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Using the Library during COVID-19

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Documentary Celebrations of the City

Adieu, Babylone! (Farewell, Babylon!) (1992)

Directed by Fernando Arrabal. Documentary alternating between clips from different movies and footage of Arrabal's trip to New York City in the early nineties. Arrabal is able to capture some truly odd imagery in his travels around the city which juxtaposes the filmed clips and more conventional travelogue footage. Arrabal based this on his novel of the same name and managed to get a few unlikely guest stars to appear, including Spike Lee. 55 min.

Amsterdam Global Village (Netherlands, 1966)

Directed by Johan van der Keuken. A fond depiction of filmmaker Johan van der Keuken's home town of Amsterdam and its people. The film revolves around Khalid, a moped courier who guides the viewer along as he races around town with his cargo of films and photographs. The camera serenely glides through the city's canals, down its streets and across its squares to encounter old and new Amsterdammers who represent a variety of characters from all corners of the globe. 229 min.

Related web sites: Johan van der Keuken web site

Barcelona in 48 Hours

A film composed of a collection of black and white still photographs, taken over a period of 48 hours in Barcelona. The film is both an impressionistic portrait of a contemporary dance artist and a meditation on movement of the body, through dancing and traveling. The raw material of hundreds and hundreds of photographs was edited to create a story and dream-like movement. Performed by David Zambrano and Mat Woorter, with appearances by Dietmar Diesner, Pepe Ferrer, Simone Forti, Jennifer Monson, Alex Rendon, Judith Sanchez. A film by Anja Hitzenberger and Edward Ratliff.

Beppie (Netherlands, 1965)

Directed by Johan van der Keuken. Recounts the adventures of a ten-year-old Amsterdam girl as the filmmaker follows her through her daily life in the city. 38 min.

Bridges-Go-Round (1958)

Directed by Shirley Clarke. Made out of footage rejected by the U.S. State Department for its commissioned "Brussels loops" project, in this film Clarke makes New York City bridges dance using fast editing and superimposition. Clarke made two versions of this film using different soundtracks over an identical picture. One version uses an electronic music score written by Louis and Bebe Barron; the other version uses a jazz score written by Teo Macero. The film is currently released with both versions spliced onto one reel, creating an eight-minute film. 3:42 min.
See also:

Calcutta (France, 1969)

Directed by Louis Malle. When he was cutting Phantom India, Louis Malle found that the footage shot in Calcutta was so diverse, intense, and unforgettable that it deserved its own film. The result, released theatrically, is a chaotic portrait of a city racked with social and political turmoil. 99 min.

City Symphony

Films by Dominic Angerame. A collection of five distinct films centering around the city environment in a constant state of change, focusing on images of construction and destruction of modern structures in the urban environment. Continuum Continuum centers on the people who perform hard manual labor, such as tarring roofs, digging up streets, etc. 1987. 15 min. Deconstruction Sight Shows how in the modern methods of construction activities men and women have become insignificant behind mammoth tools of destruction. The machines have taken over. 1955. 13 min.


Ten short films by artists from 9 different countries, all working on urban subjects. The films offer a new way of appreciating the aesthetics of our global cities as they are perceived by cutting-edge video artists and experimental filmakers.

Der Riese (Germany, 1983)

A film by Michael Klier. The filmmaker uses material drawn from surveillance cameras scattered throughout Germany to create a 1980s version of the "city film." Parades, subway platforms, and traffic in the rain flit through its mechanical consciousness. 80 min.


Patrice Leconte travels to Cambodia to create a sound and image symphony -- free of dialogue or narration -- of a land and its people. From the city streets to rural villages, from factories to farmlands and beyond, presents the men, women and children of this Southeast Asian nation at work and play. Directed by Patrice Leconte. 2004. 80 min.