Masterclass: Films from the Archive

Mélanie van der Hoorn, Christel Leenen, João Rosmaninho and Tiago Baptista present unique examples of Dutch and Portuguese architecture-related archival films. What has been the role of film in architecture history? The collections of architecture museums mainly consist of sketches, plans, presentations, models and photos. The films in these collections have not been given much attention; little is known about them: What is their content? In which context and with which purpose were they made? How do they relate to other items in the collections? Apart from that, film- and municipal archives also contain films that relate to architecture and urban planning. Which aspects of the built environment do they show and what can they contribute to our knowledge and perception of architecture in the past and present? Mélanie van der Hoorn focus mainly on non-fiction and presents examples from the architecture collection of the Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam and various other Dutch archives.

João Rosmaninho focuses mainly on the portrayal of Lisbon architecture in fiction and presents excerpts from various Portuguese and international long feature films in which the Portuguese capital is playing a leading part, including some examples of appropriation film, where documentary recordings were used to help tell a fictional story.

Tiago Baptista focuses on one very particular example from Portuguese film history, Lisbon: An Anecdotal Chronicle (PT 1930, José Leitão de Barros, 125 min). The film is a Portuguese city symphony that depicts Lisbon in several conflictual layers and has complex connections with other cultural forms (like theatre and printed press). Its reception was troublesome and several versions of it were made to appease both a Lisbon, a domestic, and an international audience. Today the film can be seen as the reflection of a particularly fruitful moment in cinema history, bearing the imprints of the wide range of extra-cinematic influences that defined that cultural moment, and Leitão de Barros’s own career. It was preserved and digitized by the Cinemateca Portuguesa-Museu do Cinema in Lisbon.

Masterclass by Mélanie van der Hoorn, João Rosmaninho and Tiago Baptista with Q&A/discussion on 8 June 2019 from 15:30-18:30, followed by the screening of  Lisbon: An Anecdotal Chronicle’(PT 1930, José Leitão de Barros, 125 min) from 19h:00-21:05.


Mélanie van der Hoorn is a cultural anthropologist specialized in Material Culture. She obtained her doctorate in 2005 at Utrecht University with her dissertation Indispensable Eyesores: An Anthropology of Undesired Buildings (Oxford: Berghahn Books, 2009). Since 2007, she has been working as an independent researcher, author, curator and lecturer. Her interests focus on the presentation, communication, perception and assessment of architecture. Recent publications include Bricks & Balloons: Architecture in Comic-Strip Form (Rotterdam: 010, 2012) and Spots in Shots: Narrating the Built Environment in Short Films (Rotterdam: nai010, 2018). Those two books form the beginning of a trilogy that will be completed with a book on architecture games.


Christel Leenen holds a Master in Arts, Culture and Society of the Erasmus University Rotterdam. She is librarian and archivist at the Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam, which manages 600 archives and collections of Dutch architects, urban planners, professional associations and educational institutions, comprising a total of 4.000.000 documents, altogether one of the largest architecture-related collections in the world.


João Rosmaninho holds a BA in Architecture (2004), a MSc in Communication Sciences (2009), and a PhD in Architecture (2017), with a thesis entitled Montage and City: Lisbon in Cinema. He is currently assistant professor at the University of Minho’s School of Architecture with a research position at its R&D unit, the Laboratório de Paisagens, Património e Território.


Tiago Baptista is the head of the conservation centre of Cinemateca Portuguesa-Museu do Cinema. He received his PhD in Film and Screen Media from the University of London (Birkbeck College), is an integrated researcher at Instituto de História Contemporânea-NOVA FCSH, and invited lecturer at FCH-Universidade Católica Portuguesa.


The Masterclass will be in English and it’s followed by the screening of:  

Lisbon: An Anecdotal Chronicle

José Leitão de Barros

Portugal, 1930, 125’