What Makes a City?

Dallas Institute Film Series

Since its founding forty years ago, the Dallas Institute has been inviting imaginative answers to an earnest question — “What Makes a City?” This fall, we will consider the CITY as a character in some iconic films (as well as lesser known gems) from various time periods and cultural traditions.  (Stay tuned for more films on this theme next spring!)

Join us on Friday evenings to watch and discuss some classic movies at the Dallas Institute — where “classic” is broadly defined and conversation is sparkling. 

Time: 6:30 pm gathering time; 7pm screen time.

Dates: 3rd Friday of the month, October- December 2021

October 15, November 19, December 17

Admission: Free for Dallas Institute Members (Visit dallasinstitute.org/membership to join!)

Place: Nancy Cain Marcus Conference Center, Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture (Covid willing)


Date/Time Title & Running Time Comment
Oct. 15

6:30 pm

City Lights 

1 hr. 27 min. minutes

Charlie Chaplin’s masterpiece features a triad of archetypal characters characteristic of any great city: a tramp, a millionaire, and an ingenue. 
Nov. 19

6:30 pm

Lives of Others 

2h. 18 min.

The idea of a “walled city” takes on a darker resonance when the setting is cold-war Berlin. Lives of Others depicts a community of artists contending with the strictures of continual surveillance. What happens to a city and its artists when the imagination itself is suspect? 
Dec. 17

6:30 pm

La Grande Bellezza (The Great Beauty) 

2h. 53 min.

The eternal city, Rome itself, in gorgeous, decadent decline, is the star of this film. If a great city is in decay, what can be said about its most prominent citizens?