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Movies: The Latest Architecture and News

The Spatial Stories of Ousmane Sembène

When examining the world of African cinema, there are few names more prominent than that of Senegalese director Ousmane Sembène. His films ‘La Noire de…’ and ‘Mandabi’, released in 1966 and 1968 respectively, are films that tell evocative stories on the legacies of colonialism, identity, and immigration. And whilst these two films are relatively slow-spaced, ‘slice-of-life stories, they also offer a valuable spatial critique of the setting where the films are based, providing a helpful framework to understand the intricacies of the post-colonial African city, and the contrast between the African and European metropolises.

Courtesy of Janus FilmsCourtesy of Janus FilmsIbrahim walking in the wide-laned streets of Dakar's more affluent areas. Image Courtesy of Janus FilmsCourtesy of Janus Films+ 13

Jacinta Leong on Architecture in Movies: "Films Can Tell Us How Things Are and How Things Can Be"

2067. Stills. Image Courtesy of Jacinta Leong
2067. Stills. Image Courtesy of Jacinta Leong

Jacinta Leong is a Production Designer who enjoys the creative and collaborative process of designing environments for narratives. Her work on several movies looks ahead into the future - especially in relation to technology in society. She was recently the Production Designer on the film 2067; Art Director on Alien: Covenant, Mad Max: Fury Road, and Pacific Rim: Uprising; Assistant Art Director on Star Wars Episode II-III; and Set Designer in The Matrix, among others.

We've talked with Leong to get to know her thoughts on the connection between films and architecture. The following interview explores her beginnings and inspirations, as well as her work process in the era of digital tools.

Felicity Abbott: "Production Design Has Been Referred to as Architecture of the Screen"

Production designer Felicity Abbott is behind the great staging of The Luminaries, a mini-series that takes place in New Zealand during the 1860s West Coast Gold Rush. In the below interview, she tells us her thoughts on the connection between films and architecture, addressing her work process and the main challenges on this set.

Dr. Strangelove’s Strange Environmental Lesson for Architects

This article was originally published on Common Edge.

Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb is one of those rare movies that not only gets better with time but also presents a new layer of meaning with each viewing. Recently I’ve come to believe that it’s the most important movie about environmentalism ever made, not only because of its warning about nuclear annihilation, which is obvious, but because of its sly critique of the idea of professionalism and the nature of work.

Luca Tranchino: "Production Design Uses The Same Language as Architecture"

Luca Tranchino is a production designer well known for his participation as an art director in Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York, the Aviator, Hugo Cabret, and Disney’s Prince of Persia, among many other productions. His work is designed to take us to magical and historical worlds. We recently interviewed Tranchino to look behind the scenes and uncover connections between film and architecture.

6 Movies That Use Architectural Visualizations to Tell Stories and Create Atmospheres

Representation of the real world is, without any doubt, in the genesis of cinema, an art originated from photography, by creating a sequence to convey the impression of movement to the viewer. In fact, the earliest known film recording is from 1895, picturing the arrival of a train at Ciolat station in France, a trivial event in the daily life of 19th-century European cities.

However, even though tangible reality plays a big role in cinema, one cannot ignore that the fascination caused by this art comes, to a great extent, from its capacity to create imaginary worlds, to activate mental spaces, and to unleash emotions. In this sense, the real world may often provide insufficient fuel, inspiration, or background for the directors' and screenwriters' storytelling, so the art direction and scenic design teams are required to create other intangible realities that serve as a basis for the narrative.

"Sin City". Screenshot of the movie"Blade Runner 2049". Screenshot of the movie"I, Robot". Screenshot of the movie"Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker". Screenshot of the movie+ 13

Annie Beauchamp on Designing the Overall Visual Look of Movies: "A Designer’s Work Helps to Drive The Plot"

Production designer Annie Beauchamp contacted me shortly after reading an article about Black Mirror series and what it can teach us about the future of architecture —something exciting for me since she was in charge of the visual look in Striking Vipers, the first episode of the dystopian series' fifth season. Beauchamp who has extensive experience working on major productions such as Sleeping Beauty, The Yellow Birds, Adoration, Top of the Lake China Girl, LEGO's Ninjago Movie, also served as an art director in nothing less than Moulin Rouge.

We've talked with Beauchamp to get to know her thoughts on the connection between films and architecture. The following conversation explores her beginnings and inspirations, her work process, as well as her views on the era of computer visualizations. In addition, we concluded the conversation with a couple of recommendations for a new generation interested in production design.

7 Movies in Which the Interiors Take on the Leading Role

The recent success of Parasite, the award winning film directed by South Korean director Bong Joon Ho, has created a conversation around the emphasis of architecture and interior spaces in movies. This particular film does an excellent job of blurring the boundaries between the two disciplinary fields, to the point where the architecture is not just the background of the set, but it has been placed at the forefront of the storyline, and takes on the leading role in many scenes.

From Gangster City to Gotham City: The Changing Image of Chicago in Hollywood Films

Chicago is one of the most photogenic cities in the world. Its sparkling lakefront, dramatic skyline, diverse ethnic neighborhoods, and gritty industrial sites have long captured the attention of locals and visitors alike, including Hollywood movie producers. Here the city often serves as not only a backdrop, but also as a starring role--almost as important as the characters themselves.

4 Films Where Climate Change Affects Cities and Landscapes

Architecture enjoys a close connection with moving picture, perhaps because of the limitless imagination it allows. Our mind can be taken far away to utopian worlds where we live different realities with our eyes and skin; movies can carry us to new and distant places, where we face new unusual realities.

However, besides carrying us to distant places, movies can also be a vehicle of social criticism. This is not news, as it has been done for almost as long as cinema has existed. The evolution of this role is relative to the topic of critique that has developed over time, as have our habits and ways of living. In this sense, one of the most emerging problematic of nowadays is climate change.from architecture to arts and, clearly, the movies.

Teaching an Appreciation for Architecture Through Film

This article was originally published on Common Edge.

The field of architecture is not exactly a hot topic of study for most undergraduate students. The closest they might get to the subject is an art history survey course in which architecture is presented as a parade of styles across the millennia—just another form of visual expression. 

Pasadena Architectural Legacy Walking Tours and Presentation

On December 30th, 2019, Pasadena Heritage invites you and your holiday guests to take walking tours featuring some of Pasadena’s unique architectural treasures and/or visit Pasadena Heritage’s 1893 headquarters to see a presentation featuring Pasadena’s historic architecture in the movies! Attendees have the opportunity to participate in two different walking tours and the movie presentation, each with a 10:00 a.m. or 1:00 p.m. start time!

Pasadena Hillcrest Neighborhood Walking Tour
Discover one of Pasadena’s most beautiful neighborhoods with the Hillcrest Walking Tour, which takes you by many grand homes in a variety of architectural styles. The Oak Knoll subdivision, of which Hillcrest

"MAKE IT ISO!", A Series of Isometrics Based on Iconic Movies and TV Series

© Riccardo Masiero© Riccardo Masiero© Riccardo Masiero© Riccardo Masiero+ 13

The passion for cinema and TV shows, combined with that for scenography and architecture, led Italian architect Riccardo Masiero to play with the different spaces and dimensions of the elements that make movies in order to create "MAKE IT ISO!", a series of drawings portraying famous movies and TV icons such as Breaking Bad, Twin Peaks, Harry Potter, Star Wars, The Shining and UP in an architectural way.

These illustrations represent iconic scenes of TV and cinema through the isometric illustration method, giving an overall picture of the construction of the scene, as well as providing a different point of view to the observer.  

Keep reading to see the full "MAKE IT ISO!" series and the author explaining his work.

Architecture: the Unsung Hero of Your Favorite Film

How does the built environment--whether fictitious or entirely founded in reality--impact how we experience and process film? From lesser-known indies to blockbuster movies, the ways in which architecture and the built environment inform everything from scene and setting, to dialogue and character development has far-reaching effects on the audience’s cinematic experience. Below, a roundup of everything from recent releases to classic cinephile favorites uncovers the myriad ways in which film utilizes architecture as a means of achieving a more authentic and all-encompassing form of storytelling.