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.


  1. Nice!! I love this movie, we watched it in one of my first year planning classes last year.

  2. This is a great Canadian film! I first saw it at the DC Environmental Film Festival three years ago and raved about it ever since.

  3. Excellent movie/documentary. I watched it last year. A thought provoking piece.

  4. Everyone in that family seems to have an odd speaking affectation where every sentence trails off before they can finish a complete thought.

  5. That was really, really good. Make sure to watch the whole thing if you watch it though.

  6. What a great reaction! Thanks! I was so excited when we put it online last week.

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