Architecture and cinema are two separate art fields that are strongly related. Architecture applies narrative and storytelling to buildings, organising the experience and the views as a spatial montage highly influenced by their filmic representation.
Cinema keeps returning to architecture and cityscapes, not only in search of interesting settings for the mise-en-scene but of actual actors that promote the storyline. It has established ways of presenting architecture and urban space, while it has also provided architecture with new representational tools. Architects, filmmakers, and philosophers have interrogated the parameters of the relationship between architecture and cinema through time.
The following books offer an insight into architecture in cinema, exploring cityscape, screenscape, and their interconnection. They are must-reads that confirm that there is no limitation to the interaction between architecture and cinema.
1. The Architecture of Image: Existential Space in Cinema, Juhani Pallasma
The book explores the shared experiential ground of cinema, art, and architecture. The book presents how the classic directors Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, Michelangelo Antonioni, and Andrei Tarkovsky used architectural imagery to create emotional states in their movies. He points similarities between the landscapes of painting and landscapes of movies.
2. Film Theory: An introduction, Robert Stam
The selected essays provide diverse perspectives on film theory. The book deepens the architect’s understanding of tropes and narrative conventions that shape films.
3. Projected Cities: Cinema and Urban Space, Stephen Barber
Projected cities examine the historical relationship between film and the urban landscape. Focusing on the cinema of Europe and Japan, two closely linked cinematic cultures that have been foremost in the use of urban imagery, to reveal elements of culture, architecture, and history.
The book argues that films have shaped our perception of the world and that the cinematic city reflects the way we imagine, formulate, and remember the actual city. The writer interrogates the role of media culture in establishing the filmic imagery and creating renderings of the actual city.
4. Film Form: Essays in Film Theory, Sergei Eisenstein, Jay Leyda (Editor)
Eisenstein wrote twelve essays between 1928 and 1945 to analyse film theory and film as a sound-image medium. The book starts with the essay “Through Film to Theater” in which Eisenstein presents the differences between film and theater and after linking the Japanese culture to montage, he goes into detail over the five types of montage.
He continues with essays on the Film Language and Structure, giving information on the evolution of cinema. The final essay, “Dickens, Griffith and Film Today” compares montage structures in literature and American film.
5. The cinematic City, David Clarke
The Cinematic City analyses selected films of diverse genres, cities, and historical periods. The book focuses on the relation between film elements and depicted cities and provides a detailed analysis of diverse filmic forms related to the urban environment.
The selected filmography varies from early cinema and documentary film, to film noir, ‘New Wave’ and ‘postmodern cinema’.
6. Spaces in European Cinema, Myrto Konstantarakos (Editor)
The book interrogates the different ways space is constructed in European cinema and how the narrative engages ideological and artistic concerns. Including a filmography from the 1920s to the 1990s, the volume is a critical approach to the sociopolitical mappings of the city through cinema.
7. Cities and Cinema, Barbara Mennel
Cities and Cinema covers the different ways of the cinematic depiction of cities. It analyses the history of the cinematic city throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries and how the cinematic city defined modernity. Films are a sociological comment on each era.
The writer focuses on noir and ghetto films and the depictions of marginalized identities in urban spaces.
8. Architecture and Film, Mark Lamster
Architecture and Film examines how architecture and architects are depicted on film and how cinema shaped the collective perception of urban, suburban, and rural spaces. The book presents selected essays from various disciplines.
9. The movement Image, Gilles Deleuze
The Movement Image is a revolutionary work in philosophy about cinema. Gilles Deleuze argues that cinema is not a language that requires probing and interpretation, but a composition of images and signs that can be easily understood.
10. Film Architecture: From Metropolis to Blade Runner, Dietrich Neumann (Editor)
The book explores the set designs of films produced in Weimar, Germany, and later films such as King Vidor’s The Fountainhead and Jacques Tati’s Playtime. Beginning with the dreamy sets of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari the selected texts examine the psychological aspect of the sets and the influence of Expressionism on cinematic spaces from the 1920s to the recent past.