Architectures of Revolt

The Cinematic City circa 1968

Edited by Mark Shiel
Outstanding Academic Title, Choice, 2019
Book Cover

PB: $36.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-1004-7
Publication: Jun 18

HC: $99.50
EAN: 978-1-4399-1003-0
Publication: Jun 18

Ebook: $36.95
EAN: 978-1-4399-1005-4
Publication: Jun 18

262 pages
6 x 9
34 halftones

A groundbreaking exploration of how filmmaking, architecture, and urban planning shaped and were shaped by mass protest movements in and around 1968

Read an excerpt from the Introduction (pdf).


Coinciding with the fiftieth anniversary of the worldwide mass protest movements of 1968—against war, imperialism, racism, poverty, misogyny, and homophobia—the exciting anthology Architectures of Revolt explores the degree to which the real events of political revolt in the urban landscape in 1968 drove change in the attitudes and practices of filmmakers and architects alike.

In and around 1968, as activists and filmmakers took to the streets, commandeering public space, buildings, and media attention, they sought to re-make the urban landscape as an expression of utopian longing or as a dystopian critique of the established order. In Architectures of Revolt, the editor and contributors chronicle city-specific case studies from Paris, Berlin, Milan, and Chicago to New York, Los Angeles, Mexico City, and Tokyo. The films discussed range from avant-garde and agitprop shorts to mainstream narrative feature films. All of them share a focus on the city and, often, particular streets and buildings as places of political contestation and sometimes violence, which the medium of cinema was uniquely equipped to capture.

Contributors include: Stephen Barber, Stanley Corkin, Jesse Lerner, Jon Lewis, Gaetana Marrone, Jennifer Stob, Andrew Webber and the editor.


" Mark Shiel has produced the first volume of its kind and, indeed, Architectures of Revolt is a must-read book on film and architecture that maps a fascinating journey into the intertwining paths between political revolution and revolutionary cinematic practices."
Richard Koeck, University of Liverpool, Director of the Centre for Architecture and Visual Arts

Exploring a range of global cities through the lens of film theory, urban studies, architecture, and theories of everyday life, this book is a brilliant intervention into cinema’s role in the history of urban rebellions. Organized around the volatile events in and around 1968, the essays offer important new insights into how filmmakers both depicted and organized urban protests. What makes this volume especially unique is its emphasis on the city’s role in shaping the space of cinema itself as a vehicle for imagining social change. Timely in every way, Architectures of Revolt resonates with urgent concerns about social movements, media activism, and the networked landscapes of contemporary cities.
Lynn Spigel, Frances E. Willard Professor of Screen Cultures at Northwestern University, and author of TV by Design: Modern Art and the Rise of Network Television

"(An) often insightful collection of academic essays look at the cinematic portrayal of nine cities in relation to the political protests of 1968...(T)his collection will yield some enriching gems of scholarship to the serious film scholar." —Publishers Weekly

"Mark Shiel has skillfully assembled a variety of essays, which collectively explore the urban-based political events of the time and the accompanying changes in the cinematic art form.... (T)he anthology as a whole is an excellent chronicle of the rebellious spirit of youth in the late 1960s and their protests in urban spaces and the accompanying changes in the art of cinema.... Architectures of Revolt is a stimulating tour of protest at a pivotal point in the 20th century and the filmic reactions to it on four continents.... The book makes one think, which, in the end, is what one hopes from an anthology of this type. Mark Shiel delivers." — Journal of Urban Affairs

"Although studies of art and politics and their many intersections in the late 1960s abound, editor Mark Shiel’s collection, Architectures of Revolt , is unique in its geographical scope. The variety of cities examined in the eight essays are a testament to 1968’s ongoing importance on a global scale.... (T)his collection is a persuasive and illuminating addition to studies of the interconnections among the social, political, cinematic and architectural movements of that tumultuous, ever-prescient year.... (W)ell-written and often provocative." —Film International

" The concept for this volume is brilliant, and Shiel's execution is stunning. Architectures of Revolt comprises essays that address the relationship between cinema, the city, and architecture in the pivotal year 1968. Paris, Milan, Berlin, Chicago, New York City, Los Angeles, Mexico City, and Tokyo are all examined through this lens. What makes this collection work so well is the editor's guiding hand. Shiel made sure that the essays all speak to each other rather than simply adhere to a rough theme (as in so many edited works).... The contributors utilize well-known films of 1968 (e.g., Midnight Cowboy, Medium Cool, Zabriskie Point ) but also rarely seen films of those who used collective revolutionary means in documenting and distributing their works.... Summing Up: Essential." —Choice

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Introduction: Cinema, Architecture, and Cities circa 1968 • Mark Shiel
1. The Cinétracts, Détournement, and Social Space in Paris • Jennifer Stob
2. Milan, the Cine City of 1968: Metamorphosis and Identity • Gaetana Marrone
3. Inextinguishable Fire—or How to Make a Film in Berlin in 1968 • Andrew J. Webber
4. Slouching toward Chicago in Search of Peace and Love: Medium Cool and Chicago 1968 • Jon Lewis
5. New York, 1968 • Stanley Corkin
6. "It's a Big Garage." Cinematic Images of Los Angeles circa 1968 • Mark Shiel
7. Cinema and the Mexico City of 1968 • Jesse Lerner
8. Tokyo 1969: Revolutionary Image-Thieves in the Disintegrating City • Stephen Barber
Film Title Index
Subject Index

About the Author(s)

Mark Shiel is Reader in Film Studies and Urbanism in the Department of Film Studies at King’s College London. He is the author of Hollywood Cinema and the Real Los Angeles and Italian Neorealism: Rebuilding the Cinematic City, and the co-editor of Screening the City and Cinema and the City: Film and Urban Societies in a Global Context.


In the Series

  • Urban Life, Landscape, and Policy edited by David Stradling, Larry Bennett, and Davarian Baldwin

    The Urban Life, Landscape, and Policy Series, edited by David Stradling, Larry Bennett, and Davarian Baldwin, was founded by the late Zane L. Miller to publish books that examine past and contemporary cities. While preserving the series’ foundational focus on the policy, planning, and environmental issues so central to metropolitan life, we also join scholarly efforts to push the boundaries of urban studies. We are committed to publishing work at the shifting intersections of cultural production, community formation, and political economy that shape cities at all scales, from the neighborhood to the transnational.