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10 Years of Discovering the Best Documentaries for You

From Le Corbusier through mining settlements to China; watch films about architecture and cities


Swiss architects in China. Le Corbusier. Office spaces in the US. An artificial hill in Berlin. Communist sculptures in Czech public space. The subway. Mining settlements... We present a rich variety of films dealing with urban space and architecture. Until Sunday, October 11, you can watch them at DAFilms for free.

Our current programme is linked to the World Architecture Day. What films do we present? They include portraits of period and style phenomena, personalities from the ranks of architects, essays as well as film experiments.

THREE WALLS captures the melancholic absurdity and shifting nature of the modern day office. What happened to the office cubicle in North America? Find out in the film by Zaheed Mawani.

Are you going to work or live in China? Do you wonder what happens when the Chinese and Europeans build a house together? Then you need to see THE HOUSE IN THE PARK. Director Hercli Bundi tells the story of three architects from Switzerland who were invited to construct a pavilion in Jinhua near Shanghai.

During the communist regime, there was a law in Czechoslovakia ruling that 4 percent of the construction budget is used for fine arts and decoration in architecture. The documentary film ALIENS AND HERONS by Rozálie Kohoutová maps the sculptures from the normalization era situated in public space at housing estates and in city centres. You can learn more about the Aliens and Herons project here.

Teufelsberg is a man-made hill on the outskirts of Berlin. It was built by the American Allies with the rubble of the city destroyed by World War 2. The hill has a rich and bizarre history including attempts to eavesdrop on the military traffic of Soviets, East Germans and other nations of the Warsaw Pact. The documentary film BERG employs samples and scenes from famous spy movies.

EYE OVER PRAGUE is a documentary about the “blob”; a project of the National Library designed by architect Jan Kaplicky (1937–2009) which has become known as the “Octopus”. The film collage captures Kaplicky’s architectonic vision as well as his character and personal life.

DK is another personal portrait of a Czech architect, this time compiled out of his video archives. Made by his wife Bára, the film presents David Kopecký as a builder who loves to destroy, a bold alarmist, shy eccentric, austere hedonist and inventor of life. The film has won the Pavel Koutecký Award among others.

The fascinating transport system of the subway whose underground architecture constitutes a specific space and situation of perception is the main theme of ORTEM made by Polish director Dariusz Kowalski.

In 1914, Le Corbusier developed a construction system of reinforced concrete. Media artist and director of DOMINO Lotte Schreiber took a winter journey across Greece to make a film about the consequences of the revolutionary discovery – the concrete skeletons that are often seen not only in Greece.

The second film by Lotte Schreiber included in our collection is BORGATE about Italy’s Don Bosco housing project. Thought planned while Mussolini was in power, it matches the Modernist style of the 1950s and the 1960s.

“If there is nothing there, I invent a preexistence.” RECONVERSION portrays 17 buildings and projects designed by exceptional Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto Moura.

A curious and quaint medley of beauty and ugliness, wisdom and stupidity, joy and sadness, filth and colourfulness; INDUSTRIAL ELEGY tells the story of abandoned mining settlements in Northern Moravia and their bizarre inhabitants.

Discipline and punish... In the second half of the 18th century, Jeremy Bentham designed the model of a panopticon, a type of building that made supervision most effective. Panopticons were firstly used for prisons, places where supervision and punishment are the main functions. By rereading Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish and through experience with different kinds of supervision, Andrea Slováková looks for the perfect application of the panoptical principle in her film IN SIGHT.

Vladimír Turner’s COMMENTS ON MEGAPOLIS focuses on four main themes: class/racial classification, restrictions/monitoring people’s life in the city, urbanism/speculation with public space and pollution of the environment. Turner has employed video art approaches to combine public art and intimate performances in a larger whole.

Recommend this event

Films for the event



Berg (Orig.) / 2012 / Germany / 11 min

A sound collage combining elements from classic espionage and Cold War movies is laid over a series of panning shots describing the architecture of an abandoned counter espionage listening station in the outskirts of Berlin.




DK (Orig.) / 2013 / Czech Republic / 77 min

Builder who loves to destroy. Shy eccentric, bold alarmist, austere hedonist, and generous usurper. Inventor of life.




ORTEM (Orig.) / 2004 / Poland / 20 min

The main topic of the video work ORTEM is the metro's traffic system, which creates a specific space and perception situation via its underground architecture.




Reconversão (Orig.) / 2012 / Portugal / 65 min

“Reconversão” portrays 17 buildings and projects by Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto Moura, accompanied usually by his own writings. It is a search for his architecture, without critical commentary.



Three Walls

Three Walls (Orig.) / 2011 / Canada / 26 min

Capturing the melancholic absurdity and shifting nature of the modern day office...




Domino (Orig.) / 2005 / Austria, Italy / 12 min

As Robert Smithson said, if you trigger specific associations from a site, if you deal directly with its visual appearance, with that which Roland Barthes calls the "simulacrum of the object," then the goal is to understanda new type of structure as a whole, which generates new meanings.




Borgate (Orig.) / 2008 / Austria / 15 min

It was originally intended to be modern Italy’s showcase urban project after WWII: the Don Bosco housing project on the southern edge of Rome...



The House in the Park

The House in the Park (Orig.) / 2010 / Switzerland / 86 min

Do you plan to work or live in China? Do you wonder what happens, when Chinese and Europeans construct a house together? Then you need to see this film!



In Sight

Nadohled (Orig.) / 2011 / Czech Republic / 42 min

Film essay about classical and postmodern supervision mechanisms.



Eye Over Prague

Oko nad Prahou (Orig.) / 2009 / Czech Republic / 78 min

An extraordinary tale about strongly passionate and elegant architect Jan Kaplicky with a clear vision of the future who has the biggest fight on his hands in Prague again.


Vetrelci a volavky 01

Aliens and Herons

Vetřelci a volavky (Orig.) / 2008 / Czech Republic / 26 min

The documentary Aliens and Herons portraits the fate of the sculptures from the Communist so called normalization era in the Czech public space. Why does it always have to be innocent sculptures who suffer from political change?



Comments on Megapolis

Comments on Megapolis (Orig.) / 2014 / Czech Republic / 18 min

The film consists of four chapters, each of which is a critical commentary on the contemporary city. Problems which the creator usually shows in his art/ activist projects in public space are this time captured in more poetic, abstract and personal form...



A Showcase of Asian Documentary Film Jewels? TIDF!

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Gulîstan, Land of Roses Wins Prestigious Doc Alliance Selection Award at Locarno IFF

Gulîstan, Land of Roses Wins Prestigious Doc Alliance Selection Award at Locarno IFF

On Sunday, August 7, young director Zaynê Akyol became the 9th winner of the unique Doc Alliance Selection Award that is awarded since 2008 by the international Doc Alliance platform. The Kurdish director based in Canada received the award during an award ceremony at Locarno IFF. Along with the award, the filmmaker also received financial support of 5.000 euro for her future film.

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Doc Alliance Selection Award 2016: Fresh Documentary Talents at the Upcoming Ninth DAS Awards

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Ever since 2008, Doc Alliance has been organising an international award intended especially for first-time directors. The Doc Alliance Selection Award helps up-and-coming filmmaking talents to put their name on the documentary map, providing a prize of EUR 5,000 to support their future projects. In 2016, Doc Alliance again nominated 7 outstanding films that will be vying for the 9th annual Doc Alliance Selection Award. The name of the winning title will be announced on August 7, 2016 during an official ceremony at the Locarno International Film Festival.

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