population for whom its infrastructure was so new as to be alien.

Far from a conventional chronology, in Reichsautobahn “one picture answers another”, as Bitomsky choreographs the multitude of Third Reich produced films, propaganda and cultural artefacts, alongside interviews and a fiercely probing voiceover, to reveal the complexities, imaginaries, and contradictions, of a project of social as much as industrial engineering.

We are delighted to welcome Tom Wilkinson (writer, historian, and History Editor at the Architectural Review) to introduce this screening.

Curated by the Architecture Foundation []


Federal Republic of Germany 1984 Dir Hartmut Bitomsky 91 min

Image: Deutsche Kinemathek