October 14th, 2007

Radiant City, a film by Gary Burns and Jim Brown.

One of the advantages of flying Air Canada on this trip was that even its little Brazilian regional jets had a wide selection of movies to watch. I like to watch movies from and about the places I'm about to go to, so I picked the one under "Canadian movies", which turned out to be Radiant City, a film about suburban sprawl whose title is a nod to Le Corbusier's La Ville radieuse. I thought of progscholar in particular as I watched.

I never got to finish it because the flight was too short, so I never did get to the surprise at the end. Which is sad, because apparently it's only been released on DVD in Canada, and it's nearly C$30 on amazon.ca.

I can offer you the trailer, however, and ask if any of you have heard of it or seen it.

“people who live in suburbia know backwards and forwards the critique of suburbia, yet they still live in the suburbs”
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(no subject)

As I was looking for links for the previous post, I came across an architecture blog by Quixote, who introduces himself as "a new-fangled structural engineer who likes his earthquakes strong and his politics anarcho-syndical. So when the revolution comes, I'll be the guy putting non-union architectural catastrophes against the wall."
I know I’m ruining the ending (and at the very beginning no less), but the basic conceit of this blog is that Le Corbusier is a stand-in for industrialization and centralized control as much as the more brutal side of modernist architecture. He famously described the Unite d’Habitation, pictured above, as “a machine for living in,” which is more creepy than evil as a stand-alone statement — sure, housing is a consumer product just like vacuum cleaners, got it — but sets off all sorts of alarm bells when you realize you’re staring at the genesis of 50 years of human anguish in the form of dreadful housing projects.

colinmac and I had just been discussing urban planning this afternoon--a subject we seem to talk about every time we get together--so this post is for him.