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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 9, No. 4 April 17, 1946

"The City"

"The City"

With a history of twenty-five years the film is established as the most vigorous art form of today. In the welter of tawdry, bombastic, clever, colossal, productions there has appeared a wealth of technical skill and an occasional film that places the medium on a level with man's highest arts. Some of these few great films have been shown publicly, but many of them are stowed away in vaults and film-libraries; for example, the American documentary film "The City." it is available in the National-Film Unit's library, but how many readers and film-goers have seen it?

In the early 1930's the Carnegie Institute granted a group of American town-planners a few thousand dollars to make a film proclaiming their ideas. Lewis Mumford wrote the commentary. They made "The City," presenting with sincerity and force the hideous nature of the modern skyscraper-factory city and, beside it, the town planners' alternative.

It is convincing and unforgettable. But I mention it because it is film-art of the highest class. After a diet of the usual feature films we are apt to forget what is essentially film-art. We forget that the technique of the film is the arrangement of a number of still shots and camera sequences into an artistic whole, done so as to present most strikingly the film's theme. The film is basically a pictorial art which leaves the painter where its greatest asset, mobile composition, begins.

"The City" is a great pictorial drama, enhanced by the music of Aaron Copeland and a fine commentary. Why not have an organisation to which you belong borrow it from the Film Unit?