For the third chapter of his design trilogy, director Gary Hustwit (‘Helvetica’, ‘Objectified’) casts a rarefied eye at urban planning and the philosophical motivations behind constructing and living in cities. It’s a gorgeously photographed documentary as Hustwit manages to make even the most banal of cityscapes appear appealingly utopian. Also, the quality and diversity of interviews he gets from a variety of insiders (big hitters include Norman Foster and Oscar Niemeyer) are exceptional, not just down to the ruthlessly articulate and passionate content of their testimonies, but the fascinating fact that no single ideological ideal appears to emerge. When it moves from the macro (basically ‘Koyaanisqatsi’ with commentary) to the micro (local energy saving projects, a green uprising in Stuttgart), the film strays from the track somewhat. But concerned inhabitants of the global village would do well to track this one down.
Friday December 16 2011