Evaluation of films

You may use any materials you like to do the best job possible. Please thoughtful, analytical, extensive and well-substantiated essay. Moreover, you must use references in the text of your answers and list the materials used at the end of each question in a bibliography. Paper should be 10 to 12 pages long, in a 12 point, legible font, doubled-spaced, and with 1 inch margins all around.



Question 1, Poverty, institutional corruption, ethnic/religious conflict and the alienation of urban immigrants have been themes that have appeared in many of the the films you have watched for this course. Take one of these themes and describe how it manifests itself, its characteristics and a method for combating or solving the problems exposed in each of three different films from three different regions, taking into account the culture of each city and country, as well as the region of Cities of the World in which the film takes place.



Question 2, As a planner, which three cities in the films exhibited in this course, and in three different regions in Cities of World, have the most serious physical planning problem? How would you describe them, and how are they described in the book? What planning approaches and /or solutions would you recommend to tackle these problem? What cultural issues do you anticipate that would be necessary to take into consideration when employing your method? What are they, and how would you cope with them?


The cities used in your answers to questions 1 and 2 should not be the same; that is, you should write about six different films.


Films list: 

Chinatown (USA, 1974), set in Los Angeles, California

This multi layered story is part mystery and part psychological drama. Set in LA in 1937, it was inspired by the California Water Wars, the historical disputes over land and water rights during the 1910s and 1920s in the Owens Valley. Thus, it actually concerns a real planning problem!


Do the right thing (USA, 1989), set in the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn, NYC

On the hottest day of the year on a street in Bed-Stuy, everyone’s hate and bigotry smolders and builds until they explode into violence.


La Haine (France, 1995), set in Paris

The movie begins after a night of rioting on a dismal housing estate on the northern outskirts of Paris and focuses on 24 hours in the lives of three close friends. They are an explosive working-class Jew, a handsome, soft-spoken Black, and a mercurial streetwise Arab. With little hope and few prospects for regular employment due to where they come from, the trio drift aimlessly, engaging in petty theft, and seething with aggressive resentment against an uncaring world.


Bend it like Beckham (UK, 2002), set in London

The daughter of orthodox Sikh immigrants rebels against her parents’ traditionalism by running off to Germany with her soccer team. Themes of immigrant integration, the role of women in a changing social milieu and homosexuality in traditional society are explored.


Piter FM. Three Episodes (Russia, 2006), set in St. Petersburg (Leningrad)

This movie is the epitome of a modern Russian romance. It really captures the feel of the great city of St. Petersburg, as well as having a very Russian take on love and friendship. The movie is beautifully shot, and the city is wonderful with fantastic architecture. In the film, the city is bright, moving, a city with a smile – sometimes kind, sometimes sad or ironical.



Gran Torino (USA, 2008), set in Detroit

A racist Korean War veteran living in a crime-ridden Detroit neighborhood is forced to confront his own lingering prejudice when a troubled Hmong teen from his neighborhood attempts to steal his prized Gran Torino as part of a gang initiation rite. Later, due to the pride of the Asian group, the boy is forced to return to Kowalski’s house and perform an act of penance. Despite the fact that Kowalski wants nothing to do with the young troublemaker, the reluctant vet sets him up with an old crony who now works in construction. In the process, Kowalski discovers that the only way to lay his many painful memories to rest is to finally face his own blinding prejudice head-on.


Ajami (Israel, 2009), set in Jaffa outside of Tel Aviv

Ajami is a powerful crime drama set on the streets of Jaffa’s Ajami neighborhood – a melting pot of cultures and conflicting views among Jews, Moslems and Christians – and told through the eyes of a cross-section of the city’s inhabitants. As their stories intersect and the film’s narrative shifts back and forth in time – a dramatic collision of different worlds and the tragic consequences of enemies living as neighbors are observed.


Viva Riva (Congo, 2010), set in Kinshasa

This is included because it is a rarity – an African film with a theatrical release in the UK, which did quite well. It is a noir Congolese crime film full of guns, sex and money. It is good, entertaining viewing as a Congolese gang steals a truckload of gasoline from an Angolan crime lord, who then proceeds to Kinshasa to try and get it back.


Microphone (Egypt, 2011), set in Alexandria

This film is part fiction, part documentary, a love letter to the underground arts scene in Alexandria. Fro hip hop rappers to mournful accordion players, graffiti artists and skateboarders, it is a vibrant, funny and brave snapshot of the world of art that happens beneath the radar of an ambivalent police state.


I.D. (India, 2012), set in Mumbai

Charu and her friends share a rented apartment in a sky-rise in Mumbai. All in their mid-twenties, and each from a different part of India, they have come here to make this bustling metro their home. One day a laborer comes to paint a wall in the flat. Irritated that her roommate did not tell her, she asks the man to hurry up. A few minutes later she finds him unconscious on the floor. Panicked and desperate to do what is right, Charu becomes involved in a series of incidents that take her through the city to determine his identity. The film was shot in real locations, and the process of making the film revealed unknown urban spaces to those involved. The city speaks through her myriad migrant peoples and raises the question of what defines us


Metro Manila (UK/Philippines, 2013), set in Manila

As an unpredictable movie with a poetic and searingly realistic migrant drama that gradually becomes a crime story, Metro Manila is a thoughtful drama/ heist movie set in the Philippines that not only captures a beautiful fly-on-the-wall view of the capital’s desperate underside, but also delivers some superb twists and turns as the central crime story starts to reveal itself.


Wild City (Hong Kong/China, 2015), set in Hong Kong

Master Hong Kong filmmaker Ringo Lam’s first written and directed feature film in 12 years is unhurried, stylish, neo-noir and completely unreal. Driven by Louis Koo’s jaded lead protagonist, the movie is visually stunning with spectacular images of the city providing the context. Koo’s cool anti-hero is a bartender and haunted ex-cop who reminds the viewer of Jason Bourne or Jack Reacher and similarly entices one to hope for a sequel.

Choose six different films, and answer question1 and 2, each question should have three different films.


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