Scene from the film Borgate
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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. Though planned while Mussolini was in power, Don Bosco matches the Modernist style of the 1950s and 1960s and is wholly in harmony with the spirit of postwar reconstruction. As it is comparable to housing projects in other large European cities, this housing project demonstrates the gap between sociopolitical utopias of the Modern age and their reality in a virulent manner. Borgate is media artist and architect Lotte Schreiber’s latest installment in her series of filmic examinations of architecture and (urban) space.

Schreiber’s works are cartographic portrayals in film form in which she attempts to translate the formal languages of landscape or architecture into a formal language of cine matography. This process was also applied to Borgate: Schreiber consistently transfers Don Bosco, which was designed by the city’s urban planning department, into rigidly framed images and sequences of serial montage. In the interplay of these mainly static shots and relaxed pans across facades and structural details, combined with quotes from Pasolini and Fellini to Antonioni, Borgate produces a visual and acoustic showcase of failed urban utopias. All this is underlined by Bernhard Lang’s symphonic composition, which gives the “petrification” of the images a wholly dramatic component. This “animation” is reinforced by abrupt intrusions of video fragments in violent motion, resembling what seem to be splinters from a “real space” in the aesthetic filmic space.

In contrast to Antonioni’s men about town, for example, whose psychological crises are reflected in the objets trouvés, wide streets, two-dimensional façades and empty suburban squares, Schreiber searches for and finds precise details and total views of these outlying urban zones for the purpose of dealing with the crisis of the Modern age itself. (Gerald Weber)


  • Original Title
  • Direction
  • Screenplay
    Lotte Schreiber
  • Cinematography
    Johannes Hammel
  • Editing
    Lotte Schreiber
  • Music
    Bernhard Lang
  • Sound
    Lotte Schreiber
  • Runtime
    15 min (1-15 min.)
  • Year
  • Country
    • Austria
  • Format
    • Colour
  • Festivals
    • 2008 Amsterdam - IDFA, Int. Documentary Filmfestival
    • 2008 Diagonale, Festival des Österreichischen Films
    • 2008 Jihlava Documentary Film Festival
    • 2008 Paris - Festival des Cinemas Differents Collectif Jeune Cinema
    • 2008 Vila do Conde - Festival Internacional de Curtas-Metragens
    • 2008 Wien - VIS Vienna Independent Shorts
    • 2009 Berlin - Transmediale (Festival for digital art)
    • 2009 Copenhagen - cph:dox, Intl Documentary Film Festival
    • 2009 Hong Kong - Int. Film Festival
    • 2009 Lisabon - Indielisboa Int. Film and Videofestival
    • 2009 Milano - DOC
    • 2009 Nashville Film Festival
    • 2009 Nyon - Dokumentarfilm Festival
    • 2009 Osnabrück - European Media Art Festival
    • 2009 Wiesbaden - exground on screen is powered by Doc Alliance, a creative partnership of 7 key European documentary film festivals. Our aim is to advance the documentary genre, support its diversity and promote quality creative documentary films.

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