The work of Patrick Keiller, himself a former architect, has centred on urban architecture, most often on what the director sees as its continuing decline and decay. Following a number of shorts, London, his debut feature, introduced what was to become the recurring character of the unseen Robinson, who in this case has invited the nameless narrator (Paul Scofield) to return to the city following an extended absence. Together the two traverse the city on foot, hoping to understand its nature, and using as their framework sites of literary significance.
Typically of Keiller, the visual style is minimalist – it is in the narration that the film’s value truly lies, as the narrator discourses on the city’s literary, economic and architectural history, building a unique portrait of the city’s existence.
This film is screening as part of The Fourth Wall season, presented at the IFI in association with the Irish Architecture Foundation (July 28th – 29th 2012).