01 August 2010


Donika Pemova for DokuDaily
Movie Review
Cities on Speed
Sunday, 01.08, 16:00-20:00 – Kino Lumbardhi
Monday, 02.08, 20:15-22:15 -- Kino ne Kala
Tuesday, 03.08, 20:15-22:15 -- Kino ne Kala

Fact: In 1990, 10 percent of the world lived in cities. Today, it is 50 percent. By 2050 it will be 80 percent, which would be about 7.2 billion people.

Non-fiction: If the 20th century saw the city as a utopia space – a dream place where everything was possible – the megacities of the 21st century may very well turn out to be our nightmare, our nemesis. These are the words of Kristoffer Horn, project manager of “Cities on Speed.” It is 100 percent worthwhile spending at least one out of four hours on any of the following films (especially on one of them – check out the ratings):

#1 Shanghai Space: “Rats don’t have many days left either.”

This is not the typical movie about a city on speed. It’s a calmly flowing, beautifully shot film about lost space and dream space. The movie swirls around two main characters, both of whom are desperate romantics and idealists in a city where a new building is built each day. Xixan Xu is a photographer who has for more than 30 years documented a vast archive of photos of Shanghai spaces that do not exist anymore. His black-and-white photography is a central character as well. Yu Shu is an urban planning professor who sometimes sounds like a mad scientists in the style of Jules Vernes. He wants to build a whole urban ecosystem underground (yeah, with artificial sun and all). Lesson learned: Even when all your life you had no proper home, the moment you get the chance to buy one in Shanghai, you are bothered and irritated instead of enthusiastic – you are desperate. So why do we live in the big city in the first place? Environmental question: Will trees that are more than a thousand years old in Shanghai survive the amoeba-like cloning of buildings? Rating: 8.5/10


#2 Mumbai Disconnected: “Another exciting day in the city of dreams, with pollution levels off the charts!”

Speed dive into a brilliantly entertaining film, from its very first shot! Nobody knows just how many people live in Mumbai. But they are enough millions to make life very difficult – for the poor and also, as it seems, for the rich. Yasin dreams of owning a car. You watch Yasin do his thing in Mumbai and you will never forget his face, his words, his pain, and his hyperactive positive attitude. Veena is rich – she likes to talk to her parrot. She doesn’t like the building of flyovers over her picturesque neighbourhood. You listen to Veena talk and you’ll see how wanting to save a tree or two and to have clean air is everybody’s right, and it is not an elitist snobbish demand. And Mr. Das… well, Mr. Das works on the construction of flyovers. He is surrounded by idiots. A lot of idiots. Lesson learned: American roads are good, not because America is rich. America is rich because American roads are good. Environmental question: You can only think about the environment if your stomach is full. Rating: 9/10


# 3 Cairo Garbage: “Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what lies within.”

This film shows us what happens when too many people move to the big city. It introduces us to a community of garbage people who collect other people’s garbage and sort it out for recycling. That is how they make their living. But with the explosion of population numbers, their “craft” cannot handle all the garbage being produced. What to do with the explosion of garbage? There is no answer at the moment. This dead-end situation is presented to the viewer with an ironic narrative voice, an ironic camera, and with ironic music to match the footage. Lesson learned: Garbage is a monster that very few people can tame. Environmental question: Have you ever thought of recycling as not necessarily an environmentally-friendly action but just as a way to make money out of garbage? Rating: 7/10


#4 Bogot√° Change: “If you are not honest, you can’t do anything. It breaks. Like material.”
Antanas Mockus, mayor of Bogota, 2001-2003 and 1995-1997.

Antanas Mockus & Enrique Penalosa. Remember these names. This film is probably one of the most inspiring things you will have the chance to see. This is the story of how a city changes for the better and manages to sustain the positive development. How? Through philosophy, morals, dedication, dignity, integrity, and a no-compromise approach. Does it sound impossible that two mayors had these qualities? Maybe on the Balkans it is hard to believe, but Bogota Change shows us their amazing story. And the facts are their: crime rates drop while no additional police is hired, traffic is eased and slums are rebuilt. How? Mockus and Penalosa. Remember the names of true change. Lesson learned: With proper political leadership, absolutely anything is possible. Environmental question: If we, human beings, are part of the environment, why not make our own environment better? Rating: 10/10

Short Facts

Today 50 percent of the world population live in cities. By 2050, the number will have reached 80 percent.

Half of the world population live in houses they have built themselves.

The current population of 18 million people in Mumbai is projected to reach 28.5 million by 2050.

54 percent of the inhabitants of Mumbai live in slums.

The most populated part of the inner city of Shanghai has a population density of more than 125,000 people per km2.

In 1980, Shanghai has 121 buildings over eight storeys. In 2005, it had more than 10,000.

The number of cars in Shanghai increased twenty-five times between 1999 and 2005. Meanwhile, the city aims to reduce bicycling by 25 percent in the next five years.

Shanghai has experienced an average annual economic growth of 15 percent since the early 1990’s.

In Bogota, 32.6 percent of the population live for less than 2 dollars per day.

Bogota has one of the most extensive bike route systems of any city in the world.

Mumbai’s suburban rail system carries a total of 2.2 billion passengers every year.

Cairo is the largest city of the Arab World. It produces 6,500 tons of wasted every day.

Cairo used to have an extensive recycling system, where tens of thousands of scavengers lived by reusing other people’s waste. Today there is too much waste, for the scavengers to keep up.

In 2008 more than 300,000 black pigs lived in the streets of inner Cairo. Today many are killed because of the Influenza A.

160 million people lived in cities in 1900, 3.4 billion people live in cities today – and 7.2 billion people will be living in cities by 2050

All urban growth over the next 25 years will be in developing countries.

World population is currently growing by approximately 74 million people per year.

World population is approximately 3 times higher in 2009 than it was in 1940.

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