VeniCinema proposes a novel approach to understanding cities through film. You will explore how fiction films have expressed Venice's characteristics through structured dramatic spatial narratives. Using the screen language of cinematic montage, you will create observational films that reveal everyday urban life in Venice, an approach transferable to other cities.
Spatially organised narratives, observational cinema, city symphonies, montage, everyday urban life, spatial ethnography, urban taxonomies, Venice as a 15-minute city, cinema as a form of urban modelling, creative geographies, mapping, climate change, local versus global.
On completion of the VeniCinema studio, participants will be able to:
• analyze a fiction film in order to comprehend how its narrative is spatially organized
• grasp the concept of cinematic spatial ethnography
• acquire an understanding of the study of everyday life through the medium of film
• gain a basic knowledge of continuity editing and montage traditions
• shoot and analyse short observational films of Venice
• experiment with the manipulation of screen time and space to explore new 'creative geographies' of Venice
• use the montage tradition to make a short film in the city symphony tradition, addressing one of the studio themes
• engage with the moving image as an aid to reasoning and thinking through urban scenarios.
François Penz
Emeritus Professor of the Department of Architecture, University of
For two decades, I directed a research group entitled DIGIS (Digital Studio for Research in Design, Visualisation and Communication) investigating the intersection of Architecture, Cinema, and Digitality, in the belief that the moving image provides us with new perceptual equipment to grasp the complexity of architectural and urban phenomena. DIGIS focused on new techniques, methodologies and potentialities of digital media in design-related disciplines and developed into a unique international centre for practice-led creative experiment, with a thriving PhD and advanced research programme.

I have published widely in the field of Cinema and Architecture, including Cinematic Urban Geographies (Palgrave Macmillan 2017) and Cinematic Aided Design: An Everyday Life Approach to Architecture (Routledge 2018). My latest book is entitled The Everyday in Visual Culture: Slices of Lives (Routledge 2022). My research has been exhibited in Rome, Shanghai, Liverpool, Cambridge and Manchester and I have run film workshops in Berkeley, Nanjing, Porto, Tallinn, Liverpool, Cambridge and most recently in Venice in 2021 as part of the Architecture Biennale.