CLME G4042 Cinematic Cities | Comparative Modernities

D. Mukherjee

This graduate seminar explores the representational, imaginative, and analytical connections between cinema and the urban experience. Theories of modernity frequently hold up the city as the most emblematic site for locating the modern (eg. Benjamin, Simmel, Kracaueur). Cinema, too, as art and apparatus, can be said to have embodied the ‘shocks’ of the modern (Singer, Gunning, Eisenstein). This course introduces students to a significant corpus of interdisciplinary literature on cinema and mediated urbanisms. Every week we will view a film that represents or conceptually speaks to the ideas discussed in class, be they questions of urban informality or flaneur theory, speed and verticality or the gendered city. By insisting on a comparative approach, the seminar seeks to put existing theories of cinematic urbanisms that pertain to Berlin, Paris, or Los Angeles, into dialogue with ‘other’ cinematic sites such as Mumbai, Algiers, Mexico City, Dakar, or Kuala Lumpur.