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Celluloid Landscape


Writings on Cinema & Landscape Design

Gene Stroman Chip Sullivan

CELLULOID LANDSCAPE was made possible by a fellowship from the Arts Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley in the Spring of 2017. Thank you Lauren Pearson, Greig Crysler, and the 2017 ARC Fellows for engaging in a series of discussions that informed, inspired, and challenged this work. Special thanks to Louise Mozingo and the Department of Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning for their continued support. All content originally published online at Unless otherwise noted, all content created by Gene Stroman and Chip Sullivan Department of Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning. University of California, Berkeley. For more information: Gene Stroman Chip Sullivan

Celluloid Landscape

Writings on Cinema & Landscape Design

Gene Stroman Chip Sullivan

Celluloid Landscape

seeks to derive the cinematic principles and techniques that may apply to the work of environmental designers. Additionally, we will explore and analyze specific films and directors which embody the synergies between the two disciplines. Examples of such topics include include film’s role as a representational medium for portraying landscapes, understanding filmmakers as

landscape designers, and other related inquiries that may help to bridge the two disciplines. The research will function as a way to organize and map this symbiotic relationship through a historical lens, but also as a means for stimulating change in the discipline’s pedagogy and output.

We believe that there are discrete lessons to be learned from a comparison of two traditionally isolated disciplines. In our research, we aim to uncover characteristics of the two that may help to understand them as not being so disparate. We are eager to detail experiments that have helped and will help to further both the cinematic and architectural disciplines. By curating

the work of both landscape designers and filmmakers in a dialogue, we hope that others might begin to find inspiration and further innovation in environmental design.

Above: Four Drive-in Screens, MontrĂŠal, CA. Wim Wenders, 2013


CELLULOID LANDSCAPE is ... * Two Landscape Architects learning lessons from watching movies. ** Cinematography as springboard for talking about environmental design. *** “How to read films like a Landscape Architect.” All in all, this page will function as an outlet for our thoughts relating to the movies we watch, pieces we read, or conversations we have about film. The medium of a blog is intentional — while this is an academic pursuit, we hope that this page will read like two old friends discussing films over a glass of bourbon. We hope that this work can be shared with fellow cinephiles and designers of the built environment, and that it will engage conversation and collaboration between the two disciplines. We welcome any recommendations for films to watch, theory to read, projects to consider, landscapes to see that might inform the content we bring forward. Stroman & Sullivan, January 2017


Mapping the relationship of film and landscape, Gene Stroman, 2016

I firmly believe in the story-building power of landscapes. There are landscapes, be they cities, deserts, mountains, or coasts, that literally cry out for “THEIR STORIES” to be told. They evoke them, even make them happen. Landscapes can be leading characters and the people in them the extras. Excerpt from “TO SHOOT PICTURES...” Wim Wenders, Once, 2010


Paris Texas, Wim Wenders (1984)

Paterson, Jim Jarmusch (2016)


On Representing Place What can designers of the built environment learn from filmmakers who excel in portraying and creating worlds of their own?


Notes On Representing a Place

not so much about a train, but about the streets of Memphis and the unique culture that surrounds it.

Landscape architects and other designers of the built environment are constantly striving to create places that are authentic – places that are appreciated and well-used by a community; places that make sense contextually with existing physical and cultural features of the landscape. Many filmmakers, too, are preoccupied with the mission of representing a place in order to evoke empathy and interest in the audience of a film. Such is the case with American independent director Jim Jarmusch’s latest project Paterson (2016).

Following the life of a young bus driver and afterhours-poet (also named Paterson), Jarmusch captures the landscape of present day Paterson, New Jersey, a mill-town that hit its stride in the late 19th Century – the same town that was immortalized in poet William Carlos Williams’ Paterson (1946-1958). The viewer comes to understand the landscape through a series of repetitive scenes of Paterson’s daily routine: walking to work through alleyways behind decaying industrial buildings, watching the city unfurl from behind the windshield of a bus, contemplating a scenic waterfall at the local park, and walking to a local bar at night.

Jim Jarmusch’s Paterson, 2016

As is typical with the most of Jarmusch’s previous work, cities and landscapes play a major role in this film. Over the course of his career, Jarmusch has proven himself a master of understanding and poetically representing the quirks of a place. It’s difficult to think of Down by Law (1986) without first envisioning the grainy montages of New Orleans and surrounding Bayou. Likewise, Mystery Train (1989) is

What compels a director to make a film that is propelled by a sense of place? In an interview with NPR1, Jim Jarmusch explained that the idea to make the film came to him on his first trip to Paterson over twenty years ago. Utilizing repetition and a meditative pacing, Jarmusch lyrically exposes his


Paterson, both the character and the place, are equally important in Jim Jarmusch’s new film.

audience to the rich sense of place that he himself witnessed in Paterson. In just under two hours, Paterson is a compelling portrait of a town that was home to many notable cultural figures including poets Allen Ginsberg, William Carlos Williams, and actor Lou Costello. The film’s landscape is riddled with references to Paterson’s hometown heroes, including a wall of celebrity photos and newspaper cutouts in a bar-room and numerous commemorative statues along the streets and parks. It’s clear that Jarmusch is interested in the history and almost mythical atmosphere surrounding this place. The film seems to ask “How did such an environment

produce so many cultural heavy hitters?”. Were the nearby waterfalls a source of creative inspiration? Was it the constantly changing colors of the trees? Was it the brick-lined alleyways behind factories? Was it the fantastic assemblage of immigrants that came to work here? Was it the perfect urban density that put these creative minds in touch? Did they meet on buses? One wonders about the process by which film directors like Jim Jarmusch go about putting together a film about a place. I imagine that the process is much like that of a landscape architect. Landscape Architects must first do research to understand the

values (past, present, and future) of a community in order to design a place that feels authentic and that will be used (validated) by local populations as well as visitors. Perhaps more importantly, landscape architects must always look to the future of a place. What are the modern (often unspoken) values that one wishes to see materialize in a landscape? A current studio project calls Graduate Landscape Architecture students to imagine the future of Reno, Nevada, a city that was founded as a transitory place during the gold rush and has come to be known for its casinos, neon signs, and classic car shows. How does one create an authentic place from a city that has prospered on kitsch and nostalgia? How does one reinvent a city while ensuring it’s history and cultural values are not lost? Are the environments in the films of Jim Jarmusch, in fact, portrayed authentically? Or, are we as film viewers merely tourists on a quest for a real experience? If this is, in fact, true - then I believe that the director did us one better. The role of an

artist (filmmaker, landscape architect, etc.) should be to redefine places or, perhaps, even to create new places in cultural memory. Paterson is not a documentary of a place. It is a curated collection of stories, feelings, and images about a place. Landscape Architects should take note: in designing places and representations of places, one should take great care to select, arrange, and prioritize these complex parts. January 2017


Jim Jarmusch’s Paterson is a rumination on place and creativity. While the protagonist’s life is seemingly mundane, he derives poetic inspiration from daily rituals which include driving a bus and strolling through the town of Paterson, NJ. Observing and understanding the cyclical patterns of one’s environment can be fruitful for landscape designers, as it is for poets. SC 001


Mon Oncle, Jacques Tati (1957)


Cinema as Landscape Inspiration What can be learned from film professionals about creating enjoyable environments for people?


Cinema as Landscape Inspiration Jacques Tati’s Villa Arpel Garden (Mon Oncle, 1958) and Ken Smith’s MoMA Rooftop Garden

Have you ever obtained the idea for a landscape design from watching a film? Often times, designers take their inspiration for gardens and landscapes from paintings and other static forms of visual art. I have always been interested in learning about those few who use less obvious sources (poems, dreams, or films) to help formulate aesthetic and thematic ideas for their own creative work.

For Landscape Architect Ken Smith, this inspiration came from one of the director’s favorite films. In The Inspired Landscape: Twenty-One Leading Landscape Architects Explore the Creative Process (2015) by Susan Cohen, Ken Smith writes about the garden portrayed in Jacques Tati’s Mon Oncle (1958) and how it influenced his celebrated design for the MoMA rooftop garden in 2004. French filmmaker Jacques Tati’s films are often written about in relation to architecture. Tati has been quoted as saying “Geometrical lines do not produce likeable people” 1 , and many of the director’s films use elements of wit, irony, and playfulness to

express his feelings toward modernity. In his opening sequence (probably one of my favorites of all time) for Mon Oncle (1958), the director juxtaposes a decaying inner-city with the clean, shiny and modern Villa Arpel on the outskirts of town. This opening lays out the foundation for his film – essentially, a critique of modernism (an architectural style that was very much in vogue at the time of filming), or society’s yearning for a simple life made possible by technology.

Left: Jacques Tati on the set of Playtime (1967) Above: Mon Oncle opening sequence


The Villa Arpel film set was designed by Jacques Lagrange, a long-time collaborator of Tati’s. Like in many of the director’s other films, the Villa Arpel plays a prominent role in the film, and it was designed and built inside a studio specifically for Mon Oncle. The Villa features a highly stylized, colorful, and curvilinear garden that echoed those being designed by Burle Marx, Eckbo, Kiley, and other mid-century modern landscape designers. Chip Sullivan continues to wonder how filmmakers and production designers are able to design and execute such successful spaces in their films. How did Tati and Lagrange learn to do this? Was it through diligent observation of similar spaces? Or perhaps a continual study of these spaces in other films? We would argue that Tati’s garden at Villa Arpel is successful in its ability to make a statement and for its overall artfulness – perhaps even moreso than the those produced by professional landscape designers in the decades to come. The influence of the Villa Arpel Garden’s aesthetic

language in Ken Smith’s design is obvious; curved walkways, bright-colored gravels, and geometric topiary are just a few elements that appear in both designs. However, perhaps more important is the influence of Tati’s playful concept behind designing and filming the garden. Over the course of the film, Tati uses the garden as a stage for the comedy of modern life to unfold. The highly stylized design of the garden is constantly used as a way to impress visitors and parade social status. However, the garden is anything but functional; although all rooms are connected to the garden, the Arpel family sits on the outside patio to watch the indoor television. While the garden stones are arranged in an aesthetically

interesting way, they are of no help to someone trying to keep their feet dry. The main curved path through the garden creates an absurdly long entrance from the front gate to the threshold of the villa.

Left: Jacques Lagrange’s Villa Arpel hybrid drawing Above: Villa Arpel garden as featured in Mon Oncle


Above: Ken Smith’s rooftop garden at the MoMA, NYC

Ken Smith’s design concept for the MoMA rooftop garden uses wit and irony in a way that pays respect to Tati. In effect, he created a garden that can only be looked at from surrounding skyscraper buildings. The garden is not functional or real in any way – it uses crushed glass to mimic water, recycled rubber as mulch, and plastic hedges to feign vegetation. Smith’s design uses a camouflage aesthetic style (which is ordinarily used to hide or obscure) ironically to draw attention to his rooftop garden in busy midtown Manhattan. Last semester, Professor Kristina Hill delivered a lecture about the role of aesthetic intent in contemporary landscape architecture, arguing that the experience of a landscape should include elements of playfulness and comic satire. I’d agree that especially in recent years, landscape designers’ concern for ecological functionality has often sidelined any potential for playful insight as illustrated in the gardens of Landscape Architect Ken Smith or Filmmaker Jacques Tati.

The history of motion picture is filled with celebrated directors who have been able to translate their ideas about the world into formats that can be interacted with and processed by a sizable audience. Landscape designers share many of these aspirations, and can benefit from further study of this parallel creative realm. February 2017 25


“Les Années Sauvages: Mon Oncle”. Arte Magazine. No. 20.45, Cinéma. 30 December 2002. p. 2.

The Villa Arpel garden was designed by painter Jacques Lagrange who served as production designer on many of Tati’s most celebrated films. While Lagrange had no formal training in Landscape Architecture, the design vocabularly used in his garden is worthy of consideration for its close attention to color, form, and rhythm. SC 002


Ken Smith’s design for the MoMA rooftop garden shares many design concepts with the Villa Arpel garden. Smith uses vivid color and repetition of form to create a visually interesting garden that can be observed from above. The playful, abstract forms and synthetic materials harken back to the garden featured in Tati’s Mon Oncle and other gardens designed at the height of modernism. SC 003


Fitzcarraldo, Werner Herzog (1982)


Landscape Philosophy Film directors and landscape designers share many of the same philosophies about man’s relationship with nature. What can be learned from those directors who allow their philosophy to guide their art?


“We are challenging nature, itself. And it hits back.� The Landscape Philosophy of Werner Herzog

Werner Herzog is a German filmmaker revered for his intense filmic approach and uncompromising dedication to the art of cinema. The landscape plays a very central and important role in the director’s films. He has has made frequent attempts to film on location, often under very difficult circumstances. His films attempt to rationalize, reconcile, and even challenge man’s ever-changing relationship with nature. All throughout February, SFMoMA has been running a retrospective on the director’s non-fiction films, and I’ve been fortunate enough to catch two over the past few weeks: Les Blank’s Burden of Dreams (1982) and Herzog’s My Best Fiend (1999). Both films capture the time that Herzog spent filming Aguirre, The Wrath of God (1972) and Fitzcarraldo (1982) with Klaus Kinski and film crew in the jungles, mountains, and Amazonian tributaries of Peru. Both are highly recommended for their presentation of this brilliant filmmaker’s process and philosophy of landscape.

From My Best Fiend (1999): “Our concept of landscape differed profoundly. He wanted the shot to embrace all of scenic Machu Picchu including the peak, just like a Hollywood-style movie with the landscape as a beautiful backdrop, exploited for the scene. Commercials work that way. Postcards look like that but I wanted an ecstatic detail of that landscape where all the drama, passion and human pathos became visible. He just didn’t understand this, but for me it was something crucial: A landscape with almost human qualities.” February 2017

Left (from left to right): Burden of Dreams (1982), Aguirre, The Wrath of God (1972), Fitzcarraldo (1982)


Landscape Auteurs Five Directors to Watch for Their Portrayal of Landscape

Classmates in my studio have been asking for a list of directors and films to watch for their relation to the content of this blog. If it is not yet evident, Chip and I are interested in viewing and discussing filmmakers who have distinctive landscape philosophies; those who cast landscapes and places as the main characters in their films or film landscapes to ask larger questions about man’s relationship with nature and the cosmos. What follows is a list of what I believe to be the five most important directors fitting within these parameters. Over the next few months, this blog will examine the works of these directors and others in an attempt to postulate the Landscape Architect’s role as shaper, documentarian, and philosopher of the built environment. March 2017

Right: Michelangelo Antonioni filming Zabrieski Point (1970)


1. Michelangelo Antonioni (Italy)

Antonioni is celebrated for his compositional techniques in which characters are often situated on the edge of the frame, allowing them to be perceived as a direct result of the surrounding environs. Many of the director’s films utilize the landscape to introduce themes of existential anxiety, alienation, and loneliness within the characters. Examples include the use of an island in L’avventura, a desolate suburb in L’Eclisse, an industrial wasteland in Red Desert, and the vast desert in Zabrieski Point.

L’Avventura (1960)

L’Eclisse (1962)

Red Desert (1964)

“... I want my characters to suggest the background in themselves, even when it is not visible. I want them to be so powerfully realized that we cannot imagine them apart from their physical and social context even when we see them in empty space.”

Select Films: L’Avventura (1960), L’Eclisse (1962), Red Desert (1964), Zabriskie Point (1970)


2. Wim Wenders (Germany)

Wim Wenders is passionate about the spirit of place. His films seek to uncover stories inherent to landscapes and cities. A master storyteller, the director has become known for his iconic road movies in which he juxtaposes a compelling, humanistic portrait with visually captivating scenery from across the world. Wenders often utilizes vast, open landscapes and empty cities to address themes of memory, perception amd human connection.

Paris, Texas (1984)

Wings of Desire (1987)

Until the End of the World (1991)

“If anything, I see myself as a witness. I’d also be pleased, if you’d call me an interpreter. I try to hear and see the message of a place and pass it on, into that other language, the universal one of images.”

Select Films: Paris, Texas (1984), Tokyo Ga (1985), Wings of Desire (1987), Until the End of the World (1991)


3. Terrence Malick (USA)

The cinema of Terrence Malick delivers a historical portrait of the American landscape. At the heart of his films is the question of how we as humans connect with our environment. Over time, his films have developed from plot-driven features to more poetic and ambiguous musings that search for a sense of meaning in nature. His stylistic camera technique reveals the sense of wonder and beauty that all can identify with when confronted with an iconic landscape.

Badlands (1973)

Days of Heaven (1978)

Tree of Life (2011)

“That was my wish: to prevent the appearance of any technique, and that the photography was to be processed to be visually beautiful and to ensure this beauty existed within the world I was trying to show, suggesting that which was lost, or what we were now losing.�

Select Films: Badlands (1973), Days of Heaven (1978), The New World (2005), Tree of Life (2011)


4. Abbas Kiarostami (Iran)

Kiarostami’s lyrical films feature very simple, yet morally charged story lines set mostly within large, rural parts of the Iranian countryside. The director explores how landscapes shape its inhabitants. His filming style allows landscape to function as a poetic device, providing refrain or punctuation for his characters’ narratives.

Life and Nothing More (1992)

Through the Olive Trees (1994)

The WInd Will Carry Us (1999)

“In the Iranian countryside, characters were anchored in their landscapes. The silence that was imposed by nature is obvious in their lives and in their behaviors. I wouldn’t have taken away from their real landscape to put words in the mouth. They were just part of that silent landscape.”

Select Films: Life and Nothing More (1992), Through the Olive Trees (1994), Taste of Cherry (1997), The Wind Will Carry Us (1999), Roads of Kiarostami (2006)


5. Kelly Reichardt (USA)

Kelly Reichardt’s films are set mostly in the Pacific Northwest and feature landscapes that provide mood and atmosphere to the quiet, contemplative character studies she has become known for. Almost all of her films trace the stories of pairs or small groups of people sharing experiences in places away from the hum of society.

Old Joy (2006)

Wendy and Lucy (2008)

Meek’s Cutoff (2010)

“The characters are just sort of an extension of the landscape they’re in... They’re a product of the places they’re from and their troubles -- their everyday troubles.”

Select Films: River of Grass (1994), Old Joy (2006), Wendy and Lucy (2008), Meek’s Cutoff (2010)


American film pioneer D.W. Griffith’s Intolerance, is often celebrated for its elaborate set design which portrayed Babylonian monuments of epic proportions. While the sets were inspiring in their own right, landscape architects might learn from Griffith’s filmic techniques which were effective in contrasting scales - from extreme close up to expansive panorama. SC 005


Robert Wiene’s The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is celebrated for its set design, which borrows many stylistic elements from German Expressionist painting. The film utilizes scenographic techniques like forced and diagonal perspectives to draw the viewer’s attention. The angular forms and starkly contrasted shadows, which are painted on the set backdrops convey a sense of anxiety felt by the characters. SC 004


Cinema has proven to be a fruitful laboratory for innovating unique forms and ideas. Filmmakers and production designers, operating in a world free from ordinary constraints, are often responsible for producing fantastic and unconventional environments. German filmmaker Fritz Lang’s Metropolis incudes a very early rendition of a green-roofed garden structure. SC 006


Stalker, Andrei Tarkovsky (1979)


Dreamscapes The film industry often produces worlds inspired by dreams. How can designers channel these dreamworlds to create inspired landscapes?



Channeling dreams to create new worlds

In Chip Sullivan’s new book, Cartooning the Landscape, he argues that anything is possible during dreams and that this wellspring of creativity should be utilized by designers to generate unique and innovative landscape typologies. Dreams can also provide a space in which environmental designers can test and execute design concepts free of constraint. In a section titled Dreaming the Landscape, Chip illustrates the power of recording and translating our dream states, and includes examples from contemporary landscape designers such as Randy Hester, Cheryl Barton, and David Meyer.

Dreams are also an integral part of cinema, and the term “dream factory” has long been used as a metaphor for the film industry – a laboratory for filmmakers to test and recreate worlds that are not bound by earthly limits. Much has been written about the similarities between the world found in our dreams and the world depicted on screen. Many filmmakers including David Lynch, Jean Cocteau, and Andrei Tarkovsky have garnered reputations for their ability to construct environments that exist in this hazy realm of the unconscious. Even Alfred Hitchcock worked with surrealist painter Salvador Dalí to design and film a dream sequence for his

1945 feature Spellbound. Hitchcock and Dalí utilize elongated shadows, fog, skewed camera angles, experimentation with scale and other surreal elements to create a landscape of warped time and perception.

Left: Fellini on set at Cinecitta Studios Right: Dream sequence from Hitchcock’s Spellbound (1945), featuring set design by Salvador Dali, the surrealist known for his unique depiction of dreamworlds.


Italian director Federico Fellini has been celebrated for his dreamlike style of filmmaking which found its way into each of his films over his five decade career (~1945-1992). Many of his films include circus-like elements which lend to an artificial atmosphere that is just a step beyond reality. The inspiration for many of Fellini’s films came directly from his dreams. In 2008, Rizzoli published the director’s dream notebooks, a treasure trove of recorded dream sketches and descriptions that the director (inspired by the work of Carl Jung) kept by his bed beginning in the early 1960s. These notebooks are beautifully illustrated and fascinating for their direct connection with the dreamscapes Fellini featured in some of his best films from his oneiric period, most notably 8 ½ (1963), Juliet of the Spirits (1965), Amarcord (1973), and Casanova (1976). In a piece titled Amarcord: Federico of the Spirits, Sam Rohdie, professor of cinema studies at the University of Central Florida, discusses Fellini’s 1973 feature Amarcord (I Remember) as being


Left: Page from Fellini’s Book of Dreams (Rizzoli, 2007) Above: Opening dream sequence from Federico Fellini’s 8 ½ (1963), one of the most important films of all time which straddles the line between dreams and waking life

representative of Fellini’s later films, which marked a departure from dramatic, realistic, or traditional narrative structure in turn for a more intuitive, dreamlike cinema:

colors, textures, light, tones, rhythms, and movement can combine and resonate. And in Fellini’s case, these are resonances of joyfulness and generosity.

In Amarcord, the Rex is made of cardboard, the sea of plastic, the sunset of paint. Very little is natural, and when it is, it is parodied and deformed. The natural was not an opportunity for Fellini, material to be recorded or rearranged, but rather a constraint, like rationality, defined order, and logic were a limit on his creativity--and that is why the natural, the narrativized, and the realistic began to disappear from Fellini’s work, at first imperceptibly, before 1960, and then markedly afterward.

Fellini’s body of work and the history of motion picture include countless successful examples of dreamscapes that have proven to be popular among audiences across the globe. Dream sequences have made their way into cultural memory, becoming archetypes that are constantly analyzed and replicated. Environmental designers should consult these dreamscapes in order to think differently about the fundamental design tools of our trade, for example scale, material, experience, and the more ephemeral or sensory qualities of a landscape like light, sound, and smell.

Rohdie goes on to describe how this exploration of a stylized dream world helped the director to innovate new, more ephemeral themes:

March 2017

Being freed from the constraints of narrative allows not only for a greater range of associations but for filmmaking in which images and sounds and their

Right: Setpiece from Fellini’s Cassanova (1976) in front of Cinecitta Studios


8½, like many of Fellini’s films, is a story which hovers between the worlds of dreams and reality. In the opening sequence, the director uses montage and compositional framing techniques to evoke feelings of disorientation, strangeness, and fear - feelings that are often associated with dreaming - in the viewer. Can the techniques used by Fellini be adapted to create unique landscapes that are capable of resonating with our subconscious? SC 007


Conclusion Cinema can be useful for landscape architects and other designers of the built environment. We have delved into the body of previous theory on the intersection between architectural design and the art of filmmaking in an attempt to explore this proposition. We have also enthusiastically worked our way through a list of “Landscape Films�, where landscapes and urban places take on more of a central role than just the setting for a story to take place; films that we believe are pertinent to the design and understanding of cultural landscape. This research resulted in a series of provoking conversations about film and

landscape, ranging from the particularities of set design to the landscape philosophies of certain filmmakers and their works. These weekly conversations provided a basis for further writings and drawings on the topic, and a new lens from which to approach our daily landscape design practice. So, what exactly is so compelling about the art of cinema, and how can it influence environmental designers? The list is long, and we have only begun to scrape the surface. On a practical level, cinema can function as an important research tool for designers to study the histories, existing conditions, and cultural perceptions associated with a site. Moving image can also function as a form of representation that can help to express the more ephemeral qualities of site design

like light, sound, movement, impermanence, and other spatial qualities that are not as effectively covered in the toolkit in use by designers today. The history of motion picture is filled with examples of landscapes that are specifically designed and created for film, for example the artful, modernist garden of Villa Arpel in Jacque Tati’s Mon Oncle (1967) or the landscape that is used as a production camp and staging area to drag a 320-ton steamship over a mountain in the middle of the Amazonian rainforest (Fitzcarraldo, Werner Herzog, 1982). Many of these filmic landscapes are more creative and dynamic than those designed by trained architects, city planners, and landscape architects. The apparent success and popularity of these

filmic landscapes provoked our curiosity about the process of filmmakers, and we found that it is actually very similar to that that of the Landscape Architect; there are many lessons to be learned from a filmmaker’s approach to research, concept development, representation, storytelling, and much more. One shared interest of ours is the potential of dreams in landscape design, and we looked into the process by which filmmakers have long been able to tap into this wellspring of creativity, excelling in the translation and testing of their dreams manifested in celluloid dreamscapes. Idiosyncratic as this example may be, the synergies between the two disciplines are plentiful and can provide new insights for the development of our discipline.


Gene Stroman

Chip Sullivan

is a Graduate Student in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning. With a previous degree and professional background in Urban Planning, he is especially interested in cities and the way in which places accrue meaning and cultural value over time. For several years, Gene served as Managing Director and Production Lead for Ground Up, the Department of Landscape Architecture’s student-run journal.

is a Professor, Fellow of the American Academy in Rome, author and artist who teaches in the LAEP Department in the College of Environmental Design. This year he was awarded the American Society of Landscape Architects Jot Carpenter Teaching Medal, the ASLA’s highest honor for education. His latest graphic novel “Cartooning the Landscape” was recently published by the University of Virginia Press.


Image Credits COVER IMAGE courtesy of Chip Sullivan SCENIC CONCEPTS courtesy of Chip Sullivan

CINEMA AS LANDSCAPE INSPIRATION 20 Jacques Tati on the set of Playtime, 1967. From: films/cinema/directors-/jacques-tati/028- jacques-tati-theredlist.jpg 21

Tati, Jacques. Mon Oncle [film stills]. 1958.

4-5 Wenders, Wim. 2010. Four Drive-in Screens, Montréal, CA. From: Wenders, W. (2010). Wim Wenders: Once. New York: D.A.P./ Schirmer/Mosel.

22 Jacques Lagrange’s Villa Arpel hybrid drawing [painting]. From: http://www.davidbordwell. net/blog/wp-content/uploads/lagrange-mon oncle-plan.jpg


Stroman, Gene. Mapping the relationship of film and landscape [collage]. 2016.


Tati, Jacques. Mon Oncle [film stills]. 1958.


Wenders, Wim. Paris, Texas [film still]. 1984.


Colored gravel in the Villa Arpel garden. From:

NOTES ON REPRESENTING A PLACE 10-15 Jarmusch, Jim. Paterson [film stills]. 2016.


image/zabriskie-point-1971-001-00m-swr- antonioni-in-canyon.jpg?itok=Lf4Tzo9w Antonioni, Michelangelo. L’Avventura [film still].1960.

30-31 Herzog, Werner. Fitzcarraldo [film still]. 1982.


Antonioni, Michelangelo. L’Eclisse [film still]. 1962.


Herzog, Werner. Burden of Dreams [film still].1982.


Antonioni, Michelangelo. Red Desert [film still]. 1964.


Herzog, Werner. Aguirre, the Wrath of God [film still]. 1972.


Herzog, Werner. Fitzcarraldo [film still]. 1982.

38 Wim Wenders on set of Paris, Texas. From: wim-wenders-film-extraordinary-beauty- irresistibility/

25 Ken Smith’s rooftop garden at MoMA. From: roof.html LANDSCAPE PHILOSOPHY



Wenders, Wim. Paris, Texas [film still].1984.


Michelangelo Antonioni filming Zabrieski Point (1970).


Wenders, Wim. Wings of Desire [film still]. 1987.


Michelangelo Antonioni. From http://www.bfi.


Wenders, Wim. Until the End of the World [film still]. 1991.


40 Terrence Malick making Badlands. From: uploads/2014/12/bfi-00n-crv.jpg

44 Kelly Reichardt. From: http:// data/upimages/kellyreichardt02.jpg


Malick, Terrence. Badlands [film still]. 1973.


Reichardt, Kelly. Old Joy [film still]. 2006.


Malick, Terrence. Days of Heaven [film still]. 1978.


Reichardt, Kelly. Wendy and Lucy [film still]. 2008.


Malick, Terrence. Tree of Life [film still]. 2011.

45 Reichardt, Kelly. Meek’s Cutoff [film still]. 2010.

42 Abbas Kiarostami. From https:// uploads/2015/02/ab-1.jpg

DREAMSCAPES 52-53 Tarkovsky, Andrei. Stalker [film still]. 1979.


Kiarostami, Abbas. Life and Nothing More [film still]. 1992.


Kiarostami, Abbas. Through the Olive Trees [film still]. 1994.

54 Fellini on set Cinecitta Studios. From https://pmcvariety.files.wordpress. com/2013/12/fellini jpg?w=1000&h=563&crop=1


Kiarostami, Abbas. The Wind Will Carry Us [film still]. 1999.


Hitchcock, Alfred. Spellbound [film still]. 1945.

56 Fellini, Federico. Book of Dreams. Rizzoli, 2007. 57

Fellini, Federico. 8½ [film stills]. 1963.

59 Setpiece from Fellini’s Cassanova (1976) in front of Cinecitta Studios. From: content/uploads/2017/02/Venusia-dal-film Il-Casanova-di-Federico-Fellini.jpg 65

Portrait courtesy of the authors.


Celluloid Landscape is ... Two Landscape Architects learning lessons from watching movies. Cinematography as springboard for talking about environmental design. “How to read films like a Landscape Architect.�

Stroman & Sullivan, 2018

Celluloid Landscape: Writings on Cinema & Landscape Design  

Celluloid Landscape. ARC Fellowship, 2017. Arts Research Center, University of California, Berkeley, 2017.

Celluloid Landscape: Writings on Cinema & Landscape Design  

Celluloid Landscape. ARC Fellowship, 2017. Arts Research Center, University of California, Berkeley, 2017.