In many films, it’s the setting and atmosphere that instantly captures our minds and attention. Sometimes we see a location on screen we’ve lived in, been to, or want to go to.
But what makes a great cinematic city? Is it the culture, the history, the people, the construction of a place? Perhaps it’s all of the above.
A city like Paris is one of the most consistently beautiful locations to be portrayed on screen (Woody Allen’s Midnight In Paris being the most recent example). But just because one auteur can create an homage to a city, doesn’t mean that same city can’t be conveyed poorly (think of the horrid 2009 picture 2 Days In Paris).
Point being, some cities are structurally more cinematic and, well, breathtaking. But what I find interesting is that different filmmakers can depict the same city so differently.
For example, Woody Allen’s heavily romanticized, jazzy, vivacious imagination of New York City in Manhattan, is the antithesis of Martin Scorsese’s brutal, ominous Taxi Driver, which is also set in the city that never sleeps.
With all those thoughts and ideas mentioned, I hope I’ve contributed to the conversation.
Now, here’s my grand, everlasting inquisition:
What’s your favorite city portrayed in the movies, and is there a film that opened your senses to that city?