Urban Research 2010 poster

urban research on film - directors lounge 2010
film / video / installation

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urban research
program 5:
the symbol's city life

Thursday, 18 February 18:00

The success of modern cities as social entities is connected with the liability of relative security and trust in the social contract between citizens. As Jan Philippe Reemtsma states: "If I happen to drop into a violent situation, I will neither be made responsible for not being armed, nor for not being able to defend myself." (memory-quoted). Although this unwritten contract is part of the production of modernity, urban identity, myths and symbols often tell about violent situations. The films in this program trace the uncanny in contemporary settings, they show hidden and small stories, which may remind us about how delicate that construction is, a balance between the opposite dangers of enforced order and violent social decay. Does it wonder that the selection presents films from Israel, the United States and one about Berlin?


Hadas Tapouchi IL
Moel Yad 6min 00sec 2009

A public intervention in the center of Tel Aviv in 2009. The performer dressed as a soldier is engaging in the act which we identify as the solute to Hitler, but in fact, it is a solute which originated in the Old Testament of the Bible in the Book of Nehemiah. This salute, which was practiced by the Romans, was later adopted by Italy during the fascist regime and then by Nazi Germany. The viewers show a type of satisfaction in being able to express their anger and hatred toward this symbol when given an external explanation by another observer. It is interesting to discover to what extent people are loyal to symbols, or how much there reaction depends on directions given by others.

Keren Zaltz IL
Mall 5min 55sec 2008

The young girls rehearsing marching drills belong to a religious and Zionist youth movement in Israel. The ceremony for Independence Day will be conducted in the city mall's plaza, which is the main gathering spot in the city. The values that lead the young girls, confronted with the place where this scene is taking place, creates an unusual contradiction.
Elham Rokni IL
Drive! 1min 32sec 2008

A few cars stop driving for no appearant reason. Three strong men violently pull someone out of his car. Afterwords, they just drive away. The scene is set in Israel landscape.

Kevin Jerome Everson US
Ike 02min 25sec 2008

Ike is about a person showing a special gift--if pushed.

Esther Podemski and Chuck Schultz US
5 Days in July 10min 00sec 2008

"5 Days in July" is a 10 minutes dual screen projection that revisits an important cataclysmic moment in American history. It is an experimental work consisting entirely of archival footage. This civil disturbance began when African American cab driver and musician John W. Smith was arrested, beaten and dragged into Fourth Precinct for a minor traffic infraction. This action triggered rebellion among the African American community that spread throughout Newark, one of the earliest civil disturbances among the more than 160 rebellions that occurred during that long hot summer.

Dominic Angerame US
Premonition 23min 00sec 1997

After the 1989 quake the city of San Francisco decided to tear down the Embarcadero Freeway once and for all. The film depicts impressions and textures from the highway before it was taken down by bulldozers heavy machinery.

Kevin Jerome Everson US
Second and Lee 02min 47sec 2008

Second and Lee, using archival footage, is a cautionary tale about when not to run.

Sergio De La Torre US
Nuevo Dragon City 14min 00sec 2008

Tijuana's downtown, set in the North of Mexico, is completely abandoned. Empty buildings and vacant sites could offer the city an opportunity to recreate itself. Those who decided to stay, or had no choice, are the Chinese, the descendants of emigrants who first settled here in early 1900's. - The film Nuevo Dragon City is a reenactment of a historical event that occurred in 1927 in northern Mexico, where six Chinese were either trapped or hid inside a building. Given the unresolved relations between Chinese and Mexicans, they were never rescued or they hid forever; no one knows what really happened.

Charles Chadwick US
Genetic Reclamation Area 05min 48sec 2008

If one is to walk along the empty streets of Treasure Island (located near San Francisco, California), it seems like a place that continually lies in between historical states. Genetic Reclamation Area is an attempt to reflect the haunted, uninhabited tonality of the place; erected from 1906 Earthquake rubble, it was used as world fare ground and later used as military base. Mostly abandoned and heavily polluted, it awaits a possible renewal as expensive residential area.

Christina McPhee US
Seven After Eleven 07min sec 2008

Site study was shot by driving four times around the former World Trade Center site in lower Manhattan. Ground Zero, the mainstage of American security theatre, September 7th, 2008; a lazy goldenlit Sunday afternoon, four days before the anniversary of the event. We drive around the whole site with a steady cam slowly. No one is allowed to photograph or video from vantage points at ground zero. Accessible via tiny views, cracks in the fabric, the construction site appears in glimpses only through the protective barrier mesh. Round and round we go, roulette.
Rinat Edelstein IL Play Ground 06min 58sec 2009

The video play ground was filmed in the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin. The memorial, which is located in an urban open space in the center of Berlin, was built as a large cemetery, full of huge gray stones. The design of the memorial also resembles a city's horizon between its skyscapers. Most visitors at the site are tourists, and although the site was meant to preserve the memory of the dead, it became a place to play. The video observes the games taking place within the compound of the monument and discovers some images and gestures which seem to be taken from times of war.

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