It’s always interesting to see how creative people see the impact of architecture – and what message it can convey.
So I decided to spend a bit of the recent holiday period seeing how film-makers used cityscapes in their movies.
New York is an obvious start and the beautifully shot scenery that frames Woody Allen’s Manhattan with its George Gershwin score is, to my mind, far more interesting than the plot and associated handwringing that the characters seem to indulge in.
When I first came to Dubai I sent some pictures back to the UK and the phrase “Blade Runner City” was one I heard. Actually that’s a bit of a lazy comparison – Dubai has none of the threatening underbelly of Ridley Scott’s Los Angeles dystopia. But with its high rise apartments, neon signs, retrofits and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Ennis House maybe it’s the best use of architecture in film.
Then there’s The Third Man, all crumbing Euro-grandeur, and any number of recent BBC TV shows – Sherlock, Ashes to Ashes – which seem to be love letters to London (even if parts are filmed in Wales).
And of course Fritz Lang’s vision of the future urban landscape which dates from 1927, Metropolis “an architectural experience…both inspirational and prophetic” as Lord Norman Foster eloquently put it.
So – maybe there should be a new Oscar category for 2015 – best use of urban environment as backdrop.