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New York on Film: A Million Visions of the Naked City

Married
It’s entirely possible that the last time you saw New York
City in a movie, it was played by Toronto. This city is expensive and complicated, tempting filmmakers to throw in
the towel and shoot in a stand-in metropolis. Sometimes the result passes muster, sometimes it doesn’t (unless you
really can see Mt. Fuji from an
uptown golf course, as Rumble in the
Bronx
suggested).

On October 21st, Academy Award-nominated production designer
Kristi Zea (Martin Scorcese’s New York
Stories
and Goodfellas) will
discuss her craft and its challenges at Tribeca Cinemas as part of New York
City Design Week. Her topic: how to make
New York look like a New York you’ve never seen.

It’s a fascinating subject. Because the New York of The French
Connection
looks very different from the New York of Rich Kids, or Manhattan,
or The Taking of Pelham 123, even
though all four films were shot within an eight year period. Once we expand the genre to the New York of
decades past (The Sweet Smell of Success)
and future (The Day After Tomorrow),
it becomes difficult to express what the city ought to look like on screen.

You’ll soon have more to choose from, since Sex and the City and Burn After Reading and The Incredible Hulk are in production
right this very minute. And you can
check out at least four films that showcase classic New York City exteriors on
AMC this month: Married to the Mob, Sea of Love, Working Girl and Scent of a
Woman
.

What is the quintessential New York City film?   Tell us
in a comment.

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