CITY OF DESIRE

Netherlands, Israel (2019) 56 min.

Director Marcel Prins

Kingdom of the Netherlands

This year it is a hundred years since the German architect Walter Gropius established the Bauhaus in Weimar, a revolutionary and influential school for artists, designers and architects. Its idea was to make beautiful, functional products available to all. The progressive school was closed by the Nazis when Hitler came to power in Germany in 1933.

In response to growing anti-Semitism, many Jewish architects fled to Palestine, which was then under British mandate. They included a large number of architects who had studied at the Bauhaus or had trained in France or Belgium in the International Style. They designed more than four thousand buildings in this distinctive style for the new city of Tel Aviv, thus introducing the principles of European modernist architecture to the Middle East. The centre of Tel Aviv, where these buildings still stand today, is known as the White City. In 2003, UNESCO added the White City to its list of World Heritage Sites.

CITY OF DESIRE explores the identities of the architects who immigrated to Tel Aviv in the 1930s and how they envisaged the new city. Prins investigates the extent to which their ideals still contribute to the character of the Israeli metropolis today.