Chronicle

Cinematic Visions. New York
February 7, 2018

On February, 7, at 6.30 p.m., welcome to the film screening Citizen Jane: Battle for the City (2017). It is the first film screening from the series "Cinematic Visions. American Cities and Architecture in Documentaries".

Jane Jacobs (1916-2006) is an icon, a visionary writer who can be credited for almost single-handedly launching a powerful American urbanist movement whose principles continues to shape debates over the city today.  A successful journalist during a time when women had little to no agency in professional architectural or city planning circles, Jacobs wrote the seminal work The Life and Death of Great American Cities. Her scholarship was complemented by a fierce street-wise activism that showed how engaged citizens can fight the power for better neighborhoods. This highly-praised documentary depicts the epic 1960s battle between Jacobs and the ruthless New York City "master builder and planning tsar" Robert Moses, a crucial battle that was to determine the future of lower Manhattan. 

"Cinematic Visions. American Cities and Architecture in Documentaries" is a series of film screenings which will be held from February to June. We will view films and discuss architecture through the lens of American movies.

Triumphant and tragic. The American experience in shaping architectural trends, urban planning, and design in the Modern and post-Modern eras has been celebrated and vilified through the cinematic lens. Our newly launched film series Cinematic Visions explores, celebrates, and deplores the visual legacies of American society. Monthly screenings will offer interpretations of American efforts in contemporary architecture, urban construction (and deconstruction), as well as related topics. Post-screening discussions will frame the themes introduced by these works within local contexts. The films in this series present an astonishing range of expression on the American built environment, an expression shaped by highly diverse conditions of climate, region, politics, socio-economic development, and culture. The filmmakers offer a variety of engaging styles—from the rigorously meditative to the frenetic — in exploring their subjects. Viewers will be immersed in an array of quite different environments and offered insights on how Americans currently encounter their spaces and places. It is our hope the visions and values reflected in these films will inform and enrich your perspectives on a turbulent society in transition, and see America anew.

Film series curator Peter Bejger, a 2018 Fulbright Ukraine Research Scholar currently exploring Lviv’s architectural legacy and identity, is a writer, editor, and documentary filmmaker based in San Francisco. 

Program Coordinator - Olha Zarechniuk