August is a month for holidays – but with the economy in the state it’s in, perhaps you aren’t flushed with cash right now. Never fear! Curl up with one of these films and take a trip to the fabulous city of your choice without leaving your sofa. Films can capture the unique character that each city has, and in the best, the city is as much the star as any of the actors. Here are 7 films that capture something real special about the cities they take place in
To pick a fictional and futuristic city is slightly cheating, but Metropolis has been so influential on films and film cities that it can’t be left out. Fritz Lang’s silent film presents a German expressionist dystopia in which society is cut cleanly in two: the poor are literally kept underground, working slave shifts on giant machines, while the rich frolic in the utopian Eternal Gardens. Freder (Gustav Fröhlich), the son of a powerful city planner, falls in love with the poor Maria (Brigitte Helm) and follows her to the factory where she inspires the workers with her sermonsMetropolis soars from the heights of the city to the monstrous, dark machines, which is no small task considering that it was made in 1927. The city dwarfs its inhabitants, and the buildings seem to be trying to crowd each other out of the skyline. Metropolis‘ art-deco architecture and juxtaposition of the high and the low in grand cities has inspired cinematic visions since it was made and will continue to influence our view of the city
Director: David Lynch
Cast: Naomi Watts, Laura Harring, Justin Theroux, Ann Miller, Dan Hedaya, Robert Forster, Katharine Towne, Lee Grant, Brent Briscoe, Scott Coffey, Billy Ray Cyrus, Lori Heuring, Chad Everett, James Karen, Melissa Lahlitah Crider, Bonnie Aarons, Melissa George
David Lynch’s film presents Los Angeles through his characteristically surreal lens, but that is perfect for the often bizarre and fantastic experience that is LA. The land of movie stars and palm trees is the place of dreams and nightmares, and there’s no one like David Lynch to toe the line between the two. In it, Naomi Watts plays an aspiring actress new to Hollywood (or is she?), who is sucked into a mystery surrounding an amnesiac woman and a series of baffling clues
Mulholland Drive is largely a collection of vignettes and nonlinear scenes, mixed between imagination and reality. Its landscape, though, is definitely Los Angeles – a city of changing identities, newly-made fortunes, and downward spirals
Director: Wolfgang Becker
Cast: Daniel Brühl, Katrin Saß, Chulpan Khamatova, Maria Simon, Florian Lukas, Alexander Beyer, Burghart Klaußner, Marc Bischoff, Hanna Schwamborn, Arndt Schwering-Sohnrey, Jürgen Vogel, Mennan Yapo, Armin Dillenberger, Michael Gempart, Christine Schorn, Regina Ziebach
Each of the films on this list captures a city in a particular era, but Goodbye Lenin! is perhaps the only film in which the characters are themselves trying to reproduce a unique urban time and place. Goodbye Lenin! begins in 1989 in East Berlin, where Alex (Daniel Brühl) lives with his sister and his mother Christiane (Katrin Saß). Christiane, an ardent supporter of the Socialist party, suffers a heart attack and while in a coma, Germany is reunited. Told by the doctors that any great shock might kill her, Alex, his sister, and his friend decide to pretend the Berlin Wall still stands
Their elaborate ruse, including gaudy wallpaper and fake news reports, shows how quickly life-altering change can come. Goodbye Lenin! is about the death of a city, and also the death of a lifestyle, and displays the futility of hanging onto what has long passed. But Goodbye Lenin! also acknowledges the power of nostalgia: all reflected in the changing streets of Berlin
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