Thursday 19th Jan OF TIME AND THE CITY and urban reflections

3 Jan

Our next event, on the 19th January, will be on cinematic visualisations of urban change and the passage of time. We will be celebrating the publication of Mark Tewdwr-Jones’ Urban Reflections: Narratives of Place, Planning and Change (Policy Press, 2011) with screenings on the theme of URBAN PLANNING and its relationship with the narrative strategies of cinema.

The feature screening, Terence Davies’ ‘elegiac yet prickly’ Of Time and the City (2008), is a love song and eulogy to Liverpool in the 1950s and 60s, using newsreel and documentary footage supplemented by his own commentary voice-over and contemporaneous and classical music soundtracks. The film was chosen on its release as Sight and Sound’s Film of the Month, with the Guardian describing it as ‘a British masterpiece, a brilliant assemblage of images that illuminate our past.’

We will also show two other short films about the use of land in planning projects and on film. R K Neilson-Baxter’s ‘All That Mighty Heart’ (1962), shot by the Oscar-winning David Watkins for British Transport Films, shows a poetic ‘day in the life’ of London during the construction of the new Victoria Line. It includes fleets of Routemaster buses, the control rooms of the tube, early CCTV, vintage lights at Piccadilly Circus and children building sandcastles on the banks of the Thames. The little known ‘Destination Louvain La Neuve’, a short film from the New Town Archive, shows a historic snapshot of idealistic urban planning in Belgium and its promotion.

Mark Tewdwr-Jones (Professor of Spatial Planning and Governance at University College London’s Bartlett School of Planning and Architecture) will be giving a talk and introductions to the films drawing on ideas from his book, which will be available to buy on the night, followed by a Q&A at the end of the evening. The book draws on geographical, cinematic and photographic readings, offering a fresh incisive story of urban change, one that evokes both real and imagined perspectives of places and planning. One critic remarks, ‘We’ve long had books about places by geographers, and books about films and TV by critics – but they’ve remained in hermetically sealed compartments, separated by an impassable gorge. Mark Tewdwr-Jones has triumphantly bridged the gap. There will also be opportunities to talk to Mark during the drinks breaks.

This is the second screening of a season by PASSENGERFILMS and the UCL URBAN LABORATORY.

Thursday the 19th January at the Roxy Bar and Screen (128-132 Borough High St, London, SE1 1LB). Starts 7.30pm, entry £4.


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