Cinema and the Walled City

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Film space is a representation of urban space. To benefit from the representational images of a city to build its portrait, one can explore the immaterial reconstruction of cities in film. Does this argument fail though, if the urban area portrayed in the film is a walled city? Can the film director ignore or overcome the physical (and mental) division defined by impenetrable walls in urban scale? This study aims to raise these questions focusing mainly on Belfast ‘peace’ walls in Northern Ireland, Berlin wall in Germany, and West Bank wall in Palestine/Israel.

Cinema and Architecture in the City Collaborative Research Group ( organised a film season, Walled Cities, in 2017 in Queen’s Film Theatre in Belfast, UK. Three films were screened and discussed to open up a conversation about divided cities through fiction films: ’71 (Yann Demange, 2014), Wings of Desire/Der Himmel uber Berlin (Wim Wenders, 1987) and Omar (Hany Abu-Assad, 2013). The season was well received by the guest speakers and the audience, and the second and third seasons followed. This chapter takes these walled city films and analyses them from an architectural viewpoint benefitting from the discussions at the QFT.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNarrating the City: Mediated Representations of Architecture, Urban Forms and Social Life
EditorsAysegul Akcay Kavakoglu, Turkan Nihan Hacıomeroglu, Lisa Landrum, Graham Cairns
Place of PublicationBristol
PublisherIntellect Books
Number of pages17
ISBN (Print)9781789382716
Publication statusPublished - 02 Mar 2021

Publication series

NameMediated City Series


  • Fiction Film
  • Urban Architecture
  • Walled City
  • Divided Communities
  • Belfast
  • Berlin
  • West Bank
  • Palestine
  • Israel


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