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4 | Institutions and the public</br>Frame from the film Housing problems, 1935

4 | Institutions and the public

by Leonardo Ciacci

Of the two films presented, Some Activities of Bermondsey Borough Council, of 1931, is the one that best represents the theme of this collection. Bermondsey Council, as Elizabeth Lebas effectively recounts, presents itself to its citizens through film as a privileged political interlocutor. The films were produced by technicians from the council itself and look at all aspects of the activities it dedicates both to the provision of services and to beautification work in the borough. The council is essentially seeking the active participation of its citizens and, with this, to stimulate new attitudes, behaviours and life style. The Gas Company, again in 1930s London, also promoted films intended to modify the relationship of the residents of the old slums with their homes, at the same time offering them the possibility of moving to a new flat in one of the new buildings in the functional estates then being constructed. The gas company thinks that more gas will be used in the new homes; it doesn't want to miss the chance of presenting itself as one of the active agents of modernisation.

About "Movies"
When this feature began, rather adventurously, none of us had any precise idea of what was involved in producing "filmed reviews". The same definition now used to indicate the short films (30 seconds) that we continue, with successive updates, to place on the website, was not clear from the start. We began with the idea of "trailers" for films, then discovered as we went on that this was different. Our inserts are more like reviews, reasoned critiques, than the brief advert for a product to be sold. Those whom we have asked to produce new updates of the feature are gradually becoming aware of the complexity of these reviews. So it seems right, so long after our first issue, to draw the attention of visitors to the names of those, who -though not having signed the sheets published - have until now collaborated in the concrete production of the films. Apart from the two films by Pierre Chenal of 1930: Bâtir and Architecture d'aujourd'hui, whose filmed reviews were scripted by Alessandra Redivo, architect, Venice, and edited by Mauro Marri, a student of architecture at the IUAV in Venice, all the other updates were scripted by the editor of the feature. Of these, the first film clip devoted to The City was experimentally edited by Roberto Zancan, then working on a doctorate in urban planning at the IUAV, Venice, and now lecturer in the School of Architecture in Siracusa. The subsequent updates devoted to Neues Bauen in Frankfurt am Maine, 1928, Die Stadt von Morghen. Ein Film vom Städtebau, 1930, Una giornata nella casa popolare, 1933, and Pour mieux comprendre Paris, 1935, Una lezione d'urbanistica, 1954, La città degli uomini, 1954, Cronache dell'urbanistica italiana, 1954, were edited by Stefano Minuz, Spi Comunicazione in Venice. Finally the two films of the latest update, Some Activities of Bermondsey Borough Council, 1931, and Housing Problems, 1935, were edited by Silvia Zanini, architect, IUAV in Venice. The feature has so far been entirely financed by research funds from the Department of History of Architecture at the Venice School of Architecture (IUAV)