Dreamscapes and Skyscrapers: Buildings and Cinematic Expression

Wild urban planning can reflect movies’ mental states.

Architectural analogy to thought and imagination is an old and vibrant tradition, one sparked even brighter by cinema. Set design and the increasing power of CGI effects allow for otherworldly thoughts to be conveyed through making the familiarity of urban life into fantasia.

These can be pleasing or unsettling, beautiful or terrible cities of promise, but promises they do make. From Akira to Kon-Tiki and everything in between, urban life houses the futuristic corruptibility of fallible technological progress. This leads inevitably to the strange and unfamiliar, an uncanniness set in metal, plastic, and stone.

Editor Menno Kooistra created a supercut of some of film’s most striking cities and how they construct new mental realities with their physical form.

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