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TitleCities And Cinema
PublisherRoutledge
ISBN 139780203015605
CategoryArts - Film
Author
LanguageEnglish
File Size2.9 MB
Total Pages256
Table of Contents
                            Book Cover
Title
Copyright
Contents
Figures
Acknowledgments
Introduction: The founding myth of cinema, or the “train effect”
SECTION I
	1 Modernity and the city film: Berlin
	2 The dark city and film noir: Los Angeles
	3 The city of love: Paris
SECTION II
	4 City film industry: Hong Kong
	5 The city in ruins and the divided city: Berlin, Belfast, and Beirut
	6 Utopia and dystopia: fantastic and virtual cities
SECTION III
	7 Ghettos and barrios
	8 The city as queer playground
	9 The global city and cities in globalization
Conclusion: from the “train effect” to the “favela effect” – how to do further research
Notes
Bibliography
Filmography
Index
                        
Document Text Contents
Page 2

Cities and Cinema
Films about cities abound. They provide fantasies for those who recognize their
city and those for whom the city is a faraway dream or nightmare. How does cinema
rework city planners’ hopes and city dwellers’ fears of modern urbanism? Can
an analysis of city films answer some of the questions posed in urban studies?
What kinds of vision for the future and images of the past do city films offer? What
are the changes that city films have undergone?

Cities and Cinema puts urban theory and cinema studies in dialogue. The book’s
first section analyzes three important genres of city films that follow in historical
sequence, each associated with a particular city, moving from the city film of
the Weimar Republic to the film noir associated with Los Angeles and the image
of Paris in the cinema of the French New Wave. The second section discusses
socio-historical themes of urban studies, beginning with the relationship of film
industries and individual cities, continuing with the portrayal of war-torn and
divided cities, and ending with the cinematic expression of utopia and dystopia
in urban science fiction. The last section negotiates the question of identity and
place in a global world, moving from the portrayal of ghettos and barrios to the city
as a setting for gay and lesbian desire, to end with the representation of the global
city in transnational cinematic practices.

The book suggests that modernity links urbanism and cinema. It accounts for the
significant changes that city film has undergone through processes of globalization,
during which the city has developed from an icon in national cinema to a privileged
site for transnational cinematic practices. It is a key text for students and researchers
of Film Studies, Urban Studies, and Cultural Studies.

Barbara Mennel is an Assistant Professor of German Studies and Cinema
Studies in the Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies and in the Film and
Media Studies Program in the English Department at the University of Florida,
Gainesville. She is author of The Representation of Masochism and Queer Desire
in Film and Literature (2007).

Page 128

The film is not intended as realism. In several instances, characters crouch on the
floor and a text is projected onto on the wall behind them, for example, when
the word “WEREWOLF” appears in capital letters on the screen behind the main
character. The film thus announces itself as an art film that references the specific
historical moment and place but is not indebted to negotiating its precise politics.

Zentropa and Delicatessen stylize the periods they cite. In neither case is a city
central, in contrast to the famous rubble and ruin films made immediately in the
postwar moment. It is precisely the deterritorialization of the space that is evoked
and its anonymity, either in the no-man’s-land of Delicatessen, which refers to
the city but never shows it, or in the train tracks as the permanent connection
between different cities that are referenced but inhabit neither characteristics nor
territory. The postmodern retro-rubble film relies on the abstraction of the city in
which the rubble becomes a simulacrum of the immediate postwar moment
invoking devastation without engaging with its politics or its trauma. Delicatessen
needs to be not-Paris and Zentropa not-Berlin to emphasize the deterritorializing
and detemporalizing aspect of postmodern, stylized ruins and rubble. Of course,
though highly stylized, both films nevertheless speak to the politics of the early
1990s, at the end of the Cold War and almost two generations after the end of the
Second World War, when the visible traces and the memories of that war’s trauma
were fading into the past.

The divided city

This section considers films set in divided cities, with a particular emphasis
on Berlin because of its position as pawn and buffer between the former two
superpowers during the Cold War. Divided Berlin created two different kinds
of urban spaces despite its historical development as one city. Because Berlin
occupied two states, the films discussed here were created by distinct film industries
which created two distinctive urban cinematic aesthetics. Because the division
of East and West Berlin was a process that took place throughout the postwar
period, the filmic texts accompany the urban reconfiguration, provide ideological
fodder for, and cinematically present ways to read the new urban environment to
its respective citizens.

During the 1950s, films made by DEFA, the production company of the GDR,
showed primarily young people torn between the seductiveness of the West and
the socialist path of the East. These teenage characters continue the development
of the children from the rubble film. These DEFA films stress the ideological
differences between East and West marked by topographical and architectural
differences. In both Gerhard Klein’s A Berlin Romance (1956) and his Berlin
Corner Schönhauser of the following year, West Berlin is identified with seductive
movie-houses, unemployment, corruption, and sexual abandon. Both films end

Berlin, Belfast, and Beirut • 117

Page 129

with the young characters following the path of socialism, which integrates
“working, fighting, and loving . . .” as the voice-over describes the romantic couple
at the end of A Berlin Romance.

The denunciation of West Berlin as a place of sexual and moral corruption because
of American occupation is most pronounced in Karl Gass’s Look at this City
(1962), a DEFA propaganda film that justifies the building of the Wall as the
“defense against imperialism.” Over a shot of people streaming out of the subway
station at the Hermannplatz (in Neukölln, in the West), the voice-over states:
“People were lured over. Mainly young people. And saw this.” The next shot shows
movie theaters with posters for “skin flicks,” and the following shots show
comic-books. Film is associated with decadence coded as West German and lack
of morals coded as American. Immorality is illustrated by a shot of a woman and
her daughter in court with an inflammatory voice-over explaining: “They were
not against West Berlin visits and comics.” The voice-over accompanies a shot of
comics with the word “theory” and a shot of a dead girl with the word “practice,”
and we are then shown images of a “murder weapon” and the “12-year-old culprit.”
West Berlin is thus associated with the lure of American popular culture that
corrupts the next generation through sexualized visual culture. “Such political
hypocrisy and depravity has to result in moral decay,” says the voice-over with
regard to images of a Parisian revue, female wrestlers, and dancing in clubs: “Once
the symbol for moral decay was Chicago. Now it is West Berlin.”

Thus the film justifies the presence of tanks in East Berlin on August 8, 1961:
“Here it can go no further. This is the German Democratic Republic, where for the
first time in German history peace is the program of the government.” The voice-
over proclaims: “Berlin is worth a war,” an argument that Is Paris Burning? will
appropriate for a democratic Paris four years later. In contrast to the decadent and
corrupt space of the West, Look at this City illustrates “our socialist fatherland,
the life and the future of our children,” with images of East Berlin: children, women
shopping, and students at the Humboldt University. The voice-over creates a
defensive narrative of East Berlin being under attack, denounces West Berlin,
but claims the whole city.

Kurt Maetzig’s The Story of a Young Couple (1952) appears almost like a feature-
film extension of Look at this City but was made a decade earlier. It makes the
urban and architectural construction of socialist East Berlin its important visual
and narrative turning point. Like The Murderers Are among Us, it begins with a
Berlin in ruins. Agnes Seiler comes to Berlin through the snow in 1946 intent on
starting a new life, but everything around her is drab. With increasing capitalist
reconstruction, fascism resurfaces. Agnes, a positive, socialist–realist character,
falls in love with Jochen and aligns herself with anti-fascist socialism. The film

118 • The city in ruins and the divided city

Page 255

sex industry, 152, 177–85, 193, 195, 198–200
sexuality, 23, 29, 35, 39, 44, 54–55, 65–66, 70,

148, 152, 158, 161, 163, 176–79, 184–86,
199, 217

Shaft (1971), 162–63, 182, 192
Shandley, Robert R., 110, 113
Shanghai Noon (2000), 94
Shaw, Run Run, 85–87
Sheridan, Jim, 120–21, 129, 169
Shiel, Mark, and Tony Fitzmaurice, 15
Shoot the Piano Player (1959), 64
Short, John Rennie, 15, 177–78, 196, 198, 209
Short Sharp Shock (1998), 197, 204
shot/reverse shot, 67, 70
Signoret, Simone, 106
Sikov, Ed, 56
silent film, 1, 10, 72, 75, 178
Silver, Alain, 48–49, 53, 59
Silverman, Kaja, 135
Simmel, Georg, 25–30, 37, 49, 65–66, 87
simulacrum, 14, 117, 141–42
Singleton, John, 154, 156, 160–61, 175
Siodmark, Robert, 22, 45, 50, 52, 53, 55, 60
Six in Paris (1965), 80
skyline, 7, 16, 62, 71
Snyder, Jack, 144
Soja, Edward W., 15
Solino (2002), 204
Somewhere in Berlin (1946), 109, 111–12, 115
sound, 2, 3, 16, 35, 50, 62, 68, 70, 71, 98, 101,

131, 170–71, 180, 200, 202, 217
spacial concerns, 15, 23, 37, 48–49, 52, 103,

133, 136, 148, 151, 153, 154, 166–67, 198,
213–14

spacialization, 15, 154, 198
spectacle, 2, 132–33, 136, 148, 182
spectator/s, 1, 3, 14, 45, 54, 70, 75, 106,

142–43, 159
speed, 4
Stagecoach (1939), 48
Stanwyck, Barbara, 56–59
star persona, 82, 90–91, 94
star/s, 11, 47, 78, 82–83, 85, 86, 87, 89, 90–92,

94, 106, 158, 163, 169, 191
Staudte, Wolfgang, 9, 109, 129
Stemmle, Robert A., 109
stereotypes, 58, 75, 92, 155, 158, 160, 162,

179, 180, 203, 208
Stokes, Lisa Odham, and Michael Hoover, 98,

102
Stolen Kisses (1968), 67, 71–72
The Story of a Young Couple (1952), 118
The Stranger on the Third Floor (1940), 53
street/s, 4, 20–23, 30, 32–35, 37–39, 44–45, 47,

49–50, 53–54, 59, 67–79, 93, 95, 99–101,

103, 106, 113, 119, 127, 148, 151, 155–56,
158–60, 164, 166, 168, 177, 181–82,
185–86, 188–92, 213–15, 778. see also
Joyless Street; Scarlet Street

studio system, 11, 19, 23, 47, 55, 61, 63, 87,
161

styles, 14, 20, 22, 47–49, 56, 93–94, 100–1,
109, 134, 145–47, 154, 156, 158, 160, 162,
177, 211, 214, 216–17. see also cycles,
genre/s

subculture, 93–94, 148, 178–79, 189, 190–93,
201

subgenre, 32, 37, 92, 100, 178
subtext, 51, 178
suburbia, 51–52, 138, 144, 187
Sugarcane Alley (1983), 169
Summer Snow (l995), 88
Sunset Boulevard (1950), 53, 60
Superman (1978), 7, 136
surface, 30, 44, 45, 54–55
surveillance, 32, 35, 96, 120, 136, 199
Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song (1971),

161
symbols/symbolism, 7, 15, 34, 37, 39, 42, 47,

50, 53, 57, 63, 78, 90, 91, 96, 100–1, 106,
109, 111–13, 113, 114, 116, 118, 119,
127–28, 132, 138, 159

T-Men (1947), 53
Tai-wai, Mak, 88
Tarantino, Quentin, 158
Tati, Jacques, 64
Tea in the Harem (1985), 204
technology, 3, 4–8, 10, 19, 26, 29, 32, 40–44,

55, 61–62, 68, 81, 96, 106, 110, 130–37,
140, 142–43, 145–46, 148

Terrible Teddy, the Grizzly King (1901), 4
The Last Days of Pompeii (1897), 4
The Truman Show, 139
Thieves’ Highway (1949), 52
Things to Come (1936), 131, 132–34, 136, 148,

149, 168
The Third Man (1949), 7, 110–11, 116,

123–28, 129, 133
Third World, 169–70, 207–8, 211
The Thirteenth Floor (1999), 139
the Tiller Girls, 37
Tokyo, 186, 198, 199, 202–3
Tong, Stanley, 90, 92, 102
topography, 6, 14, 50, 59, 99, 102, 103–4, 117,

119–20, 151, 162, 195, 198, 215
A Tour through Spain And Portugal (n.d.), 4
tracking shot/s, 53, 65, 67, 100, 216
traffic, 4–5, 5, 7, 26, 33–34, 38–39, 125, 210
“train effect,” 1–8, 210–11

244 • Index

Page 256

transgender, 184
transnational cinema/film, 1, 10–12, 14, 17,

81–82, 102, 152, 195–96, 201, 209–10, i
transnational education, 84, 201
transnational exchange, 20, 90, 172
transnational star system, 82, 90–91
transportation, 38, 116, 182, 206
transsexual, 184
transvestite(s), 186. see also

cross-dressing/drag
trauma, 55–56, 101, 105, 109, 112–17, 180,

200
Treut, Monika, 183, 185, 187
Trier, Lars van, 9, 14, 104, 116
Triumph of the Will (1935), 106
tropes, 9, 72, 95, 103, 108–9, 192
Truffaut, François, 7, 20, 61, 62, 64, 67–73, 76,

80, 142, 216
Tsang, Eric, 86
Tsivian, Yuri, 2
Tsotsi (2005), 164, 169, 197, 217
Tsu, Hdeng, 90
Turtles Can Fly (2004), 105, 197

Ulmer, Edgar, 45, 53
Undercover Brother (2002), 163
underworld, 35, 50, 62, 127, 137, 139, 177
Up and Down (2004), 204–5
Urban, Charles, 6
urbanism, i, 23, 32, 67, 81, 84, 89, 91–92,

94–95, 98, 130, 136, 144, 151
urbanity, 2, 7, 9, 14, 21, 25, 33, 50, 52, 55, 65,

67, 70, 81, 87, 90, 104, 137, 156, 166, 179,
189, 210

utopia/n, i, 13, 28, 81–82, 88, 130–48, 185,
186, 190, 215

Varda, Agnès, 61, 63, 72, 75–76, 80, 218 n. 6
vaudeville, 6
verticality, 7, 11, 23, 41, 132, 138
Vidal, Gore, 106
Vienna, 44, 56, 111, 123–28, 141, 219 n. 12
Vincendeau, Ginette, 78
violence, 11, 36–37, 52, 56, 93–95, 103, 104–6,

120–21, 156–69, 177, 180–89, 213–15
Virgin Machine (1988), 183–85, 187, 190
virtual reality, 14, 28, 82, 130–49
voice-over, 47, 52, 53, 54, 56, 59, 66, 70, 73,

110, 116, 118, 123–26, 137, 138, 141, 165,
185, 188, 199, 213–14, 216

voyeur/voyeurism, 70, 72, 155, 159, 184, 185,
191, 193, 202

Wachowski, Andy and Larry, 13, 140, 149
Wager, Jans B., 45, 53–54

Walsh, Raoul, 52
Ward, Janet, 24, 45
Warner, Keith Q., 174, 175
Waters, John, 177
Way of the Dragon (1972), 90
wealth, 15–16, 66, 86, 156, 169, 192, 198, 200,

208
Weber, Max, 25–26, 30–32, 37, 41, 44
Wei, Li Min, 85
Weihsmann, Helmut, 21–23
Weimar cinema, 8, 20, 54–55, 79, 95, 201,

214
Weimar Republic, i, 20, 23, 25, 27, 32, 34, 40,

45, 55–56, 63, 194
Welles, Orson, 106
West Beyrouth (1998), 121–22, 128
westerns, 5, 11, 48, 180
westerns, Spaghetti, 171–72
What Happened on 23rd Street, New York City

(1901), 8
White, James H., 2
White Heat (1949), 52
Who Am I? (1998), 94
Who’s That Knocking on My Door? (1968),

169
The Wicked City (1992), 88
Wilder, Billy, 8, 34, 45, 46, 53, 55, 56, 58–59,

60
Willett, John, 55
Williams, Raymond, 26
Williams, Todd, 160–61
Wilson, Emma, 76
Wilson, William Julius, 157
window/s, 35–37, 38, 39, 45, 69–71, 75, 92,

100, 119, 126, 168, 202–3, 206, 210
Wishman, Doris, 178
A Woman Is a Woman (1961), 64
Woo, John, 95, 98. see also A Better

Tomorrow
workers, 23, 27, 29, 41–43, 119, 132, 143, 206,

207
workers, “guest,” 189, 202
World War, First, 10, 21, 23, 54–55, 104,

122
World War, Second, 14, 19, 46, 48, 53–55, 65,

84, 104, 106–9, 115–17, 122–23, 157

Yu lik-wai, Nelson, 89
Yuen, Woo-ping, 90
Yun-Fat, Chow, 95–96

Zecca, Ferdinand, 6
Zentropa (1991), 9, 14, 104, 116–17
zoetrope, 3, 4, 69, 142, 216
Zukor, Adolph, 11

Index • 245

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