Watch NFB: Radiant City

Editor: Spacing is pleased to continue our partnership with the National Film Board of Canada to showcase films and interactive projects from their online screening room. Julie Matlin of the NFB will be occasionally posting films here on Spacing that explore public spaces, Canadian or international cities and anything urban. The NFB is one of Canada’s greatest resources. Click here to view their entire online collection.

Radiant City is one of those films that turn the documentary genre on its head.

Director Gary Burns (Waydowntown) joins journalist Jim Brown on an outing into the Calgary suburbs and together they demonstrate how urban sprawl is eating the planet. They look at the brutalizing aesthetic of strip malls and listen to fears about the soul-eating suburbs. Making heavy use of cultural references, they riff off sitcoms and reality TV and drop names from Jane Jacobs to The Sopranos while all the while using a wide range of cinematic devices to examine what happens when cities get sick and mutate.

Happy viewing.