SkyscraperCity Forum banner
1 - 6 of 6 Posts

806 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
If you get a chance, watch this film!

Something's happening on the edge of town.

There's a desperate housewife in the parking lot, a musical chorus line mowing the lawn - and a loaded gun in the upstairs closet.

Welcome to Radiant City, an entertaining and startling new film on 21st century suburbanites.

Gary Burns, Canada's king of surreal comedy, joins journalist Jim Brown on an outing to the burbs. Venturing into territory both familiar and foreign, they turn the documentary genre inside out, crafting a vivid account of life in The Late Suburban Age.

Sprawl is eating the planet. Across the continent the landscape is being levelled - blasted clean of distinctive features and overlaid with zombie monoculture. Politicians call it growth. Developers call it business. The Moss family call it home.

While Evan Moss zones out in commuter traffic, Ann boils over in her dream kitchen and the kids play sinister games amidst the fresh foundations of monster houses.

A chorus of cultural prophets provide insight on the spectacle. James Howard Kunstler, author of The Geography of Nowhere, rails against the brutalizing aesthetic of strip malls. Philosopher Joseph Heath fears the soul-eating burbs but admits they offer good value for money. And urban planner Beverly Sandalack dares to ask, Why can't we walk anywhere anymore?

The dark era of resource scarcity is looming fast, threatening to strike suburbia "off the menu of history." But like a juggernaut, it sails intractably forward, flattening all in its path.

Burns and Brown rummage through a toybox of cultural references, from Jane Jacobs to The Sopranos, to create a provocative reflection on why we live the way we do. Riffing off sitcoms and reality TV, they play fast and loose with a range of cinematic devices to consider what happens when cities get sick and mutate.

Cinematographer Patrick McLaughlin transforms drab suburbia into great painterly cloudscapes, mesmerizing rivers of traffic and eerie tableaux of dystopia while the soundtrack features songs from Joey Santiago of The Pixies.

Something's happening on the edge of town. They call it Radiant City. Welcome to the neighbourhood.

855 Posts
yes i agree on the ending, but it does make people more aware of issues facing cities right now, it was on CBC a month or two ago.

my favorite part is the real estate agent

878 Posts
I saw this over a year ago at the Uptown Theatre here in Calgary, as did about half the Calgary forum on SSP (so nobody come recommending it to us).

The end was a little flat, and I was hoping for some new insights, which I didn't really get from the film. Still, it was rather neat seeing local figures that I know/have met on screen. Notably Bev Sandalack, who is the head of the Urban Design department at the University of Calgary, head of a landscape design firm, and on several City boards including Calgary Planning Commission. Also, Marc Boutin, the guy you see on the bus, who is the namesake of an architectural firm here in Calgary that is working on the revitalization of Eau Claire.

It's also worth noting that a lot of the film was shot in the Deep South of Calgary, within 5Km of my parent's place but as close as 1Km. However, some of it was also shot outside of Calgary, IIRC in Houston as well as in the GTA. Kunstler's appearance was predictable and I'm glad I didn't have to hear him rant about how much he hates Calgary.
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.