ArcLight Presents: Architecture Afternoons with CAF. Arclight Cinemas has partnered with the Chicago Architecture Foundation to present an afternoon of film and architecture.
Monthly Film Series
This monthly film series that explores how filmmakers use our city and its architecture to tell. The selected films will be screened and followed by a discussion and Q&A with expert panelists on compelling themes related to the film as they pertain to architecture and design, filmmaking, and Chicago.
Location and cost
Location: ArcLight Cinemas, 1500 North Clybourn, Suite C301, (847) 729-7291 Parking and transit info. COTC: this theater doesn’t allow large bags or backpacks.
Movie and lecture tickets are Adults $14.50; Seniors (60+) $11.75. For the cost of a film you also get a lecture from a knowledgeable CAF docent. This is a particularly good deal if you haven’t seen these movies and you enjoy architecture. If you’ve never seen the March film, Metropolis, on the big screen here’s your chance.
Sunday, February 19, 2017, 2PM Stranger Than Fiction (2006) Reserve tickets here.
Discussion topics: Mid-Century Modern, International Style, creating feelings with architecture, how architecture influences one’s sense of place and identity
Synopsis: The comedy Stranger than Fiction (2006) follows a character named Harold Crick (Will Ferrell) on his surreal quest to find out why his life is being narrated by a disembodied voice (Emma Thompson). The film was shot in Chicago but intentionally made to look like any large city through the clever use of the Mid-Century Modern and International Styles of architecture.
Observant watchers will notice clear use of well-known Chicago locations such as the CNA Building, River City and multiple locations at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Several neighborhood spots made it into the film as well, including a cafe in Little Village and the Logan Theatre. Near the end of the film, the architecture shifts toward the contextual in a move that makes the film feel less claustrophobic and anonymous. The Wrigley Building, a Chicago icon and certainly not a Mid-Century Modern structure, even shows up at the end of the film after this tonal shift.
Sunday, March 12, 2017 2PM Metropolis (1927) Reserve tickets here.
Discussion topics: Art Deco, architecture and the economy, architectural symbolism, construction and investment
Synopsis: In the German silent film Metropolis (1927), architecture is used to communicate status. The wealthy elite rule from tall, thin skyscrapers while workers live underground. The director, Fritz Lang, even stated that he came up with the idea for the film after seeing American skyscrapers.
The appearance of the fictional city of Metropolis is a blend of Art Deco and other modern architectural movements. The film is relevant to cities today—including Chicago—as residents grapple with the issues of income inequality, booming downtowns and under-resourced neighborhoods. Nearly 90 years after the release of Metropolis, buildings are still used as symbols of power, and construction and development are still important factors in the livelihoods of urban residents.
Sunday, April 23, 2017 2PM The Dark Knight Reserve tickets here.
Discussion topics: Location scouting, modifying architecture to create a mood, what makes Chicago recognizable as itself and what makes it “Gotham”?
Synopsis: Quite a few superhero movies have been filmed in Chicago. Batman and Superman are the caped figures seen most often in the city—Batman Begins (2005), Man of Steel (2013) and Batman v Superman (2016) all feature scenes filmed in Chicago. But it’s The Dark Knight (2008) that really uses a variety of the city’s architecture—few films explore more of Chicago than this blockbuster hit.
It opens with an intricate sequence filmed at the Old Main Post Office, where the massive Art Deco building stands in for a bank. A chase sequence makes use of lower Wacker Drive and a parade marches down LaSalle Street, terminating at the soaring Chicago Board of Trade Building. The Chicago Theater also gets its moment in the spotlight. Modern buildings get a chance to shine, too—Batman rides his fancy motorcycle through Millennium Station and stands atop Willis (Sears) Tower to survey the city. The black exterior of the skyscraper even matches the caped crusader’s enigmatic look. Though The Dark Knight is set in fictional Gotham City, Chicago’s real-life architecture is instantly recognizable throughout the film.