Berlin, a City in Film

ARC300H0 S/ ARC2016H S
Instructor: Peter Sealy
Meeting Section: L0101
Summer 2024
Travel Dates: July 30 - August 19, 2024


Berlin's reputation as a global metropolis is inextricably linked with its history as a site for film production. Through films, Berlin has projected a series of urban images to global audiences, creating its own "analogous city" (to borrow Aldo Rossi's phrase), no less real than the actual material artefact to which they are linked. Across the decades of the 20th century and now in the 21st, the architectural history, urban forms, and spatial conflicts latent within Germany's capital have been laid bare in the massive number of films set and/or produced in Berlin. While offering valuable representations, these films also serve as generators of an urbanity which is then re-inscribed into the city by new architectural and urban projects.

Building upon the inaugural edition of this course offered in summer 2023, this iteration of the Daniels Faculty's Studies Abroad will again explore Berlin and its filmic representations. This will be done through an intensive schedule of walking tours and building visits, paired with a series of nightly film screenings. To further their understanding of film as a medium for exploring and making architecture, and in the spirit of Berlin as a centre for filmmaking, students' main assignment in this course will be the production of a short 8 or 16 mm analogue film under the tutelage of local filmmakers. Other activities will explore analogue media, such as film photography and printmaking. Throughout, the group will engage in frequent discussions with local architects, authors, filmmakers, photographers, and scholars.

In the summer months prior to travelling to Berlin, we will meet for six hour-long seminars on Zoom. Accommodation will be made for students' individual schedules (for ex., work commitments, conflicts with other courses, and issues with time zones.


This course is available to HBA AS and HBA VS students in year 2 or higher who completed ARC200H1 and ARC201H1, or VS equivalent. Also open to MARC, MLA and MUD students.

Students wishing to apply should watch Wim Wenders's 1987 film Wings of Desire, which is available on the Criterion Channel. To watch this film, students can sign up for a free two-week trial of the Criterion Channel.

Students should then prepare three postcards, with an image on one side and text on the other. The first postcard should introduce yourself; in the second, please share your thoughts on the film, and in the third explain why you'd like to go to Berlin.

Postcards should be submitted online. Additionally, printed copies should be left at the Daniels Reception.

Undergraduate applications are to be submitted HERE (Please note the form is limited to 1 submission. Further editing and amendments are NOT allowed after the form has been submitted.).

Information sessions for this course will be held on Wednesday, February 7, 2024 from 12:00pm – 2:00pm (please see email for more details).

The deadline to apply is Monday, February 19, 2024 at 11:59pm EST.

Graduate applications are to be submitted HERE (Please note the form is limited to 1 submission. Further editing and amendments are NOT allowed after the form has been submitted.).

The deadline to apply is Thursday, April 4, 2024 at 11:59pm EST.