Modernist vision of cities, their architecture and spaces, are well inscribed into the idea of the Avant-garde films. There, movements and rhythm played a key role. A classic Avant-garde film is the one where the city is simultaneously the setting and the actor. In the film "A Man with a Moving Camera" (1929), Dzyga Vertov presented the scenes from the streets of different cities, such as Moscow, Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Odesa. He identified similarities in the cities that were in line of the spirit of modernity. On the other hand, in the film "Berlin: the Symphony of the Big City" (1927), Walter Ruttman, showed the everyday rhythm of Berlin subordinate to the working hours, the train traffic, and people rushing in the world of their busy lifestyles. The same dynamic is the vision of the big US city presented in the film by Friedrich W. Murnau "The Sunrise" (1927). Here, the director contrasts the spaces of the city and the village through the lens of their citizens.
The contrast of the Avant-garde films with the modern films produces the dialect with images and ideas of modernism. Hence, many questions arise. Which ideas and views survived the time test? How universal have they shown to be? After all, it is interesting to take the same perspective on the photographs of cities (as illustrated by Gdynia and Lviv). These are the places where modern architecture arises and the intentions of modernity are developing around it.
Małgorzata Radkiewicz – professor at Jagellonian University. She deals with issues of cultural identity in contemporary cinema and visual art. She studies creative work of women in film, photography, and art.