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Shadow Cities

Surviving the modernist city: Jacques Tati’s Play Time

Thu 26 Apr

Shadow Cities

door € 5 | debate
20.00 - 22.30 | doors open 19.30

Shadow Cities is a series of film nights in which the seamy sides of living in an urban environment are being highlighted. We are looking at big city life from the perspectives of the outcasts and underdogs, thereby wandering through the underground, shearing along the rough edges and entering no-go areas. How do people survive in the margins of the city and make the best of their life?

During this edition we will screen Jacques Tati’s Play Time (1967). The film is set in a futuristic Paris built up of asphalt, concrete and glass, in which the characters continuously lose track. Play Time is considered as Tati’s most daring film, and is probably the best-known fictional critique of the modernist urban environment.

We have invited film theorist and Tati expert Marijke de Valck to elaborate on Tati’s masterpiece and its place in the French filmmaker’s oeuvre. De Valck works as assistant professor at the department of Media Studies at the University of Amsterdam, and conducted a well-received PhD on the role of international film festivals at the same university.

Our second guest is psycho-geographer Wilfried Hou Je Bek, who will give us a pre-screening briefing on the confusing elements in Tati’s modernist urban environment. In doing so, he will link Tati’s fiction with our own personal experiences in the non-fictional modernist world. Hou Je Bek is a 'culture hacker' who develops generative psycho-geography. Inspired by concepts of drift (dérive) from Romanticism and, later, the Situationists around Guy Debord, Hou je Bek uses algorithmic routes to explore the city in non-intuitive ways.