Cinematic City
still from the film Cinematic City showing the north face of the Civic Centre, looking up from ground level to a deep blue sky with some skeins of high white cloud
Year of release: 2011
Original format: HD video
Running time: 7 minutes
Screening format: Blu-ray and DVD
Directed, filmed and edited by Stuart Moore
Producer: Kayla Parker
Thanks: Mike Brewis, Anna Navas
Production: Sundog Media
Commissioned by Plymouth Arts Centre, a Cinema City Artist’s Moving Image award funded by South West Screen and Arts Council England
Distribution and sales: Sundog Media

A contemporary look at Plymouth's postwar architecture, contextualized by archive audio from long forgotten local television documentaries.

Production notes
Cinematic City on the City in Motion site contains Stuart’s original proposal and other material relating to the film.

Extract from my email (13 July 2011) to Anna Navas, cinema programmer at Plymouth Arts Centre:

What's it about?
Over the last few weeks we've been out filming the post-war architecture of Plymouth city centre - we're looking particularly at the buildings from the 1950s and the 1960s, such as the Civic Centre, using our camera to record views

The soundtrack is a collage of voices from Westward TV and TSW, particularly the rich tones of Kenneth MacLeod. The idea is to capture echoes of the past in the present: local television programmes were made to be seen in a domestic environment, in people's homes. Both Westward and TSW based their television station in the heart of Plymouth, at Derry's Cross. The first local TV broadcast was in 1961, fifty years ago: this was a time of a lot of change in Plymouth with the rebuilt city centre and the new housing estates, all of which were part of Abercrombie's Plan for Plymouth.

We're using what was said 'then' to contrast what our camera can see 'now'. It's fascinating to hear the comments from the series The Phoenix and the Leviathan, produced in the 1980s by Frank Wintle - a lot of the people seem to be quite downbeat about Plymouth. Ken MacLeod describes how the city centre empties after work and at 6 o'clock the heart of Plymouth is deserted because everyone has gone home to Whitleigh for their tea and to watch telly! These days it's completely the opposite - we've been filming from around 5pm up to about 9 o'clock in the evening - it's really lively with lots of people out and about, chatting and doing stuff - skateboarders, cyclists, families strolling about, and opera being streamed onto the Big Screen from Covent Garden. The sun's shining, the buildings look gorgeous, and there's a really nice atmosphere! But, sadly, our local ITV is no more...

Recently several of the city centre post-war landmarks - the old NAAFI building and the Westward/TSW building - have been knocked flat and are waiting to be 'developed' into flats etc. Other buildings such as the Civic Centre are looking dilapidated, as if no one loves or cares for them anymore... in fact, when you look through a camera at the Civic Centre it's quite beautiful, you get lovely views looking across the pool between the Council House and the Civic Centre.

Why the title?
We've called the film Cinematic City. The rebuilt city centre has wide streets with low-rise buildings so you get big skies, lovely light and Cinemascope-wide views: there's a feeling when you're in the city centre that you're watching a film, with the buildings as a frame.

Marine Screen Marine City Festival, Royal William Yard, Plymouth; evening screening outdoors presented by Plymouth Arts Centre, Dartington Barn, and Peninsula Arts (15 September 2012). Other films screened are Yessling and Sea Front, showing before Jaws.

cinematic_city_lido_screening Cinema City Gala Film Screenings, open air films nights at Tinside Lido, Plymouth Hoe presented by Plymouth Arts Centre (premiere, 15 and 16 July 2011) Photo: Paula Orrell