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Aug 1 2020 Film /

TSA Playlist l August: Architecture in Film



For the August edition of the TSA Playlist, we’re switching gears by taking a look at films where the built environment takes centre stage, not as the subject of a documentary but as an actor in the stories. 

Whether it is in a bold leading role or as a critical supporting actor, each of the films presented uses architecture to help tell its narrative, a reminder that the physical structures we live, work, and play in also help frame our social and cultural rhythms. From the frantic streets of Fritz Lang’s dystopic Metropolis to the serene, intimate modernism in Kogonada’s Columbus, this August TSA Playlist takes stock of a diversity of stories that put buildings and our conscious and unconscious feelings towards them at the forefront. Get ready to immerse yourself in a myriad of worlds imagined and real, and enjoy the ride!

…and just like with our July playlist,  we’ve included a special selection for kids to enjoy during their summer break as well!


2017 | 1 hr 44 mins 

“How do you make a ravishing romance about architecture? You’ll find the answer with Kogonada, the video essayist and critic whose debut feature, Columbus, is a spellbinder.”  Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

An American drama by Kogonada, this film takes place in Columbus, Indiana — a small, midwestern community known for its remarkable modernist architecture including works by some the most celebrated architects of the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. This modernist legacy is infused throughout the film which follows the friendship between the son of an architectural historian tending to his dying father and a young architecture enthusiast who lives with her mother.  Burdened by the future, they find respite in one another and the modernist architecture that surrounds them.

Watch it on Kanopy


1927 | 2 hr 28 mins 

A pioneer science-fiction silent film set in a dystopic urban future, METROPOLIS takes place in 2026, when the populace is divided between workers who must live in the dark underground and the rich who enjoy a futuristic skyscraper-city of splendor. The tense balance of these two societies is realized through images that are among the most famous of the 20th century with influences drawn from Art Deco, Bauhaus, Cubist, Futurist and even Gothic design. Lavish and spectacular, with elaborate sets and modern science fiction style, METROPOLIS stands today as the crowning achievement of the German silent cinema.

This restored version, done under the supervision of the Murnau Foundation, also features the original 1927 orchestral score by Gottfried Huppertz.

Watch it on Kanopy Watch it on Hoopla



1967 | 2 hr 04 mins 

It’s a democracy of gags and comics – the personality of people regarding an architecture that people have decided for us to live in, without asking us whether we agree or not. In the end, we all win in the sense that we still talk to each other; if anything goes wrong, we’re still partners, and some small people are still allowed to be important.” Jacques Tati, Director

In this brilliant satire of our modern-day metropolis, the legendary French comedian Jacques Tati is featured as his screen persona, Monsieur Hulot. Tati pokes fun at the dehumanization of society as he wanders through the glass, concrete, and architecture maze of modernist Paris, often running into a group of women on a European tour. Gloriously choreographed, and filled with hilarity and inventiveness, the film takes a critical but comedic look at the modern city and its architecture.

Watch it on Kanopy



…and a feature for the kids!

A Cat in Paris
2010 | 1 hr 04 mins 

A 2012 Academy Award nominee, A CAT IN PARIS is a beautifully hand-drawn adventure set in the shadow-drenched alleyways of Paris with plenty of scenes featuring some of the city’s emblematic architecture and urban character. 

Dino is a cat that leads a double life. By day he lives with Zoe, a little girl whose mother is a detective in the Parisian police force. But at night Dino sneaks out the window to work with Nico – a slinky cat burglar with a big heart, whose fluid movements are poetry in motion as he evades captors and slips and swishes from rooftop to rooftop across the Paris skyline – a purrrfect pick for this month’s list! 

Watch it on Kanopy

About the TSA Playlist

The TSA Playlist is a monthly curated list of free online films touching upon issues of architecture, the built environment and design. Our thematic lists do more than just entertain; they inspire us, enrich us, and challenge our perspectives helping bring the conversation of the built environment to new audiences and encourage conversation and debate.

Have a suggestion of a film or theme you would like to see featured? Let us know at tsa@torontosocietyofarchitects.ca

Be sure to also check out past editions of the TSA Playlist!

June 2020 l Outdoors

July 2020 l O Canada





How to Access the Playlist

Our TSA Playlist films are available free of charge for online screening through a number of streaming services in the Greater Toronto Area and beyond including Kanopy, TVO and Hoopla. Our monthly list includes viewing links on platforms available in the region. Some of these streaming services might require you have a free library or university card to access the service. See list below for where these streaming services are available.

Kanopy is currently available through the following library systems and universities in southern Ontario: Toronto PL, Hamilton PL, Oshawa PL (until July 3), Stratford PL, Newmarket PL, Whitby PL, London PL, Guelph PL, University of Toronto, Ryerson University, George Brown College, Seneca College, Centennial College and Sheridan College. If you don’t see your library listed, you can verify if your library has made Kanopy available here. Got a university card instead? You can check if your university has made Kanopy available here.

Hoopla is currently available through the following library systems and universities in southern Ontario: Barrie PL, Kingston PL, Mississauga PL, Kitchener PL, Niagara Falls PL, Peterborough PL and Orillia PL.