October 2, 2011
[Day-long Film Festival]
Curated by Simon Pennec and Nicole Lattuca
This film festival was curated for the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal.
The city remembered, the city annihilated, and the city in decay are each a premise for the city in a state of erasure. The City Erased presents depictions of obliterated society and investigates the necessity for reaffirmation of life in the wake of total destruction. This day-long film festival gathers experimental films, TV shows and cult classics and places them in conversation with cultural, social, and environmental issues.
The first act, Ruins in the City, looks at modernity’s effect on the metropolis, as urban “revitalization” and the passing of time have altered its landscape. Rome and San Francisco are each the spatial backdrop for narratives of remembrance. Each city harbouring remains, whether physical or social, from disappearing cultures. Both films encourage the viewer to examine the city as it struggles with the remnants of its past.
Act two, “A”is for annihilation, is composed of sci-fi films that use camp and absurdity as tools for envisioning the end of days. The episode of the Twilight Zone, “Time Enough at Last,” and the Japanese cult classic film, Daikaijû Gamera, examine our collective panic of apocalypse, be it from a nuclear obliteration or from a gigantic angry turtle. The protagonists in both motion pictures respond differently in the face of total destruction; one with ironic optimism and the other with unbridled rampage.
The final act reflects on social apocalypse as it is represented in art and experimental films. Derek Jarman uses jarring and agitated cinematography to echo the downward spiral of the welfare state in The Last of England, while Cyprien Gaillard necessitates suspense and stillness in the swift collapse of a tower block, recalling the notorious demise of modernist housing estate of Pruitt-Igoe.