Sights, sounds and images: catching the metropolis in/at work(s): dealing with the analysis of fictional images of the city in music and movies

Séverin Guillard*, Bertrand Pleven

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In French and English-speaking geographies, movies and music works are widely recognized as elements which contribute to shaping the imaginaries of cities and urban spaces. However, these two art forms have long been regarded separately within the discipline. With the idea of contributing to the development of a more global urban geography of art, we would like to show the interest of combining a musical and cinematic perspective to understand fictional images of the cities conveyed in specific art works. We’ll illustrate our point through the study of two fictional movies released in the middle of the 2000’s: Larry Clark’s Wassup Rockers and Chris Robinson’s ATL. Each of them being set in an American city, respectively in Los Angeles and Atlanta, they share the will of using music as a tool to describe the urban context. Through this study, we’ll show how the filmic and musical aspects of these movies complete each other to frame an imaginary on the American metropolises. We’ll make the connection with the goal of each movie, highlighting how the images conveyed in these works are dialoguing with an already existing body of representations about these cities, leading to its reproduction or its subversion.
Original languageEnglish
JournalArticulo - Journal of Urban Research
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes



  • Music
  • Cinema
  • Geography
  • Cinematic city
  • United States
  • Representation
  • Performance
  • Metropolis

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