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In collaboration with the conference Urban Futures-Squaring Circles: Europe, China and the World in 2050 organized by:

Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon (for URBACHINA)
Institute of Studies for the Integration of Systems, Rome (for URBACHINA)
Institute of Future Cities of the Chinese University of Hong Kong (IfC-CUHK)

Natural History Museum, Lisbon 10.10.2014 – 7pm

The relationship between real and illusory is narrow in utopia, as in the account of the portraits of cities in cinema. The imaginary structures the actual experience, as this is the basis for subsequent elaborations: the boundaries between real and illusory are therefore undefined. In utopia, the ideal overlaps the real with the same commitment that in cinematography, real and illusory unites: the boundaries between true and false are diluted.

Cinema and architecture are both dream factories, so following that statement I would like to introduce moving image as a tool for opening a discussion as much as for entertainment purposes.

Following this conference’s explorations I believe that this set of five films illustrates several of the themes addressed by the speakers. the films present a particular city as more than just the narrative background. The city plays the main character and defines the storyline. Utopia, dystopia and the human factor are themes explored in cinema and architecture global history. Directors such as Jaques Tati or Fritz Lang and architects like Archigram or Super Studio went beyond borders exploring new concepts of the future that will forever live in the history of the disciplines.

In the first section of films, curated by the conference organization, we encounter an utopia generated by the impact of new technology in contrast with a rural landscape environment that enhances the past.

The second section regards a dystopian future, with a portrait of two cities – Oporto and London – both alienated by powers that surpass them. First showing a sterile Oporto and the second showing scenes reminiscent of the 1981 Brixton riots in London.
Following utopia and dystopia we end with a film that portraits humanely the memory of the city of Beijing through one caricature that might be more real than the metaphor that surround’s it.

Quoting Walter Benjamin, both cinema and architecture are received “by a collectivity in a mode of distraction” this set of films aims to open a space for informal discussion into a future made of too many inconsistent matters.


Generation IP: 2025 interactive (2012) VirginMediaBusiness/The Future Laboratory, ‘
Generation IP: 2025 Roundtable with Futurists, (2012) VirginMediaBusiness/The Future Laboratory, ‘

An in-depth study carried out in conjunction with The Future Laboratory – which provides an exciting glimpse into a hyper-connected Britain in just thirteen years’ time.

Zigurate (2013) Pedro Miguel Santos, 6′ TRAILER

A hypothetical trip through the city of Oporto in 2054, “Zigurate” is a visual experience that tries to show the dangers of recent evolutions of the Portuguese society. Beginning in the present, and somewhere in a forest of northern Portugal, the film travels into the future through places of a sterile Oporto, until finally revealing that life is in the most unexpected place.

Robots of Brixton (2011) Kibwe Tavares, 6′ TRAILER

The film follows the trials and tribulations of young robots surviving at the sharp end of inner city life, living the predictable existence of a populous hemmed in by poverty, disillusionment and mass unemployment. When the Police invade the one space which the robots can call their own, the fierce and strained relationship between the two sides explodes into an outbreak of violence echoing that of 1981.

100 Flowers Hidden Deep (2002) Chen Kaige, 10′ TRAILER

Short film directed the collection Ten Minutes Older, Trumpet which was created to honor the new millennium and Herz Frank. The film is about the awareness of the passing time and how much China has changed recently.