There is a powerful and important
link between film and urban culture, that has developed throughout the
past century of film history. Siegfried Kracauer, ascertains that the link
arises out of the fact that both the cinema and the city pertain to the
transient. The street, like the cinema, is the site where transient impressions
take place. (From Theory of Film, 1960)
The city comes alive within the cinema, in the same way that the streets come alive in the morning with a fresh influx of pedestrians. Kracauer says again "the life of the street" transforms itself "into the street of life," giving rise to the cosmopolitan cinema audience. The movie theatre housed the city, which was itself a movie house, a theatre of modernity"s journeys.
Given the affinity between city and film, it is no surprise that we can look back on almost 100 years of film history and find the city occupying such an important place. With the rise of modernity, film-makers used the city to demonstrate fear and enthusiasm for the future that was rapidly becoming present-day reality.
Film allows us to examine some of the roles that the city plays in our lives. These films help us to further define the concept of the city of the present, by examining the role it has played in the past and the position we place it in, in the future.